Frederick Engels

The True Socialists [144]

Source: MECW Volume 5, p. 540;
Written: probably between January and April 1847
First published: in Marx/Engels Gesamtausgabe, 1932.

Since the above descriptions of the true socialists were written, several months have elapsed. During this period true socialism, which so far had sprung up only sporadically here and there, has experienced a spectacular upsurge. It has found representatives in all parts of the Fatherland, it has even attained a certain significance as a literary party. Furthermore, it is already divided into several groups which, although firmly linked by the common bond of German sincerity and scientific spirit, and by common efforts and aims, are nevertheless definitely separated from one another by the particular individuality of each of them. In this way the “chaotic mass of light” — as Herr Grün beautifully phrases it — of true socialism has in the course of time passed into a state of “orderly brightness”; it has become concentrated into stars and constellations in whose mild and calm radiance the German burgher can light-heartedly ponder over his plans for honest acquisition of a small property and his hopes for the elevation of the lower classes of the nation.

We must not leave true socialism without at least taking a closer look at the most developed of these groups. We shall see how each of them at first appears hazily in the Milky Way of universal love of mankind, later, as a result of the occurrence of acid fermentation, the “true enthusiasm for mankind” (as Herr Dr. Lüning, who is certainly a competent authority, expresses it), constitutes itself as a distinct flake and separates from the bourgeois-liberal whey; we shall see how it figures for a period as a nebula in the socialist heavens, and how the nebula increases in size and brightness and finally, like a sky-rocket, divides into a sparkling group of stars and constellations.

The oldest group, the earliest to develop independently, is that of Westphalian socialism. Thanks to the extremely important scuffles between this group and the royal Prussian police, and thanks to the zeal for publicity shown by these Westphalian men of progress, the German public has had the advantage of being able to read the whole history of this group in the Kölnische, the Trier’sche and other newspapers. Here, therefore, we need only mention what is most essential.

Westphalian socialism originated in the area of Bielefeld, in the Teutoburg Woods. The newspapers at the time contained mysterious allusions to the mystical nature of its earliest period. But it quickly passed through the stage of a nebula; with the first issue of the Westphälische Dampfboot it opened out and disclosed to the astonished eye a host of sparkling stars. We find ourselves north of the equator and, as an old couplet says:

In the North you can see the Ram and the Bull,
The Twins, Crab, Lion, and the Virgin as well.

At a very early date the “good press” asserted the existence of the “Virgins”; the “Lion” was the very same Arminius the Cheruscan, who shortly after the Westphalian nebula had opened out left his dear friends and now as a tribune of the people [145] shakes his blond mane from America. In a short while he was followed by the Crab “on account of an unpleasant exchange business”, whereby Westphalian socialism became a widow, but it nevertheless carries on. Of the Twins, one also went to America, in order to found a colony; while he disappeared there, the other twin discovered “the national economy in its future form” [allusion to J. Meyer’s article “Die Volkswirthschaftslehre in heutiger und zukünftiger Gestaltung"] (cf. Lüning, Dies Buch gehört dem Volke, II. Jahrg.). All these figures, however, are comparatively unimportant. The main weight of the group is concentrated in the Ram and the Bull, those genuinely Westphalian stars, under whose protection the Westphälische Dampfboot safely cleaves the waves.

The Westphälische Dampfboot adhered for a long time to the mode simple of true socialism. “Not an hour of the night passed” [line from the German folk-song “Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär"] in which it did not shed bitter tears over the misery of suffering humanity. It preached the gospel of man — of the true man, of the true real man, of the true, real corporeal man — with all its strength, but this, of course, was not particularly great. It had a soft nature and liked milky rice-pudding more than Spanish pepper. Hence its criticisms were of a very gentle nature and it preferred to side with equally merciful and loving reviewers rather than with the heartless, cold severity of judgment that was now coming to the fore. But since it had a big heart and little courage even the unfeeling Heilige Familie found favour in its eyes. [allusion to a review in the Westphälische Dampfboot entitled “Die heilige Familie oder Kritik der kritischen Kritik. Gegen Br. Bauer und Consorten. Von F. Engels und K. Marx"] It reported with the greatest conscientiousness the various phases of the Bielefeld, Münster, etc., local associations for elevating the working classes. [146] The greatest attention was devoted to the important happenings in the Bielefeld Museum. And in order that the Westphalian townsman and villager should know how matters stood, at the end of each issue, in the monthly review of “World Events”, praise was bestowed on the same liberals who had been attacked in the other articles of that issue. Incidentally, the Westphalian townsman and villager were also told that Queen Victoria gave birth to a child, that the plague raged in Egypt and that the Russians had lost a battle in the Caucasus.

It is clear that the Westphälische Dampfboot was a periodical which fully deserved the thanks of all well-meaning persons and the overflowing praise of Herr Fr. Schnake in the Gesellschaftsspiegel. With smiling satisfaction the Bull performed his editing on the marshy meadow of true socialism. Although the censor at times cut into his flesh, he never had need to sigh: “that was the best passage”; the Westphalian bull was a draught animal and not a bull kept for breeding. Even the Rheinische Beobachter has never dared to reproach either the Westphälische Dampfboot in general, or Dr. Otto Lüning in particular, with offending against morality. In short, one can assume that the Dampfboot, which since the Weser was forbidden to it [allusion to the suppression of the journal Weser-Dampfboot] floats only on the mythical river Eridanus [147] transposed among the stars (for no other water flows at Bielefeld), that the Dampfboot has attained the highest degree of human perfection.

But in all its efforts so far the Dampfboot had only developed the simplest phase of true socialism. Towards the summer of 1846 it left the sign of the Bull and approached that of the Ram, or rather, to put it more correctly historically, the Ram approached it. The Ram was a much-travelled man and fully at the height of his time. He explained to the Bull how things now stood in the world, that “real relations” were now the main thing and that, therefore, a new turn had to be made. The Bull was in complete agreement with him and from that moment the Westphälische Dampfboot has offered a still more elevating spectacle: the mode composé of true socialism.

The “Ram and the Bull” thought that there could be no better way of carrying out this graceful turn than by printing our criticism of the New York Volks-Tribun [Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “Circular against Kriege"], which we had sent to the newspaper in manuscript and which had been accepted by it.[148] The Dampfboot, which now did not shrink from attacking its own Lion, who was far off in America (the mode composé of true socialism shows far more audacity than the mode simple), was moreover cunning enough to attach the following philanthropic remark to the above-mentioned criticism:

“If anyone cares to see in the above article a self-criticism” (?!) “of the Dampfboot, we have nothing against it.”

Thereby the mode composé of true socialism is adequately introduced and it now goes forward at full gallop on the new course. The Ram . , a bellicose creature by nature, cannot rest content with the previous good-natured kind of criticism; the new bell-wether of the Westphalian flock of lambs is seized with the lust of battle and, before his more timid comrades can prevent him, he sets off with lowered horns against Dr. Georg Schirges in Hamburg. Earlier, the helmsmen of the Dampfboot did not look upon Dr. Schirges with such disfavour, but things have become different now. Poor Dr. Schirges represents the mode simplicissimus of true socialism, and the mode composé does not forgive him this simplicity, which quite recently it still shared with him. In the September 1846 issue of the Dampfboot, pp. 409-14, the Ram therefore drives the most merciless breaches in the walls of his Werkstatt. [Joseph Weydemeyer, “Die Werkstatt; redigirt von Georg Schirges"] Let us enjoy the spectacle for a moment.

Some true socialists and soi-disant communists have translated Fourier’s brilliant satires on the conditions of life of the bourgeoisie, insofar as they are acquainted with them, into the language of German bourgeois morality. In this connection they discovered the theory of the misfortune of the rich, already known to the men of the Enlightenment and fable-writers of the last century, and thus obtained material for the most inexhaustible moral tirades. Dr. Georg Schirges, who is not yet sufficiently deeply initiated into the mysteries of the true doctrine, is by no means of the opinion that “the rich are just as unhappy as the poor”. For this reason, the Westphalian bell-wether deals him an indignant blow such as is deserved by a man whom “winning a lottery ... could make the happiest and most satisfied man in the world”.

“Yes,” cries our stoic Ram, “despite Herr Schirges, it is true that possessions are not enough to make people happy, and that a very large section of the rich ... are anything but happy.” (You are right, honest Ram, health is a treasure which no amount of gold can outweigh.) “Even though he does not have to suffer hunger and cold, there are other evils” (for instance, venereal diseases, persistent rainy weather, and in Germany sometimes pricks of conscience as well), “whose pressure he cannot escape.” (Especially, there is no cure for death.) “A glance at the inner life of most families ... it is all foul and rotten.... The husband is wholly absorbed in stock exchange and business deals” (beatus ille qui procul negotiis [Happy is he who is far removed from business affairs. Horace, Epodes, II, I] — it is astounding that the poor fellow has enough time left over to produce a few children) ... “degraded into a slave of money” (the poor fellow!), “the wife fashioned into an empty” (except when she is pregnant) “shallow drawing-room lady, or brought up to he a good housewife who has no interest in anything except cooking, washing and looking after children” (is the Ram still speaking of the “rich"?) “and at most a few gossiping parties” (we are, one sees, still on exclusively German soil, where the “good housewife” has the best opportunity to devote herself to what “she has interest in”; grounds enough to be thoroughly “unhappy”); “the two are moreover often in a state of incessant war against each other ... even the bond between parents and children is often broken by social conditions”, etc., etc.

Our author has forgotten the worst suffering. Any “rich” German head of a family could tell him that in the course of time matrimonial discord may become a need, that unsuccessful children can be sent to Batavia and forgotten, but that thieving and disobedient servants are an intolerable and, in the circumstances of the increasing demoralisation of the common man and woman, nowadays an almost inevitable “evil”.

If Messieurs Rothschild, Fulchiron and Decazes in Paris, Samuel Jones Lloyd, Baring and Lord Westminster in London, were to read this description of the woes of the “rich”, how they would sympathise with the good Westphalian Ram.

“However, if one proves” (as was done earlier) “that the pressure of our conditions” (namely the atmospheric pressure of 15 lbs per square inch) “weighs also on the rich, if not quite so strongly as on the poor, one obtains as a result — which follows from the description of our conditions and circumstances in general — the enlightenment of everyone who seeks to become acquainted with it.” (It almost seems that from the mode composé of true socialism still less “results” than from the mode simple.) “From the dissatisfaction of the rich, of course, no revolution in favour of the proletarians will arise, that requires more powerful mainsprings” (namely writers’ pens [Triebfeder — mainspring, motive; Schreibfeder — pen]); “moreover, it is not accomplished with the words: ‘Be embraced, ye millions, this kiss to the whole world’ [from Schiller’s poem “An die Freude"]: but it is just as little use to torment oneself with patchwork and palliatives” (such as attempts at reconciliation in the above unhappy household) ,land to forget entirely the big thing, the real reforms” (apparently a divorce).

The combination of the above “of course” with the following “moreover” and “but ... just as little” affords “of course” a lamentable example of the confusion which the transition from simple to complex true socialism brings about in the mind of a Westphalian; “moreover” our sorrow will not be lessened when we read on the next page (p. 413) that “in the politically developed countries ... there exists a state of things without any limitation”, “but just as little” does it testify to the historical knowledge of Westphalian socialism that according to the same page “egoism ... in the most brilliant period of the Revolution, in the period of the Convention, was not seldom even punished” — probably by flogging. However, “we have no grounds for expecting anything better from the further activity of ‘our Ram’, and will, therefore, not so soon return to it”.

Let us rather take a look at the Bull. He has meanwhile been occupied with “world events”, and on page 421 (September 1846) he raises “solely questions which have to be raised” and plunges headlong into the sort of politics that M. Guizot, following the Charivari, has given the nickname of “great” politics. Here, too, the progress compared to the earlier period of simple socialism is obvious. Below are a few examples.

The rumour has reached. Westphalia that the Prussian Government, owing to the financial difficulties in which it finds itself, could very easily be compelled to grant a constitution. At the same time the newspapers report that financial difficulties prevail on the Berlin stock exchange. Our Westphalian draught bull, who is not very strong in political economy, identifies tout bonnement the financial difficulties of the Berlin Government with the quite different financial difficulties of the Berlin commerçants and elaborates the following profound hypothesis:

“... perhaps already this year the provincial estates will be called together as estates of the realm. For the financial difficulties remain the same, the bank seems unable to find a remedy for them. Indeed, even the railway construction work that has been begun and is being planned could be seriously endangered by the scarcity of money, in which case the state could easily” (o sancta simplicitas!) “be induced to take over certain lines” (extremely clever), “which again is not possible without a loan.”

The last is quite true. In homely Westphalia people really believe that they still live under a paternal government. Even our extreme socialist of the mode composé believes the Prussian Government to be naive enough to grant a constitution merely in order to get rid of the difficulties of the Berlin Stock Exchange by means of a foreign loan. Happy blind faith!

The sharp nose of our Westphalian draught bull is revealed at its sharpest, however, in his remarks on foreign policy. A few months ago the mode composé of true socialism got scent of the following new Parisian and London mysteries, which we report for the amusement of the reader:

September issue:

France. — “The Ministry has emerged victoriously from the elections, nothing else was to be expected” (when has a Westphalian ever expected something “else” than what “was to be expected"?). “Although it may have put into operation all the levers of corruption, although it may have ... Henri’s attempt, enough — the old opposition (Thiers, Barrot) suffered a serious defeat. But M. Guizot, too, will no longer be able to count on such a compact and conservative party, voting for the Ministry quand même; for the conservative party too has split into two sections, into the conservateurs bornés with their periodicals Débats and Epoque, and the conservateurs progressifs with the Presse as their organ.” (The Bull forgets only that it was M. Guizot himself, in his speech to his electors in Lisieux [François Guizot, Discours au Lisieux le 17 juillet 1846], who was the first to exploit the phrase “progressive conservatism”.) “In general” (here begins again the peculiar incoherence that was already noticed above in the Ram, “as was to be expected”), “the abstract-political party questions, which only turned on whether Thiers or Guizot should be the Minister” (in Westphalia that is called “abstract-political party questions” and people there still believe that in France up to now they have “turned only on that”), “will surely to some extent be pushed into the background. The political economists Blanqui ... have been elected to the Chamber and with them surely” (for the enlightenment of the Westphalians) “questions of political economy also will come under discussion there” (what an idea people in Westphalia must have of the “questions” that have so far “come under discussion there"!). (Pp. 426, 427.)

Question: Why does the English aristocracy insist on flogging for soldiers? Answer:

“If flogging were abolished, a different recruiting system would have to be organised, and if one has better soldiers, then one needs also better officers” (!!), “who owe their position to merit and not to purchase or favour. For this reason the aristocracy is against the ‘abolition of flogging’, because it would thereby lose one more bulwark, provision for its ‘younger sons’. The middle class, however, follows up its advantage step by step and it will achieve victory here as well.”

(What a myth! The campaigns of the British in India, Afghanistan, etc., prove that at the present time they do not “need better officers”, and the English middle class desires neither better officers nor better soldiers, nor a different recruiting system, nor is it much concerned about the abolition of flogging. But for some time past ..Dampfboot has noticed nothing in England except the struggle between the middle class and the aristocracy.) (P. 428.)

October issue:

France. — “M. Thiers has lost the Constitutionnel, his organ for many years; the newspaper has been bought by a conservative deputy and is now slowly and imperceptibly” (indeed “perceptibly” only for the mode composé of true socialism) “being brought into the conservative camp. M. Thiers, who earlier already threatened that if things were made too uncomfortable for him he would take up his old pen again in the National, is now said to have actually bought the National.”

(Unfortunately, the “National of 1830” was a constitutional and Orleanist National, quite different from the republican “National of 1834”, which M. Thiers is “said to have actually bought” anno 1846. Incidentally, the Dampfboot has been the victim of an irresponsible piece of trickery. Some unscrupulous miscreant and enemy of the good cause has passed several issues of the Corsaire-Satan on to the editor, and now the Dampfboot prints bona fide as oracular truth the current rumours that figure in this paper, which is by no means sufficiently moral for Westphalian readers. How indeed could the Dampfboot doubt that the Corsaire-Satan has at least as much moral standing and consciousness of the lofty vocation of the press as it itself?)

“Whether M. Thiers by this step has gone over to the republicans remains to be seen.

Honest Cheruscan, this “whether” you do not owe to the Corsaire,. cela sent la forêt teutobourgienne d'une lieue! [that smells of the Teutoburg Woods a mile off!] On the other hand, however, he allows himself to be induced by the Corsaire, which is backing free trade, to attribute to the agitation for libre échange in France a success and an importance which it is far from possessing.

“Our predictions that all industrial countries must go the same way and reach the same goal as England ... seem, therefore, to be not so very incorrect, since they are now coming true. And we ‘unpractical theoreticians’ seem, therefore, to know the real conditions” (hurrah!) “just as well as, and to judge them better than, the ‘practical men’ who so much like to boast about their experience and their knowledge of practical conditions.”

Hapless Teutoburgian “theoreticians"! You do not even “know” the “real conditions” of the Corsaire-Satan! (These beautiful things occur on page 479.)

November issue:

France. — “Scientists are racking their brains in vain over the question of where the frequently recurring floods originate. Some time ago, by a decree of the Academy, the rustling forests on the mountains were cut down as being the cause of the evil; later they were replanted, and the evil remained as before” (p. 522).

“In vain” would “scientists rack their brains” as to where the greatest nonsense lies: 1) does the Westphalian believe that the Academy in France can issue decrees and have forests cut down; 2) does he believe that the forests are cut down not for the timber and the money from its sale, but on account of the floods; 3) does he believe that the scientists rack their brains over the cause of these floods; 4) does he believe that the forests were at any time regarded as the cause of the floods when every child in France knows that it is precisely the destruction of the forests that is the cause; and 5) does he believe that the forests are replanted, while nowhere is so much complaint made as in France over neglect of forests and ever more extensive deforestation without regard for reforestation (cf., besides specialised journals, Réforme, National, Démocratie pacifique and other papers of the opposition for October and November 1846). The Westphalian Bull is unlucky in every respect. If he follows the Corsaire-Satan he gets in a tangle; if he follows his own genius he gets just as much in a tangle.

True socialism raised to the second power has, as we have seen, performed great feats in the sphere of higher politics. What perspicacity, what conjectures compared with the earlier reports on “World Events"! What thorough knowledge of “real conditions"! For the Dampfboot, however, the most important “real condition” is the position of the royal Prussian officers. Lieutenant Anneke, who for some time past has been unavoidable in the German periodical press, the important discussion in the Bielefeld Museum about carrying daggers, and the resulting Court of Honour proceedings, etc., form the main content of the October and November issues. We are also given interesting information about the Deutsche Zeitung which did not come into existence, the French kingdom of beggars that perished in the seventeenth century, and was described by Monteil [Amans Alexis Monteil, Histoire des Français des divers états ... — extracts from this work were given in the article “Die französische Bettler-Monarchie des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts” published in the Westphälische Dampfboot], and other equally “real” conditions. In between there appears from time to time a multiplication sign, which still completely represents the mode simple of true socialism and piles up all its slogans with the greatest ingenuousness: German theory and French practice should unite, communism should be put into effect in order that humanism might be put into effect (pp. 455-58), etc. [The reference is to the article “Humanismus-Kommunismus” marked by multiplication sign — X] From time to time similar reminders of the past escape from the Ram or even from the Bull himself, without however in the least disturbing the divine harmony of the “real conditions”.

Let us now forsake the main body of the Westphalian army in order to follow the manoeuvres of a detached corps which has entrenched itself in the blessed Wupper Valley under the skirts of a massive Nemesis.[149] For a fairly long time a certain Herr Fr. Schnake in the role of Perseus has held up before the public the Gorgon shield of the Gesellschaftsspiegel, and indeed so successfully that not only the public has gone to sleep over the Gesellschaftsspiegel, but the latter has gone to sleep over the public. Our Perseus, however, is a joker. After attaining this enviable result, he notifies (last issue, last page): 1) that the Gesellschaftsspiegel has passed away; 2) that, to avoid delay, it s best in future to order it through the post. Whereupon, after correcting its last misprints, it makes its exit.

One can see already from this regard for the “real conditions” that here too we have to do with the mode composé of true socialism. There is, however, an important difference between the Ram and Bull and our Perseus. One must record that the Ram and Bull remain as faithful as possible to the “real conditions”, namely, those of Westphalia and Germany in general. Proof of it is the above-given lamentable display of the Ram. Proof of it is the Bull’s good-natured descriptions from German political life, which we have had to omit. In going over to their new standpoint, what they have especially taken with them from the mode simple is simple, unvarnished philistinism, German reality; the vindication of man, and of German theory, etc., is left to all kinds of multiplication signs and other subordinate stars. With the. Gesellschaftsspiegel it is just the opposite.

Here the army leader Perseus divests himself as much as possible of petty-bourgeois reality, the exploitation of which he leaves to his retinue and, true to the myth, raises himself high into the air of German theory. He is the more able to show a certain disdain for real conditions” because he has a much more definite standpoint. If the directly Westphalian stars represent the mode composé, then Perseus is tout ce qu'il y a de plus composé en Allemagne. [all that is most complex in Germany] In his most daring ideological flights he nevertheless takes his stand always on the “material basis” and this secure foundation gives him an audacity in the struggle which Messrs. Gutzkow, Steinmann, Opitz and other important characters will remember for years to come. The “material basis” of our Perseus, however, consists mainly in the following:

1. “It is only with the abolition of the material basis of our society, private gain, that man will become different” (No. X, p. 53).
[Here and below are quotations from Friedrich Schnake’s note about Gutzkow’s article on communism]

If the mode simple, which so often uttered this ancient thought, had known only that private gain was the material basis of our society, it would have been the mode composé, and under the auspices of our Perseus it could have continued to lead a tranquil and humble existence in all godliness and honour. But thus it had itself no material basis, and it came to pass as was written by the prophet Goethe:

The noble who has no bottom
What will he sit upon.
[from Goethe’s Totalität]

How “material” this basis, private gain, is can be seen, inter alia, from the following passages:

“Egoism, private gain” (which are, therefore, identical, and hence “egoism” is also a “material basis”), “disorganises the world by the principle: Each for himself,” etc. (p. 53).

Hence it is a “material basis” which “disorganises”, not by means of “material” facts, but ideal “principles”. Poverty, as is known (for anyone to whom it is not yet known, Perseus himself expounds it in the above-mentioned place), is also an aspect of “our society”. We learn, however, that not the “material basis, private gain”, but au contraire.

“the transcendental has plunged mankind into poverty” (p. 54 — all three quotations are from a single article).

May “the transcendental” most speedily free the unlucky Perseus “from the poverty in which” the “material basis” has “plunged” him!

2. “The real mass is set into motion, not by an idea, but by ‘well-understood interest’.... In the social revolution ... the egoism of the conservative party will be confronted by the nobler egoism of the people in need of salvation"!! (a people “in need of salvation” making a revolution!) ... “the people fights indeed for its well-understood interest” against the exclusive, brutal interest of private persons, being supported and sustained by a moral force and restless zeal” (No. XII, p. 86). [Here and below Engels quotes from: “Ein neuer kritischer Evangelist” and “Herr Fr. Steinmann über den Pauperismus und Communismus”, by Friedrich Schnake, published in Gesellschaftsspiegel No. XII]

The “well-understood interest” of our Perseus “in need of salvation”, who is undoubtedly “supported and sustained by a moral force and restless zeal”, consists in “confronting” the “egoism of the conservative party” with the “nobler egoism” of silence, for he does not “set even a single idea into motion” without at the same time compromising the mode composé of true socialism.

3. “Poverty is a consequence of property, which is private property and exclusive in its nature!!” (XII, 79),
4. “Which associations are meant here, cannot be determined; if, however, the author means the egoistic associations of capitalists, then he has forgotten the important associations of manual workers against the arbitrary power of the employers"!! (XII, 80).

Perseus is more fortunate. What kind of nonsense he wanted to compose “cannot be determined”, but if he “meant” the merely stylistic kind, then he has by no means “forgotten” the equally ,important” logical nonsense. In connection with the associations, we mention further that on page 84 we are given information about associations in the proper sense, which raise the consciousness of the proletarian and develop energetic” (!) “proletarian” (!) “total” opposition to the existing conditions”.

We have already spoken above, [150] in connection with Herr Grün, about the habit of the true socialists of assimilating theories which they have not understood by means of learning by heart isolated phrases and slogans. [Frederick Engels, German Socialism in Verse and Prose, Essay 2] The mode composé differs from the mode simple only by the quantity of such indigested mouthfuls, procured by devious means and therefore the more hastily swallowed, and by the terrible stomach-ache caused it thereby. We have seen how “real relations”, “questions of political economy”, etc., crop up among the Westphalians at every word, and how the intrepid Perseus labours on the “material basis”, the “well-understood interest” and the “proletarian opposition”. In addition, this latter knight of the mirror [reference to the journal Gesellschaftspiegel — Mirror of Society] makes any use he pleases of the “feudalism of money”, which he would have done better to leave to its originator, Fourier. He has so little understood the meaning of this catchword that in No. XII, page 79, he asserts that “in lieu of the feudal aristocracy a propertied aristocracy is created” by this feudalism; according to this 1) the “feudalism of money”, i.e., the “propertied aristocracy”, “creates” itself and 2) the “feudal aristocracy” has not been a “propertied aristocracy”. Next he voices the opinion, page 79, that the “feudalism of money” (i.e., of the bankers, which has the smaller capitalists and industrialists as vassals, if one wants to keep to the metaphor) and that “of industry” (which has the proletarians as vassals) are “only one.”

Freely linked to the “material basis” is also the following pious wish of the knight of the mirror, a wish which reminds one of the joyful hope of the Westphalians that for their, the Teutoburgians’, edification the French Chamber of Deputies would read a course of lectures on political economy:

“But we have to point out that in the issues of the (New York) Volks-Tribun sent us we have so far learned almost nothing at all ... about the trade and industry of America.... Lack of instructive information on the industrial and economic conditions of America, from which, after all” (indeed?), “social reform always proceeds”, etc. (X, p. 56) .

The Volks-Tribun, a newspaper that seeks to carry on popular propaganda in America, is therefore blamed, not because it sets about its job wrongly, but because it omits to give the Gesellschaftsspiegel “instructive information” on things with which, in the manner demanded here at any rate, it has nothing whatever to do. Ever since Perseus caught hold of the “material basis”, which he does not know what to make of, he demands that everyone should give him information about it.

In addition, Perseus also tells us that competition is ruining the small middle class, and that

“because of the heavy cloth luxury in the style of dress ... is very burdensome” (XII, p. 83 — Perseus probably believes that a satin dress weighs as much as a suit of armour), and more of the like.

And in order that the reader may be in no doubt about the material basis” of the ideas of our Perseus, it is said in No. X, page 53:

“Herr Gutzkow would do well to acquaint himself first of all with the German science of society so that recollections of the despised French communism, Babeuf, Cabet ... do not get in his way”,

and page 52:

“German communism wants to bring about a society in which labour and enjoyment are identical and no longer separated from each other by an external remuneration.”

We have seen above what both the “German science of society” and the society which is to be “brought about” consist of, and we have not found ourselves in exactly the best society.

As far as the comrades of the knight of the mirror are concerned, they “bring about” an extremely boring “society”. For a while they intended to play the part of providence for the German townsman and villager. Without the knowledge and will of the Gesellschaftsspiegel no tiler fell off a roof or a small child . into the water. Luckily for the Dorfzeitung [151] for which this competition began to be dangerous, the mirror fraternity soon gave up this wearisome activity: one after another they went to sleep from sheer exhaustion. In vain were all methods tried to rouse them, to inject new life-blood into the journal; the petrifying influence of the Gorgon shield affected also the contributors: at the end our Perseus stood there alone with his shield and his “material basis” — “the only sensitive breast among the corpses”, [paraphrase from Schiller’s “Der Taucher"] the impossible waist-line of the massive Nemesis collapsed in ruins, and the Gesellschaftsspiegel ceased to exist.

Peace to its ashes! Meanwhile let us wheel round and look for another bright constellation in a neighbouring region of the Northern hemisphere. Shining towards us with gleaming tail is Ursa Major, the Great Bear, or ursine Major Püttmann, also called the seven-star constellation, because he always appears with six others in order to achieve the required twenty printed sheets. [152] A valiant warrior! Bored with his four-footed position on the celestial map, he has at last stood up on his hind legs, he has armed himself as it is written: don then the uniform of character and the sash of conviction; fasten on your shoulders the epaulettes of bombast and put on the three-cornered hat of enthusiasm, and adorn your manly breast with the cross of the order of self-sacrifice, third class; gird yourself with the venomous spear of hatred of despotism and have your feet shod to carry on propaganda with the smallest possible costs of production. Thus equipped our Major steps in front of his battalion, draws his sword and gives the command: Attention! — and delivers the following speech:

Soldiers! From the height of yonder publishing-house window forty louis d'or look down upon you. [ironical paraphrase of a passage from Napoleon-Bonaparte’s speech to the army on July 21, 1798 before the Battle of the Pyramids: “Soldiers, from the summit of these pyramids, forty centuries look down upon you!"] Look around you, heroic defenders of “total reform of society”, do you see the sun? There rises the sun of Austerlitz, [Napoleon I’s words before the Battle of Austerlitz] which presages our victory, soldiers!

“The consciousness of fighting only for the poor and rejected, for the betrayed and the desperate, gives us the courage, the fearlessness, to hold out right to the end. We do not defend half-measures, we do not want something vague” (but rather something tot,]], confused); “hence we are resolute and, despite everything, remain forever true to the people, to the oppressed people!” (Rheinische Jahrbücher, Vol. II, Preface).

Shoulder arms! — Attention! — Present arms! — Long live the new social order, which we have amended according to Babeuf in 14 chapters and 63 clauses of field regulations!

“Ultimately, of course. it does not matter whether things will be as we have stated, but they will be different from what the enemy imagines, different from what they have been hitherto! All despicable institutions, which have been produced by dirty work in the course of centuries for the ruin of the nations and people, will perish!” (Rheinische Jahrbücher, II, p. 240). [Hermann Püttmann, “Aprés le déluge"]

Damn it all! Attention! — Slope arms! Left turn! Order arms! Stand at ease! Forward march! — But the bear is by nature a true German animal. After evoking by this speech a general rousing hurrah, and so accomplishing one of the most valorous deeds of our century, he sits down at home and gives free rein to his soft, loving heart in a long, touching elegy on “hypocrisy” [Hermann Püttmann, “Heuchelei” — “Hypocrisy"] (Rheinische Jahrbücher, II, pp. 129-49). In our time, which is internally decayed and corroded body and soul by the worm of self-seeking, there are — unfortunately! — individuals who have no warm, beating heart in their breasts, whose eyes have never been filled with a sympathetic tear, through whose empty skulls no blinding flash of enthusiasm for mankind has ever passed. Reader, if you find such a one let him read the elegy on “hypocrisy” by the Great Bear, and he will weep, weep, weep! Here he will see how poor, wretched and naked he is, for whether he be theologian, lawyer, physician, statesman, merchant, broom-maker or box-keeper, here he will find exposed the particular hypocrisy characteristic of each social group. He will see here how hypocrisy has ensconced itself everywhere and especially “what a grievous curse that of the lawyers” is. If this does not make him repent and mend his ways, he is not worthy to have been born in the century of the Great Bear. In fact, one must be an honest, and as the English say unsophisticated”, bear in order to scent out the hypocrisy of the wicked world everywhere. The Great Bear encounters hypocrisy wherever he turns. It happens to him as to his predecessor in “Lilis Park”. [Here and below Engels quotes three passages from Goethe’s poem “Lilis Park"]

Ha! At the corner when I stay,
And from afar I hear their chatter,
And see the flitter and the flutter,
I turn around
With a growling sound
And then run off a little way,
And then look round
And then run back a little way,
But then I finally turn round.

Of course, for how is it possible to escape from hypocrisy in our thoroughly rotten society! But it is sad!

“Everyone can be slanderous, self-satisfied, perfidious, malicious and anything else he chooses, because the appropriate form has been found” (p. 145).

It is really enough to make one desperate, especially if one is Ursa Major!

And “alas! the family, too, is besmirched by lies ... and the web of lies goes right through the family and passes hereditarily from one member to another”.

Woe, threefold woe to the heads of families of the German Fatherland!

Rage suddenly boils up, there blows
A mighty spirit from the nose,
The inner nature goes berserk —

and Ursa Major stands up again on his hind legs:

“A curse on self-seeking! How terribly You hover over people’s heads! With your black pinions ... with your shrill croaking.... A curse on self-seeking!... Millions and millions of poor slaves ... weeping and sobbing, complaining and wailing A curse on self-seeking!... A curse on self-seeking!... Gang of priests of Baal Breath of pestilence.... A curse on self-seeking! Monster of self-seeking ...” (pp. 146-48).

And then it is my bristles rise;
Unwont to serve am I.
And every ornamental shrub nearby
Makes fun of me! The bowling green
And the neat, well-mown lawns I flee;
The box-tree cocks a snook at me,

I weary myself with work; if tired enough,
I lay me down by artificial cascades,
Chew, weep, and till half dead roll to and fro.
Alas! I only waste my woe
On heedless porcelain oreads!
The greatest “hypocrisy” of the whole Jeremiad consists in making out that such a miserere compiled from trite literary phrases and recollections of novels is a description of “hypocrisy” in present-day With a growling sound, society, and in pretending that for the sake of suffering humanity this bugbear causes one to fly into a passion.

Anyone who is at all familiar with the map of the heavens, knows that Ursa Major is there found in friendly conversation with an individual of uninteresting appearance who has several greyhounds on a leash and is called Boötes. This conversation is reproduced in the firmament of true socialism on pages 241-56 of the Rheinische Jahrbücher, Vol. II. The role of Boötes is assumed by that same Herr Semmig whose essay on “Socialism, Communism and Humanism” has already been discussed above. Thus we have come to the Saxon group, of which he is the most eminent star, for which reason he has written a little volume on Sächsische Zustände. In the passage which we quoted earlier Ursa Major utters a well-satisfied growl about this b little volume and recites whole pages from it “with intense delight. [Goethe, Faust] These quotations suffice to characterise the booklet as a whole and are the more welcome since the writings of Boötes are otherwise unobtainable abroad.

Although in his Sächsische Zustände Boötes has descended from the height of his speculation to “real conditions”, he still belongs with his entire Saxon group, as also Ursa Major, heart and soul, to the mode simple of true socialism. In general, the mode composé is exhausted with the Westphalians and the mirror fraternity, in particular with the Ram, the Bull and Perseus. The Saxon and all the other groups, therefore, offer us only further developments of the simple true socialism, which we have already described above.

Boötes, as a burgher and portrayer of the model German constitutional state, in the first place lets loose one of his greyhounds against the liberals. It is the less necessary for us to examine this sparkling philippic since, like all similar tirades of the true socialists, it is nothing more than a shallow Germanisation of the criticism of the same subject by the French socialists. Boötes is in exactly the same situation as the capitalists; he possesses, to use his own words, “the products produced by the workers” of France and their literary representatives “as a result of the blind inheritance of foreign capitals” (Rheinische Jahrbücher, II, p. 256). He has not even translated them into German, for this had already been done by others before him. (Cf. Deutsches Bürgerbuch, Rheinischejahrbücher, I, etc.). He has merely enlarged this “blind inheritance” by some “blindnesses” which are not simply German, but of the particular Saxon kind. Thus, he says (ibid., p. 243) that the liberals advocated “public judicial proceedings in order to declaim their rhetorical exercises in the court of justice"! Hence Boötes, in spite of his zeal against the bourgeoisie, capitalists, etc., sees in the liberals not so much these as their paid servants, the lawyers.

The result of our Boötes’ penetrating investigations of liberalism is noteworthy. True socialism has never before so clearly expressed its reactionary political tendency:

“But you... proletarians... who previously allowed yourselves to be set in motion by these liberal bourgeois and to be misguided into tumults (think of 1830), be careful! Do not support them in their efforts and struggles ... let them fight out alone what they ... begin only in their own interests; above all do not at any time take part in political resolutions, which always emanate from a dissatisfied minority that, thirsting for power, would like to overthrow the ruling power and seize the government for itself (pp. 245-46).

Boötes has the most legitimate claims to the gratitude of the royal Saxon Government — a Rautenkrone [wreath of rue — the highest order in Saxons]. is the least reward it can give him. If it were feasible that the German proletariat might follow his advice, the existence of the feudalistic, petty-bourgeois, peasant-bureaucratic model state of Saxony would be ensured for a long time. Boötes dreams that what is good for France and England, where the bourgeoisie rules, must also be good for Saxony, where it is still far from ruling. Furthermore, how impossible it is for the proletariat even in England and France to remain indifferent to questions that are indeed of immediate interest only to the bourgeoisie or a faction of the bourgeoisie, Boötes can read every day in the proletarian newspapers there. Such questions are, inter alia, in England the disestablishment of the Church, the so-called equitable adjustment of the national debt, and direct taxation; in France the extension of the franchise to the petty bourgeoisie, the abolition of urban customs duties, etc.

Finally, all Saxon “celebrated freedom of thought is mere wind and froth ... verbal combat”, not because nothing is achieved by it and the bourgeoisie does not advance a single step, but because with its help “you”, the liberals, “are not able to accomplish a fundamental cure of the sick society” (p. 249). They are the less able to do so since they do not even regard society as being sick.

Enough of this. On page 248 Boötes lets loose a second economic greyhound.

In Leipzig ... “whole districts have newly come into being” (Boötes knows of districts which do not “come into being” “new” but are old from the outset). “As a result of this, however, a grievous disproportion has developed in regard to premises, in that there is an absence of dwellings at a” (!) “medium price. For the sake of a high interest” (! it is supposed to mean a higher rent), “every builder of a new house designs it in such a way that it is only suitable for big households; owing to the lack of other kinds of dwellings, many families are forced to rent bigger premises than they need or can pay for. Thus debts, attachment, protests of bills of exchange and so forth accumulate! “ (This deserves a second In short, the lower middle class is in fact to be ousted.”

One can only admire the primitive simplicity of this economic greyhound! Boötes sees that the lower middle class of the enlightened town of Leipzig is being ruined in a way that is highly cheering for us. “In our day, when all distinctions in the human species are being obliterated” (p. 25 1), this phenomenon ought to be equally welcome to him; but on the contrary, it distresses him and makes him look for the cause of it. He finds this cause in the malice of the speculative builders, whose aim it is to house every small artisan and shopkeeper in a palace at an extortionate rent. The Leipzig “builders of new houses”, as Boötes explains in the most clumsy and confused Saxon language — it cannot be called German — are superior to all laws of competition. They build dearer dwellings than their customers require, they do not adapt themselves to the state of the market, but to a “high interest”; and whereas everywhere else the consequence would be that they would have to let their dwellings at a lower price, in Leipzig they succeed in subjecting the market to their own bon plaisir and compelling the tenants to ruin themselves by high rents! Boötes has taken a gnat for an elephant, a temporary disproportion between demand and supply in the housing market for a permanent state of things, indeed for the cause of the ruin of the petty bourgeoisie. But Saxon socialism can be forgiven such simple-mindedness as long as it

“accomplishes a work worthy of Man and for which Men will bless ‘it'” (p. 242).

We know already that true socialism is a great hypochondriac. However, one might cherish the hope that Boötes, who showed such a pleasant audacity of judgment in the first volume of the Rheinische Jahrbücher, would be free from this disease. By no means. On pages 252, 253 Boötes lets loose the following whining greyhound and thereby throws Ursa Major into an ecstasy.

“The Dresden shooting-match ... a popular festival, and one can hardly step on to the meadow before being met with the wailing hurdy-gurdies of the blind, whose hunger is not satisfied by the constitution ... and being revolted by the ballyhoo of the ‘artists’ who by the contortions of their limbs entertain a society whose structure is itself monstrously and revoltingly contorted.”

(When a tightrope walker stands on his head, that signifies for Boötes the present-day topsy-turvy world; the mystic significance of turning somersaults is bankruptcy; the secret of the egg-dance is the career of the truly socialist writer who, in spite of all “contortions”, sometimes takes a false step and besmirches his whole “material basis” with egg-yolk; a hurdy-gurdy signifies a constitution, which does not satisfy one’s hunger; a Jew’s harp signifies freedom of the press, which does not satisfy one’s hunger; and an old clothes barrow signifies true socialism, which also does not satisfy one’s hunger. Immersed in this symbolism, Boötes wanders sighing through the crowd and so arrives, as Perseus did before, at the proud feeling of being “the only sensitive breast among monsters”. [Friedrich Schiller, “Der Taucher"])

“And there in the tents the brothel-keepers carry on ... their shameless trade” (there follows a long tirade about)... “prostitution, plague-breathing monster, you are the last fruit of our present-day society” (not always the last, there may perhaps be subsequently an illegitimate child) “could tell stories of how a girl threw herself at the feet of a strange man” ... (the story follows) I could tell stories, but no, I will not” (for he has just told the story) No, do not accuse them, the poor victims of want and seduction, but bring them, the insolent procurers, before the judge’s seat ... no, no, not even them! What do they do except what others do, they carry on their trade, where all carry on trade”, etc.

Thus the true socialist has thrown off all blame from all individuals and shifted it on to “society”, which is inviolable. Cosi fan tutti [all do it — from the title of Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte — All [Women] Do It], it is finally only a matter of remaining good friends with all the world. The characteristic aspect of prostitution, namely, that it is the most tangible exploitation — one directly attacking the physical body — of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, the aspect where the “deed-producing heart-ache” (from p. 253) with its moral pauper’s broth suffers bankruptcy, and where passion, class hatred thirsting for revenge, begins — this aspect is unknown to true socialism. Instead it bewails in the prostitutes the ruined grocers’ assistants and small craftsmen’s wives in whom he can no longer admire “the masterpiece of creation”, the “blossoms pervaded by the aroma of the holiest and sweetest feelings”. Pauvre petit bonhomme!.'

The flower of Saxon socialism is a small weekly sheet entitled Veilchen. Blätter für die harmlose moderne Kritik [Violets. Leaves for Inoffensive Modern Criticism] edited and published by G. Schlüssel in Bautzen. Thus the “violets” are in effect primroses. [Schlüsselblumen, i.e., primroses] These tender flowers were described as follows in the Trier’sche Zeitung January 12 of this year) by a Leipzig correspondent, who is also one of this group:

“In the Veilchen we can welcome an advance, a development in Saxon belles-lettres; young as this journal is, it zealously seeks to reconcile the old Saxon political half-heartedness with the social theory of the present time.”

The “old Saxon half-heartedness” is not half-hearted enough for these arch-Saxons, they have to halve it once more by “reconciling” it. Extremely “inoffensive"!

We have only managed to see one of these violets; but:

Head shyly bowed, and all unknown,
It was a darling violet.
[from Goethe’s poem “Das Veilchen"]

In this issue — the first of 1847 — friend Boötes lays some pretty little verses as homage at the feet of “inoffensive modern” ladies. It is stated there inter alia:

Of hate for Tyranny, the thorn
Graces e'en women’s tender hearts
[Here and below Engels quotes from Friedrich Hermann Semmig’s poem “Einer Frau ins Stammbuch"]

a comparison the audacity of which in the meantime will surely have “graced” our Boötes’ “tender heart” with a “thorn” that pricks his conscience.

“They glow not just with amorous arts” —

should Boötes, who indeed “could tell stories”, but “will” not tell them, because he has already told them, and who speaks of no other “thorn” than that of “hate for Tyranny”, should this decent and cultured man be really capable of making the “fair cheeks” of women and maidens “glow” by means of ambiguous “amorous arts"?

They glow not just with amorous arts,
They glow with freedom-loving fury,
With holy rage, those cheeks so fair
That charm like roses everywhere.

The glow of “freedom-loving fury” must, of course, be easily distinguishable by a chaster, more moral and “brighter” colour from the dark-red glow of “amorous arts”, especially for a man like Boötes, who can distinguish the “thorn of hate for Tyranny” from all other “thorns”.

The Veilchen gives us an immediate opportunity of becoming acquainted with one of those beauties whose “tender heart is graced by the thorn of hate for Tyranny” and whose “fair cheeks glow with freedom-loving fury”. Namely the Andromeda of the truly socialist firmament (Fräulein Luise Otto), the modern woman fettered to the rock of unnatural conditions and washed by the foam of ancient prejudices, provides an “inoffensive modern criticism” of the poetical works of Alfred Meissner [Luise Otto, “Alfred Meissners neueste Poesien"]. It is a strange, but charming spectacle to observe how overflowing enthusiasm here struggles against the tender modesty of the German maiden, enthusiasm for the “king of poets”, who causes the deepest strings of the female heart to vibrate and draws from them tones of homage that border on deeper and tenderer sensations, tones which in their innocent frankness are the finest reward of the singer. Let us hear in all their native originality these flattering admissions of a maiden’s soul, for whom so much remains obscure in this wicked world. Let us hear and remember that to the pure all things are pure.

Indeed, “the deep soulfulness which pervades Meissner’s poems can only be felt, but cannot be explained to those who are incapable of feeling it. These songs are the golden reflection of the fierce flames which blaze in the heart of the poet as a sacrifice on the altar of freedom, a reflection whose brilliance reminds us of Schiller’s words: subsequent generations may overlook the author who was not more than his works — we feel here that this poet himself is something more than his beautiful songs” (for sure, Fräulein Andromeda, for sure), “that there is in him something inexpressible, something ‘which passeth show’, as Hamlet says” [Shakespeare. Hamlet, Act 1. Scene 2] (O you foreboding angel, you! [Goethe, Faust, I. Teil, “Marthens Garten"]) “This something is what is lacking in so many modern poets of freedom, e.g., entirely so in Hoffmann von Fallersleben and Prutz” (is this really the case?), “and in part also in Herwegh and Freiligrath; this something is perhaps genius.”

Perhaps it is Boötes’ “thorn”, beautiful Fräulein!

“Nevertheless,” the same article states, “criticism has its duty — but criticism appears to me to be very wooden in relation to such a poet!”

How maidenly! Certainly, a young, pure, girlish soul must appear” to itself to be “very wooden” in relation to a poet who possesses such a wonderful “something”.

“We go on reading right to the last stanza, which ought to remain faithfully in the memory of all of us:

“'And vet at last will come
The day ...
Peoples shall sit together, hand in hand,
Like children in the great hall of the heavens.
Once more a chalice, a chalice shall pass round,
Love’s chalice at the love-feast of the nations.”

Then Fräulein Andromeda sinks into an eloquent silence “like a child, hand in hand”. Let us take care not to disturb her.

Our readers will be eager after this to become more closely acquainted with the “king of poets”, Alfred Meissner, and his “something”. He is the Orion of the truly socialist firmament, and in truth he is no disgrace to his post. Girded with the shining sword of poesy, wrapt “in his cloak of grief” (p. 67 and p. 260 of A. Meissner’s Gedichte, second edition, Leipzig, 1846), he swings in his sinewy fist the club of unintelligibility, with which he victoriously strikes down all opponents of the good cause. At his heels, there follows a certain Moritz Hartmann, in the shape of a small dog [Canis Minor (the Lesser Dog) — a constellation to the East of Orion], who for the sake of the good cause raises an energetic yapping under the title Kelch und Schwert (Leipzig, 1845). To speak in earthly terms, with these heroes we have entered a region which for a fairly long time already has provided numerous sturdy recruits for true socialism, viz., the Bohemian forests.

As is well known, the first true socialist in the Bohemian forests was Karl Moor. He did not succeed in carrying through the work of regeneration to the end; he was not understood by his contemporaries, and he handed himself over to justice. Now Orion-Meissner has undertaken to tread in the footsteps of this noble figure and — at least in its spirit — to bring his lofty work nearer to the goal. He, Karl Moor the Second, has at his side as his assistant the above-mentioned Moritz Hartmann Canis Minor — in the role of the worthy Schweizer — who celebrates God, King and Fatherland in elegiac manner and, in particular, sheds tears of thankful remembrance at the grave of that simple man, Kaiser Joseph. Concerning the rest of the group, we shall merely remark that none of them as yet appear to have developed enough understanding and wit to undertake the role of Spiegelberg.

It is obvious at first glance that Karl Moor the Second is no ordinary man. He learned German in Karl Beck’s school and therefore his mode of speech is of more than oriental magnificence. For him belief is a “butterfly” (p. 13), the heart is a “flower” (p. 16), later on a “desolate forest” (p. 24), and finally a “vulture” (p. 31). For him the evening sky is (p. 65)

red and staring, like an empty socket
where once an eye was, without lustre or soul.

The smile of his beloved is “a child of Earth caressing the children of God” (p. 19).

But it is his tremendous world-weariness, still more than his showy picturesque language., which distinguishes him from ordinary mortals. In this way he shows that he is a true son and successor of Karl Moor the First; thus on page 65 he proves that “wild world-weariness” is one of the first requirements of every “saviour of the world”. In fact, as far as world-weariness is concerned, Orion-Moor outdoes all his predecessors and competitors. Let us hear what he says himself.

Crucified by anguish, I was dead” (p. 7). “This heart dedicated to death” (p. 8). “My mind is dark” (p. 10). For him, “ancient suffering laments in the desolate forest of the heart” (p. 24). “It would be better ne'er to have been born, but death, too, would be good” (p. 29).

In this most bitter, evil hour,
When by the cold world you're rejected,
Admit, my heart, through bloodless lips
That you're ineffably dejected (p. 30).

On page 100 he “bleeds from many a hidden wound”, and on page 101 concern for mankind causes him to feel so unwell that he has to press his arms “firmly like pincers ... round his breast, which threatens to burst asunder”, and on page 79 he is a crane that has been shot and cannot fly to the south in autumn with its fellows; “with lead-pierced pinions” it flounders in the bushes and “flaps its broad, blood-stained. wings” [p. 78]. Whence comes all this suffering? Are all these laments merely everyday love moaning à la Werther increased by dissatisfaction because of the personal suffering of our poet? Not at all. Our poet has indeed suffered a great deal, but he has been able to derive a general aspect from all his suffering. He often indicates, e.g., on page 64, that women have played him many mean tricks (the usual fate of Germans, especially poets), that he has had bitter experiences in his life; but all this merely proves for him the badness of the world and the need for an alteration of social conditions. It is not Alfred Meissner, but mankind, that has suffered in his person and therefore from all his woes he only concludes that it is a great feat and a heavy burden of suffering to be a man.

O heart, learn here (in the wilderness), however you may fare,
The burden of being man bravely to bear (p. 66).
O pain so sweet, O blessed curse,
O sweet distress of being a man (p. 90).

In our unfeeling world such noble pain can count only on indifference, insulting rebuff and ridicule. Such is the experience of Karl Moor the Second as well. We have already seen above that “the cold world forgets” him. In this respect he really fares very ill:

That I might flee front man’s cold ridicule,
I built myself a prison, cold as the grave (p. 227).

On one occasion he again takes courage:

Pale hypocrite, that reviles me without rest,
Tell me the pain that has not pierced my heart,
The lofty passion that has not fired my breast (p. 212).

But it is too much for him after all; he retires and, on page 65, goes into the wilderness” and, on page 70, “into the mountain desert”. Just like Karl Moor the First. Here he has it explained to him by a stream — because everything suffers, e.g., the lamb torn to pieces by the eagle suffers, the falcon suffers, the reed that rustles in the wind suffers — “how small then human woes” are, and how indeed nothing is left for him but “to rejoice and perish”. Since, however, “rejoicing” does not really seem to come from his heart, and “perishing” does not seem to suit him at all, he rides forth in order to hear the “voices on the heath”. Here he fares even worse. Three mysterious horsemen ride up to him one after the other and in rather dry words give him the good advice that he should get himself buried:

Indeed, you would do better...
To burrow through dead leaves and die
Covered by grasses and the humid earth (p. 75).

This is the crown of his sufferings. Human beings spurn him and his moaning; he turns to nature and here too he meets only with disagreeable faces and rude replies. And after Karl Moor the Second’s aching pain has thus flapped “its broad, blood-stained wings” in front of our eyes until we are disgusted, we find on page 211 a sonnet in which the poet believes he must defend himself:

... for dumb, concealing from the world my woe,
I nurse my wounds and bear my scorching pain,
Because my mouth scorns idly to complain,
Of terrible experience makes no show!!

But the “saviour of the world” must be not only afflicted by pain but also wild. Hence “a storm of passion rages wild within his breast” (p. 24); when he loves, “fiercely blaze his suns” (p. 17); his “loving is a flash of lightning, his poetry a storm” (p. 68). We shall soon have examples showing how wild his wildness is.

Let us rapidly glance through some of the socialist poems of Orion-Moor.

From page 100 to page 106 he flaps his “broad, blood-stained wings” in order during his flight to survey the evils of present-day society. In a frantic fit of “wild world-weariness” he runs through the streets of Leipzig. Night is around him and in his heart. Finally, he comes to a stop. A mysterious demon comes up to him and in the tone of a night-watchman asks him what he is doing in the street so late. Karl Moor the Second, who was just then occupied in firmly pressing the “pincers” of his arms against his chest that was “threatening to burst”, Kart Moor with eyes like fiercely blazing suns looks the demon straight in the face and finally breaks into speech (p. 102):

Awakened from faith’s starry night,
This much I see in spirit’s light:
He of Golgotha has not yet brought
Salvation that this world has sought!

“This much” Karl Moor the Second sees'! By the desolate forest of his heart, by his cloak of grief, by the heavy yoke of being a man, by the lead-pierced pinions of our poet, and by everything else that Karl Moor the Second holds holy — it was not worth the trouble of running through the streets at night, of exposing his breast to the danger of bursting and of pneumonia, and of conjuring up a special demon, in order finally to impart this discovery to us! But let us hear some more. The demon is not yet pacified. Karl Moor the Second then relates how a young prostitute seized hold of his hand, thereby evoking in him all kinds of painful reflections, which at last voice themselves in the following apostrophe:

Woman, for your misery, the blame
Is society’s, which has no mercy!
Pallid victim, sorry sight to see,
On sin’s heathen (!!) altar sacrificed,
So that other women’s purity
In the home stay undefiled and chaste! [p. 103]

The demon, who now turns out to be a quite ordinary bourgeois, does not enter into a discussion of the truly socialist theory of prostitution comprehended in these lines, and instead answers quite simply that everyone forges his own happiness, “man’s to blame for his own guilt”, and such like bourgeois phrases. He remarks: “society is “an empty word” (he has probably read Stirner), and he requests Karl Moor the Second to go on with his account. The latter tells how he had looked at proletarian dwellings and heard the weeping of the children:

Just because the mother’s dried-up breast
Not a drop of sweet refreshment yields,
Guiltless babes die in their mother’s care!
Yet (!!) it is a marvel of delight
That from red blood mother’s breast should bear
And give forth a milk of purest white [p. 104]

Whoever has seen this miracle, he declares, has no need to be sad if he cannot believe that Christ turned water into wine. The story of the marriage of Cana seems to have greatly Influenced our poet in favour of Christianity. The world-weariness here becomes so profound that Karl Moor the Second loses all coherence. The demoniacal bourgeois tries to calm him and makes him continue his report:

Other children, pale-faced brood, I saw
Where the tall and smoking chimneys climb,
Where the brass wheels in the fiery glow
Stamp their dances out in ponderous time [p. 105]

What sort of factory could it have been, where Karl Moor the Second saw “wheels in the fiery glow” and, what is more, saw them stamping out their dances"! It could only have been the same factory where our poet’s verses, which likewise “stamp their dances out in ponderous time”, are manufactured. There follow some details about the lot of the factory children. That touches the purse of the demoniacal bourgeois, who undoubtedly is also a factory-owner. He becomes excited too, and retorts that it is stuff and nonsense, that the ragged pack of proletarian children are of no importance, that a genius had never yet perished on account of such trivialities, that in general it was not individuals that were important but only mankind as a whole, which will get along even without Alfred Meissner. Want and misery are the lot of human beings and in any case,

What the Creator has himself done badly,
Man will never afterwards improve [p. 107]

Thereupon he vanishes and our distressed poet is left standing alone. The poet shakes his confused head and cannot think of anything better to do than to go home and put it all down on paper, word for word, and publish it.

On p . age 109 “a poor man” wants to drown himself; Karl Moor the Second nobly holds him back and asks him about his reasons. The poor man relates that he has travelled a great deal:

Where England’s chimneys blood-red (!) flamed,
in pain that was both dull and dumb,
I saw new bells, I saw new damned.

The poor man saw strange things in England, where in every factory town the Chartists have shown more activity than all the German political, socialist and religious parties taken together. He himself must indeed have been “dull and dumb”.

Sailing to France across the sea,
I saw with horror, terrified,
The working masses seethe round me,
Like lava in a bubbling tide.

He saw all that “with horror, terrified”, the “poor man"! Thus he saw everywhere the “struggle between the poor and rich”, he himself being “one of the helots”, and since the rich refuse to listen and “the people’s day is still far off”, he can think of nothing better to do than to throw himself into the water — and Meissner, convinced by his words, lets him go: “Good-bye, I can no longer hold you back!

Our poet did very well to allow this narrow-minded coward to drown himself quietly, a man who saw nothing at all in England, whom the proletarian movement in France filled only with “horror and terror”, and who was too lâche [cowardly] to join the struggle of his class against its oppressors. In any case, the fellow was no good for anything else.

On page 237 Orion-Moor addresses a Tyrtaian hymn “ to women “Now, when men sin in cowardly fashion”, Germany’s blond daughters are called upon to rise and “proclaim a word of freedom”. Our tender blondes did not wait for his invitation; the public has seen “with horror, terrified” examples of the lofty deeds Germany’s women are capable of as soon as they are able to wear breeches and smoke cigars.

After this criticism of existing society by our poet,. let us see what his pia desideria [pious wishes] are with regard to the social aspects. At the end we find a “Reconciliation”, written in a chopped-up prose, which more than imitates the “Resurrection” at the end of the collected poems of K. Beck. It states, inter alia:

“Mankind does not live and struggle in order to give birth to the individual. Mankind is one human being.” According to which, our poet — “the individual” of course — is “not a human being”. “And it will come, the time ... then mankind will rise up, a Messiah, a God in its unfolding...... But this Messiah will only come after “many thousands of years, the new saviour, who will speak” (acting he will leave to others) “of the division of labour, which is to be fraternal and equal for all children of the Earth” ... and then “the ploughshare, symbol of the spirit-shadowed earth ... a sign of profound respect..., will rise up, radiant, crowned with roses, and more beautiful even than the old Christian cross”.

What will happen after “many thousands of years” is basically of little concern to us. Hence we do not need to investigate whether the people who will then exist will be advanced a single inch by the speech” of the new saviour, whether they will still want to listen to a saviour” at all, and whether the fraternal theory of this “saviour” is capable of realisation or is safe from the terrors of bankruptcy. This time our poet does not “see” “this much”. The only thing of interest in the whole passage is his reverent bowing of the knee before the holy of holies of the future, the idyllic “ploughshare”. In the ranks of the true socialists we have so far found only the townsman; here we notice already that Karl Moor the Second will show us also the villager in his Sunday attire. In fact, on page 154, we see him looking down from the mountain into a lovely Sunday-like valley where the peasants and shepherds with quiet joyfulness, blithely and with faith in God, carry on their daily work; and:

The cry was loud within my doubting hear
Oh, hear how blithely poverty can sing!

Here need is “no woman selling her bare flesh, it is a child, its nakedness is pure!”

I understood that man, so sorely tried,
Will only pious, blithe and good become,
When through hard work at Earth’s maternal breast
He finds his place in bless'd oblivion.

And in order to pronounce still more clearly his serious opinion, he describes (on page 159) the domestic happiness of a country blacksmith and expresses the wish that his children

... will never that contagion know
On which in prideful exultation
Wicked men and fools bestow
The name of Culture, Civilisation.

True socialism could not rest until the rural idyll had been rehabilitated alongside the urban idyll, and Gessner’s shepherd scenes alongside Lafontaine’s novels. In the shape of Herr Alfred Meissner, true socialism has adopted the position of Rochow’s Kinderfreund and from this lofty standpoint has proclaimed that it is man’s fate to become countrified. Who would have expected such simple-mindedness from the poet of “wild world-weariness”, from the owner of “blazing suns”, from Karl Moor the Younger with his “thunder bolts"?

In spite of his peasant-like longing for the peace of rural life, he declares that the big cities are his proper field of activity. Accordingly, our poet betook himself to Paris in order there, too, to see

... with horror, terrified,
The working masses seethe round him
Like lava in a bubbling tide [p. 111]

Hélas! il nen fut rien [Alas! Nothing came of it] in a message from Paris published in the Grenzboten [Alfred Meissner, “Aus Paris"] he declares that he is terribly disillusioned. The worthy poet looked everywhere for this seething mass of proletarians, even in the Cirque olympique, where at that time the French Revolution was enacted to the sound of drums and cannon; but instead of the dark heroes of virtue and savage republicans that he sought, he found only a laughing, volatile people of imperturbable cheerfulness who were much more interested in pretty girls than in the great problems of mankind. In just the same way he looked for “the representatives of the French people” in the Chamber of Deputies and found only a crowd of well-fed, incoherently chattering ventrus [pot-bellies].

It is indeed irresponsible of the Paris proletarians not to have organised a little July revolution in honour of Karl Moor the Younger, so as to give him the opportunity of obtaining, “with horror, terrified”, a better opinion of them. Our worthy poet utters a mighty cry of woe over all these misfortunes and, like a new Jonah spewed out of the belly of true socialism, he predicts the downfall of Nineveh-on-the-Seine, b as can be read in detail in the Grenzboten of 1847, No. [14], report “From Paris”, where our poet likewise relates in a very amusing manner how he mistook a bon bourgeois du Marais [respectable citizen from Marais, Paris] for a proletarian and what peculiar misunderstandings arose out of it.

We shall not bother about his Ziska, for it is merely boring.

Since we have just been talking of poems, we should like to say a few words about the six instigations to revolution which our Freiligrath issued under the title Ça ira, Herisau, 1846. The first of them is a German Marseillaise and sings of a “bold pirate”, which “in Austria, just as in Prussia, is called revolution”. The following request is addressed to this ship, which flies its own flag and represents an important reinforcement to the famous German fleet in partibus infidelium. [153]

‘Gainst silver fleets of gains ill-gotten
Bravely point the cannon’s maw.
On the ocean’s rotting floor,
May the fruits of greed go rotten [p. 9]
[Ferdinand Freiligrath, “Vor der Fahrt (Melodie der Marseillaise)"]

Incidentally, the whole song is written in such an easy-going mood that, in spite of the metre, it is best sung to the tune: “Get up, you sailors, the anchor to weigh.” [From Wilhelm Gerhard’s poem “Matrose"]

Most characteristic is the poem “Wie man’s macht”, [How it is done] that is to say: how Freiligrath makes a revolution. Bad times have set in, people are hungry and go about in rags: “How can they obtain bread and clothes?” In this situation an “audacious fellow” comes forward who knows what to do. He leads the whole crowd to the stores of the militia and distributes the uniforms found there, which are at once put on. The crowd also takes hold of the rifles “as an experiment” and considers that “it would be fun” to take them as well. At that moment it occurs to our “audacious fellow” that this “joke with the clothes might perhaps even be called rebellion, house-breaking and robbery”, and so one would have “to be ready to fight for one’s clothes”. And so helmets, sabres and cartridge belts are also taken and a beggar’s sack hoisted as a flag. In this way they come into the streets. Then the “royal troops” make their appearance, the general gives the order to fire, but the soldiers joyously embrace the dressed-up militia. And since they have now got under way, they advance on the capital, also for “fun”, find support there and thus as a result of a “joke over clothing": “Tumbling down comes throne and crown, the kingdom trembles on its base” and “triumphantly the people raise their long downtrodden heads”. Everything happens so rapidly and smoothly that during the whole procedure surely not a single member of the “proletarian battalion” finds that his pipe has gone out. One must admit that nowhere are revolutions accomplished more merrily and with greater ease than in the head of our Freiligrath. In truth it requires all the black-galled hypochondria of the Allgemeine Preussische Zeitung to detect high treason in such an innocent, idyllic excursion.

The last group of true socialists to which we turn is the Berlin group. From this group, too, we shall select only one characteristic individual, namely, Herr Ernst Dronke, because he has performed a lasting service to German literature by the discovery of a new genre of artistic writing. For a considerable time the novelists and writers of short stories of our Fatherland had been short of material. Never before had such a dearth of raw material for their industry made itself felt. It is true that the French factories provided much that was useful but this supply was the less adequate to meet the demand because much of it was offered immediately to the consumers in the shape of translations and thus constituted a dangerous competition to the writers of novels. It was then that the ingenuity of Herr Dronke was displayed: in the shape of Ophiuchus the serpent-holder in the truly socialist firmament, he held aloft the writhing giant serpent of the German police legislation, in order to manufacture from it in his Polizei-Geschichten [Police Stories] a series of most interesting short stories. In point of fact this complicated legislation, which is as slippery as a serpent, contains extremely rich material for this kind of writing. A novel lies concealed in every paragraph, a tragedy in every regulation. Herr Dronke, who as a Berlin writer has himself waged mighty battles against the police presidium, could speak here from his own experience. There will be no lack of followers once the way has been shown; it is a rich field. Prussian Law, inter alia, is an inexhaustible source of tense conflicts and sensational incidents. In the legislation on divorce, alimony and the bridal wreath alone — not to speak of the chapters on unnatural private pleasures — the whole of the German novel industry can find raw material for centuries. Moreover, nothing is easier than to work up such a paragraph in poetic form: the conflict and its solution is ready-made there, one has only to add some trimmings which can be taken from any of the novels of Bulwer, Dumas or Sue and adapt them slightly, and the story is ready. Thus it is to be hoped that the German townsman and villager, as also the studiosus juris or cameralium [student of law or cameralistics], will gradually come to possess a series of commentaries on contemporary legislation that will enable them, with ease and total elimination of pedantry, to become thoroughly conversant with this sphere.

We see from the example of Herr Dronke that our expectations are not excessive. From the legislation on naturalisation alone he has composed two stories. In one of them (“Polizeiliche Ehescheidung” [Police Divorce]), a writer (the heroes of German writers are always writers) of the Electorate of Hesse marries a Prussian woman without the legally prescribed permission of his municipal council. In consequence his wife and children lose any claim to be Hessian subjects and as a result of police intervention the married couple are separated. The writer gets angry, voices his displeasure with the existing order of things, is on account of this challenged to a duel by a lieutenant, is stabbed and dies. The police complications had involved expenses which ruined him financially. His wife, who ceased to be a Prussian subject because of her marriage to a foreigner, now experiences extreme want.

In the second story on civil status, for fourteen long years a poor devil of a man is transferred from Hamburg to Hanover and from Hanover to Hamburg, in order to taste the delights of the treadmill in the one place and of prison in the other, and to be flogged on both banks of the Elbe. The writer deals in the same way with the evil that complaints about the police abusing their power can only be made to the police. A very moving description is given of how the Berlin police, by their regulation on expulsion of unemployed domestic servants, encourage prostitution, and also of other poignant conflicts.

True socialism has allowed itself to be duped by Herr Dronke in the most good-natured fashion. It has mistaken the Polizei-Geschichten, lachrymose descriptions of German philistine misery written in the tone of Menschenhass und Reue [Misanthropy and Repentance, by August Kotzebue], for pictures of the conflicts in modern society; it has believed that this was socialist propaganda; it has never for a moment reflected on the fact that such lamentable scenes are quite impossible in France, England and America, where anything but socialism prevails, and that consequently Herr Dronke is making not socialist, but liberal propaganda. In this case true socialism is the more excusable because Herr Dronke himself has not reflected on all that either.

Herr Dronke has also written stories entitled Aus dem Volke [Among the People]. Here again we have a story describing the penury of professional authors so as to win the compassion of the public. This narrative seems to have inspired Freiligrath to write the touching poem in which he begs for sympathy for the writer and exclaims: “He, too, is a proletarian!” [Ferdinand Freiligrath, “Requiescat!"], When things reach the stage when the German proletarians settle their accounts with the bourgeoisie and the other propertied classes, they will, by means of lamp-posts,[154] show the knights of the pen, the lowest of all venal classes, how far they are proletarians. The other stories in Dronke’s book have been botched together with a total lack of imagination and considerable ignorance of real life, and they serve only to foist Herr Dronke’s socialist ideas on people in whose mouth they are completely inappropriate.

In addition, Herr Dronke has written a book about Berlin [Ernst Dronke, Berlin] which is abreast of modern science, that is .o say, it contains a variegated medley of Young-Hegelian, Bauer’s, Feuerbach’s, Stirner’s, true socialist and communist views, such as have come into circulation in the literature of recent years. The outcome of it all is that, despite everything, Berlin remains the centre of modern culture and intelligence, and a world city with two-fifths of a million inhabitants, the competition of which Paris and London should take heed of. There are even grisettes in Berlin, but — God knows — they are what you might expect.

The Berlin circle of true socialists includes Herr Friedrich Sass, who has also written a book about the city which is his spiritual home [Friedrich Sass, Berlin in seiner neuesten Zeit und Entwicklung]. But so far we have only had occasion to see one of this author’s poems, printed on page 29 of Püttmann’s Album, a book which we shall presently discuss in more detail. This poem sings of “The Future of Old Europe” ["Des alten Europa’s Zukunft”, by Friedrich Sass] in the manner of “Lenore started up from sleep” [from Gottfried August Bürger’s poem “Lenore"] with the most repulsive expressions that our author Could find in the entire German language and with the greatest Possible number of grammatical mistakes. The socialism of Herr Sass reduces itself to the idea that Europe, the “unchaste woman”, will shortly perish:

Your wooer is the graveyard worm.
Dost hear amid the marriage storm
The Cossacks and the Tatar horde
That ride across your rotting bed?...
Alongside Asia’s barren tomb
Your sarcophagus will find room —
The giant corpses, old and grey,
Are bursting (Ugh!) and are giving way —
As Memphis and Palmyra burst
The savage eagle builds its nest
O'er your decaying brow,
You strumpet, ancient now!

It is clear that the imagination and language of the poet have “burst” no less than his conception of history.

With this glance into the future we shall conclude our review of the various constellations of true socialism. It is indeed a brilliant series of constellations that have passed in front of our telescope, it is the brightest half of the sky that has been occupied by true socialism with its army! As the Milky Way enveloping all these lustrous stars with its tender gleam of bourgeois philanthropy, there is the Trier’sche Zeitung, a newspaper that has identified itself body and soul with true socialism. No event that even most remotely affects true socialism can take place without the Trier’sche Zeitung enthusiastically entering the lists. From Lieutenant Anneke to Countess Hatzfeld, from the Bielefeld Museum to Madame Aston, the Trier’sche Zeitung has fought in behalf of true socialism with an energy that has caused its brow to be bathed in a noble perspiration. It is in the most literal sense a Milky Way of tenderness, mercy and love of mankind, and it is only in very rare cases that it offers sour milk. Tranquilly and undisturbed, as befits a proper milky way, may it continue in its course, providing Germany’s valiant citizens with the butter of soft-heartedness and the cheese of philistinism! It need not be afraid that anyone will skim off the cream, for it is too watery to have any.

In order, however, that we may take our leave of true socialism with unruffled cheerfulness, it has prepared for us a final feast in the form of the Album published by H. Püttmann, Borna, near Reiche, 1847. Under the aegis of the Great Bear, a girandole is produced here as brilliant as any to be seen at the Easter festival in Rome. All the socialist poets have, either voluntarily or under compulsion, contributed rockets which rise into the sky in hissing, glittering sheaves, and explode in the air with a loud report into a million stars, magically turning the night of the conditions around us into the light of day. But, alas, the beautiful spectacle lasts only a second — the firework burns out and leaves behind only a thick smoke which makes the night appear even darker than it really is, a smoke through which there shine only the seven poems of Heine as constant bright stars, which to our great astonishment and to the considerable embarrassment of the Great Bear have appeared in this society. Let us, however, not be disturbed by this, nor object because several of Weerth’s things that are reprinted here are bound to feel uncomfortable in such company, but let us enjoy the full impression of the fireworks.[155]

We find very interesting themes treated here. Three or four times spring is praised with all the display of which true socialism is capable. No less than eight seduced girls are presented to us from all possible points of view. We are enabled to see here not only the act of seduction, but also its consequences; each main period of pregnancy is represented by at least one individual. Afterwards, as is fitting, comes childbirth, and in its train infanticide or suicide. It is only to be regretted that Schiller’s “child-murderess” has not been included as well; the editor, however, may have thought that it was enough to have the well-known cry: “Joseph, Joseph”, etc., [From Schiller’s poem “Die Kindesmörderin"] echoing through the whole book. A stanza — to the tune of a well-known lullaby — may serve as evidence of the quality of these songs of seduction. Herr Ludwig Köhler sings on page 299:

Weep, Mother, weep!
She is sick, your cherished one!
Weep, Mother, weep!
For her innocence is gone!
Your advice: “Child, guard your honour”,
Was entirely lost upon her!

In general, the Album is a true apotheosis of crime. Besides the above-mentioned numerous cases of infanticide, Herr Karl Eck sings of a “Forest Misdeed”, and the Swabian Hiller who murdered his five children is celebrated in a short poem by Herr Johannes Scherr, and in an interminable poem by Ursa Major himself. One would think that one was at a German fair where the organ-grinders keep on playing their murder stories:

Crimson child, you child of hell,
Say, what was your life like here,
You and your dread murder-hole
Made all people shrink in fear.
Human beings ninety-six
Perished by the villain’s deed,
For the killer broke their necks,
Took their lives with utmost speed, etc.

It is difficult to make a choice among these young and Vigorous poets and their productions, which are full of vital warmth; for basically it does not matter whether the name is Theodor Opitz or Karl Eck, Johannes Scherr or Joseph Schweitzer, the things are all equally beautiful. Let us take some at random.

First of all we find once again our friend Boötes-Semmig, who is engaged in elevating spring to the speculative heights of true socialism (p. 35):

Awake! Awake! For Spring will soon be coming —
O'er hill and dale with movement of the storm
Unfettered Freedom makes her way —

What kind of freedom this is, we are told at once:

Why gaze upon the Cross so slavishly?
No free man to that god will bend the knee
Who felled the oak-trees of the Fatherland
And made the very gods of Freedom flee!

that is to say, the freedom of the Germanic primeval forests, in whose shade Boötes can tranquilly reflect on “socialism, communism and humanism”, and foster at will “the thorn of hate for Tyranny”. About this last we learn:

There is no rose that blooms without a thorn,

consequently, it can be hoped that the budding “rose” Andromeda, too, will soon find an appropriate “thorn” and then no longer “appear so wooden” to herself as previously. Boötes acts also in the interests of the Veilchen, which it is true did not then exist, by publishing here an unusual poem, the title and refrain of which consist of the words: “Buy violets! Buy violets! Buy violets!” (p. 38).

Herr N..h..s [Neuhaus] exerts himself with praiseworthy zeal to bring into being 32 pages of long-line verse, without advancing a single idea in it. There is, for instance, a “Proletarians’ Song” (p. 166). The proletarians come out into the lap of nature — if we wanted to say from where they come out, there would be no end to it — and after long preambles finally decide on the following apostrophe:

Nature, O thou mother of all beings,
All thou wouldst with love refresh and strengthen,
All thou hast to utmost bliss predestined,
Great beyond all ken thou art and lofty!
Listen, then, to our resolves most holy!
Hear what we would vow to thee sincerely!
Bear the tidings to the sea, ye rivers,
Spring wind, breathe it through the darkling pine-trees!

With that a new theme has been broached and for quite a space the poem continues in this strain. Finally, in the fourteenth stanza, we learn what the people really want; it is, however, not worth the trouble of putting it down here.

It is likewise interesting to make the acquaintance of Herr Joseph Schweitzer [from Schweitzer’s poems “Die Parole” and “Leipzig"]:

Thought is soul and action is flesh in this our earthly life;
Husband is the spark of fire, and the deed his own true wife,

to which is adjoined in an unaffected way what Herr J. Schweitzer wants, namely:

I will crackle, I will blaze, Freedom’s light
In wood and plain,
Till the enormous water-bucket, Death,
Shall douse my spark again (p. 213).

His wish is fulfilled. In these poems it “crackles” to his heart’s content, and he is also a “spark”, as is evident at the first glance. But he is a delightful “spark":

Head held high and knuckles clenched,
There I stand, made happy, free (p. 216).

In this posture he must have been priceless. Unfortunately, the Leipzig August riot [156] drew him on the street and there he witnessed moving things:

A tender human bud, before me, in full view —
O shame, O horror! —
Sucking up in greedy draughts its shining drops of deadly dew (p. 217).

Hermann Ewerbeck, too, does not disgrace his Christian name. On page 227 he begins a “Battle-Song"’ which was undoubtedly already roared out by the Cherusci in the Teutoburg Woods:

For Freedom, for the being
Within, we bravely fight.

Is this perhaps a battle-song for pregnant women?

And not for gold or medals,
Nor yet for vain delight,
We struggle hard for future generations etc.

In a second poem [p. 229] we learn:

Human feelings all are holy,
Purest thought is holy too,
When they meet with thought and feelings
Pass away all spirits do.

Just as such verses are liable to make our “thought and feelings” pass away”.

We warmly love the Good,
The Beautiful in this world,
We toil and we create
Ever in man’s true field;

and our labour in this field is rewarded with a harvest of sentimental doggerel that even Ludwig of Bavaria could not have produced.

Herr Richard Reinhardt is a quiet and sedate young man. He steps in gentle calm along the path of quiet self-development” and provides us with a birthday poem “An die junge Menschheit”, in which he contents himself with singing of:

The loving sun of Freedom pure,
Pure Love’s own radiant Freedom light,
And loving Peace’s friendly light [pp. 234, 236]

These six pages raise our spirits. “Love” occurs sixteen times, “light” seven times, the “sun” five times, “freedom” eight times, not to speak of “stars”, “lucidities”, “days”, “raptures”, “joys”, “peace”, roses”, “passions”, truths” and other subsidiary spices of human existence. If one has had the good fortune to be sung of in this way, one can truly go in peace to the grave.

But why should we dwell on these bunglers when we can behold such masters as Herr Rudolf Schwerdtlein and Ursa Major? Let us leave all those rather amiable but very imperfect attempts to their fate and turn to the consummation of socialist poesy!

Herr Rudolf Schwerdtlein sings:

Boldly Onwards"
We are the riders of life. Hurrah (ter)
Whither, O riders of life’,
We're riding into death. Hurrah!
We're blowing on our trumpets. Hurrah (ter)
What blow you on your trumpets?
We blast, we blow of death. Hurrah!
The army is left behind. Hurrah (ter)
What does it do behind?
It sleeps the eternal sleep. Hurrah!
Hark! Do enemy trumpets sound? Hurrah (ter)
O woe to You, poor trumpeters!
We ride now into death. Hurrah! [Pp. 199, 200.]

O woe, you poor trumpeter! — We see that the rider of life not only rides with jubilant courage into death, he rides just as audaciously into the most utter nonsense, in which he feels as happy as a tick in a sheep. [cf. Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene 3] A few pages farther on ..c rider of life opens “fire” [Rudolf Schwerdtlein, “Feuer!"]:

We are so wise, we know a thousand things,
Progress impetuous has brought us far —
Yet when your boat across the waves you steer,
The spirits aye will rustic round your ear [p. 204]

One could wish that a really solid body will very soon “rustle round the ear” of the rider of life so as to drive away the spirit rustling.

Just bite an apple! Betwixt it and your teeth
Before your very eyes a ghost will rear.
Seize the strong mane of some fine thoroughbred —
A spectre rises by the stallion’s ear.

Something also “rises” on each side of the head of the rider of life,, but it is not “the stallion’s ear” —

Around you thoughts hyena-like spring up,
When you embrace the one your heart has chosen.

It is the same with the rider of life as with other valiant warriors. He does not fear death, but “spectres”, “ghosts” and especially ‘,thoughts” make him tremble like an aspen leaf. To save himself from them he decides to set the world on fire, “to dare a universal conflagration":

Destroy — that’s the great watchword of the age,
Destroy — that’s discord’s only resolution;
See that the body and the soul are burned:
Nature and Being must he purified.
Like metal in a crucible, the world
In blasting flames must now be newly formed.
In fiery judgment on the world, the demon
Initiates the new world history [p. 206]

The rider of life has hit the nail on the head. The discord of the only resolution in the great watchword of the age of thorough purification of nature and being is precisely that the metal in the crucible is burnt to become body and soul, that is to say, the destruction of the new history of the world is the new formation of the fiery judgment on the world or, in other words, the demon take the world in the fire of the beginning.

Now for our old friend Ursa Major. We have already mentioned the Hilleriad [Hermann Püttmann’s poem “Johann Hiller"]. This begins with a great truth:

You people in God’s grace can never grasp
How hard the world seems to a ragamuffin;
One never can get free [p. 256].

After compelling us to listen to the whole story of woe in the minutest detail, Ursa Major once again breaks out into “hypocrisy":

Woe, woe to you, you heartless, wicked world —
Accursed be for ever! And you too, damned gold'
It was through you this murder did occur,
You played your part, you monstrous money-bags!
The children’s blood is on your head alone!
The truth is spoken by my poet’s mouth,
I fling it in Your face, and I await
The striking of the hour that spells revenge! [p. 262]

Might it not be thought that Ursa Major commits here an act of the most terrifying recklessness by “flinging truths from his poet’s mouth into people’s faces"? There is no need for alarm, however, one need not tremble for his liver and his safety. The rich do as little harm to the Great Bear as he does to them. But, in his opinion, one should either have had old Hiller’s head cut off or:

The softest down on earth you ought to lay
With greatest care beneath the murderer’s head,
So — for your blessing — he while fast asleep
Forgets the love of which you have deprived him.
And when he wakes there ought to be around him
Two hundred harps that sound sweet melodies,
So never more the children’s dying gasps
Shall lacerate his car or break his heart.
And more still for atonement — it should be
The loveliest that love can e'er contrive —
Perhaps that would relieve your sense of guilt,
And set your conscience finally at rest (p. 263).

That is indeed the acme of bonhomie, the very truth of true socialism! “For your blessing!”, “a tranquil conscience!” Ursa Major has become childish and relates tales for the nursery. It is known that he still “awaits the striking of the hour that spells revenge”.

But much more cheerful still than the Hilleriad are the “Graveyard Idylls”.’ First of all he sees the burial of a poor man and laments of his widow, then that of a young man who was killed in the war and who was the sole support of his aged father, then that of a child murdered by its mother, and finally that of a rich man. Having seen all that, he begins to “think” and lo and behold

... my vision bright and clear became
And deep into the grave its rays did pierce; [p. 284]

unfortunately, it did not become sufficiently “clear” to pierce “deep into” his verse.

The most mysterious was revealed to me.

On the other hand, what has been “revealed” to all the world, namely, the appalling worthlessness of his verse, has remained completely “mysterious” to him. And the clear-sighted Bear saw how “in a trice the greatest miracles occurred”. The fingers of the poor man turned into coral and his hair into silk, and consequently his widow became very rich. From the soldier’s grave flames leap out that devour the king’s palace. From the child’s grave there springs up a rose whose perfume penetrates to the mother in her prison — and the rich man, owing to the transmigration of souls, becomes an adder, with regard to which Ursa Major allows himself the private satisfaction of causing it to be trampled by his youngest son! And so, in the view of Ursa Major, “nevertheless, we shall all attain immortality”.

By the way, our Bear has after all some courage. On page 273, he throws out a challenge in thunderous tones to “his misfortune”; he defies it, for:

Within my heart a mighty lion sits —
It is so valiant, powerful and swift —
Against its claws you should be on your guard!

Indeed, Ursa Major “feels the lust for battle”, and “fears no wounds”.