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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Pushkin's brother poet Lermontov


Now lie forever still, My weary heart. Farewell, my last illusion The dream that we endure. Farewell! Too surely I know my end, and now of self-deception The hope long since and dear desire has left me. Be still forever! Enough Of fluttering such as thine has been. Vain, vain Thy palpitation, the wide world is not worth Our sighs; for bitter pain Life's portion is, naught else, and slime this earth. Subside henceforth, despair forever! Fate gave this race of ours For only guerdon death. Then make a sport Of thine own self, of nature, and the dark First power that, hidden, rules the world for harm-- And of the infinite emptiness of all.

[Sidenote: Death of Pushkin]

[Sidenote: Lermontov]

Russia lost her foremost man of letters at this period by the death of Count Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, as the result of a duel. His last work, the drama "Boris Goudunov," was left uncompleted. After his recall from his exile in Bessarabia, Pushkin had been appointed as imperial historian by Czar Nicholas, in which capacity he wrote a history of Peter the Great and an account of the conspiracy of Pugatshev. Of his poetic works, the most important was "Eugene Onegin," an epic written after the manner of Byron's "Don Juan." "Eugene Onegin" has remained one of the classics of Russian literature throughout the Nineteenth Century. Pushkin's brother poet Lermontov,

then an officer of the Guards, wrote a poem demanding vengeance for Pushkin's death. He was banished to the Caucasus, and his writings were suppressed. Under a false name he now wrote his famous epic: "Song of Czar Ivan Vasilyevitch."

[Sidenote: The first kindergarten]

[Sidenote: German clerical struggle]

A joyful event in German letters was the great festival at Mainz in honor of Gutenberg and his invention of the art of printing. Froebel opened his first kindergarten at Blankenburg in Thuringia. Auerbach, the popular novelist, brought out his "Spinoza." Much was made by Germans of the opening of the first railway between Dresden and Leipzig, and of the invention of coal-tar colors, or aniline dyes, by a process destined to revolutionize the arts of coloring and dyeing throughout the world. A great stir was created by the imprisonment of the Archbishop of Cologne at Minden after a quarrel with the Prussian Government concerning marriages between persons of different creeds. He was forbidden to go to Bonn. Backed by the Holy See in Rome, he continued to defy the Protestant authorities.

[Sidenote: Death of William IV.]

[Sidenote: Victoria's accession]

A change of rule, fraught with future consequences for Hanover, resulted from the death of William IV., King of England and Hanover, on the 20th of June. By the death of the old King, his niece, Victoria Alexandra, then in her eighteenth year, became Queen of England. Miss Wynn, in her "Diaries of a Lady of Quality," has told how the news was brought to the young Princess at Kensington by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Howley) and the Lord Chamberlain (Marquis Conyngham): "They did not reach Kensington Palace until five o'clock in the morning. They knocked, they rang, they thumped for a considerable time before they could rouse the porter at the gate; they were again kept waiting in the courtyard, then turned into one of the lower rooms, where they seemed forgotten by everybody. They rang the bell, and desired that the attendant of the Princess Victoria might be sent to inform Her Royal Highness that they requested an audience on business of importance. After another delay, and another ringing to inquire the cause, the attendant was summoned, who stated that the Princess was in such a deep sleep that she could not venture to disturb her. Then they said, 'We are come on business of state to the Queen, and even her sleep must give way to that.' In a few minutes she came into the room in a loose white nightgown and shawl, her nightcap thrown off, and her hair falling upon her shoulders, her feet in slippers, tears in her eyes, but perfectly collected and dignified."


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