Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic - Nations
by Therese Albertine Louise von Jacob Robinson
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The extent of the Bohemian national literature increased during the sixteenth century so rapidly; the number of writers augmented so prodigiously; and the opportunities for literary cultivation presented to the reading public, by the multiplication of books through the press, became so frequent; that the difficulty of giving a condensed yet distinct picture of the time is greatly augmented. A sketch of the political situation of the country may serve as a back-ground, in order by its gloomy shades to render still brighter the light of a free mental development.

After the death of George Podiebrad in 1471, the Bohemians—or rather the catholic party, after the pope had excommunicated this prince—elected Vladislaus, a Polish prince, for their king; who, like his son and successor Louis, united on his head the crowns of Hungary and Bohemia. The different evangelical denominations were during these reigns in some measure tolerated; except that from time to time a persecution of one or another sect broke out, and again after a year or two was dropped, when the minds of the community had become somewhat pacified. It is a melancholy truth for the evangelical Christian, that at this time the most violent persecutors were to be found among the Calixtins or Utraquists. During the first years of the sixteenth century, persecution was mostly directed against the United Brethren and their writings. The latter were burned; the former banished; until, driven from place to place, they found an asylum in the territory of some high-minded nobleman, where they established themselves anew; and then after some years perhaps a new persecution began. Of a more revolting and bloody description were the measures directed principally against the Lutherans in the years 1522-26; in which the most shocking tortures were employed, and several faithful Lutherans and Picardites were burned alive. During all this time the Romanists and Calixtins exercised a severe censorship; and it was ordained, that every individual who brought a newly printed book into the city of Prague, must submit it to the revision of the consistory. These laws, however, were no better observed than all similar ordinances, when directly in opposition to the spirit of the age. Meanwhile the Calixtins and Romanists, although writing against all others, had their own mutual contests. When, however, the former caused a new edition of the Bible to be printed in the year 1506,[28] it was unanimously adopted by the Roman Catholics also; who, as is amusing to observe, did not notice that a wood cut is appended to the sixth chapter of the Apocalypse, in which the pope is represented in the flames of hell.

In the year 1526 king Louis died in the battle of Mohaez.

According to a matrimonial treaty, he was succeeded by his brother-in-law Ferdinand, archduke of Austria and brother of the emperor Charles V. This prince was received by the Bohemians with reluctance as their king, and only on the condition, insisted on by the Estates, that he should subscribe the compact of Basle, by which their religious liberties were secured to them. So long as Ferdinand was occupied in Hungary against the Turks, all went well in Bohemia; but when, in the war which followed the league of Smalkalde (1547), the Protestants of this country refused to fight against their brethren, a new and unremitted persecution began against all, who could in any way be comprised under the name of sectarians. The compact of Basle was strictly only in favour of the Utraquists or Calixtins; the Lutherans and Taborites, or, as they were then called, United Brethren, as also the Picardites and Grubenheimer, were considered as sects, and did not belong to the indulged.[29] Their churches were shut up; their preachers arrested; and all who did not prefer to exchange their religion for the Roman Catholic, were compelled to emigrate. The scene altered under Maximilian II, Ferdinand's successor, a friend of the Reformation, and in every respect one of the most excellent princes who ever took upon himself the responsibility of directing the destinies of a nation; to use Schaffarik's happy metaphor, the benefits of his administration fell on the field, which Ferdinand's strength had ploughed, like a mild and fertilizing rain. During his life, and the first ten years of his son Rudolph's reign, Bohemia was in peace: the different denominations were indulged; literature flourished, and the Bohemian language was at the summit of its glory. But we regret to add, that the Protestants, instead of improving this fortunate period by uniting to acquire a legal foundation for their church, instead of a mere indulgence depending on the will of the sovereign, lived in constant mutual warfare, and attempted only to supplant each other. An ordinance in 1586 against the Picardites, a name under which the Bohemian Brethren were then comprehended; and still more the strict censorship introduced in 1605; first aroused them to unite their strength against oppression; and in 1609 they compelled the emperor to subscribe the celebrated Literae Imperatoriae, or edict, by which full liberty in matters of religion was secured to them. During the rest of this period, the Protestants remained the ruling party. The university of Prague, by the side of which from A.D. 1556 another of the Jesuits existed, was by that treaty given entirely into their hands. This institution, although in consequence of the foundation of so many similar schools it never recovered completely from the shock it received in 1410, and though for more than a hundred years it had been decidedly on the decline, yet rose in reputation towards the middle of the sixteenth century; and among the professors who filled its chairs, there were always celebrated names. Among the schools of a less elevated rank, those of the Bohemian Brethren at Bunzlau, Prerow, and other places, were distinguished.

Rudolph was a great patron of literature and science; and was quite favourably disposed towards the Bohemian language. Nearly two hundred writers were numbered under his reign; and among these many ladies and gentlemen of his court, of which Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and other scientific foreigners were the chief ornaments. Zeal for the cultivation of their mother tongue, seemed to be the point in which all religious denominations in Bohemia united. But during this century, as in the preceding one, the language of the country existed only side by side with the Latin; which was still preferred by many, for the sake of a more general reputation. It became the chief object of other eminent men, to make their countrymen acquainted with the classics in a Bohemian dress; and to improve the language by a strict imitation of Latin and Greek forms. Among these a rich and noble citizen of Prague named George Hruby must be first named;[30] also Pisecky, ob. 1511, who translated Isoerates' Epistle to Demonicus; Nicholas Konacz and Ulric of Welensky, the translators of Lucian; Krupsky, of Plutarch; Ginterod, of Xenophon's Cyropaedia. Kocyn, celebrated for his eloquence and other gifts, translated the ecclesiastical history of Eusebius and Cassiodorus; Orliczny, the Jewish wars of Josephus, several of the Latin classics, etc.

When we consider this general zeal for the cultivation of the language, it is a matter of surprise that the first Bohemian grammar should not be older than A.D. 1533. Its author was Benesh Optat, who also translated Erasmus' Paraphrase of the New Testament. Another grammar was published by Beneshowsky in 1577, a third by the Slovak Benedicti in 1603. But the individual to whom is justly assigned the chief merit in regard to the language, is Weleslawin, ob. 1599, professor of history in the university of Prague, and the proprietor of the greatest printing establishment in Bohemia. Partly by his own works, original and translated, and among these three dictionaries for different purposes; partly by the encouragement he gave to other writers, and the activity with which he caused works whether old or new deserving of a greater circulation, to be printed; he acquired a most powerful influence among his cotemporaries.

The field however which was cultivated with the most diligence, was that of theology; and fortunately, during this whole period, with an equal measure of talent and zeal. The writings of the Bohemian Brethren, Thomas Prelavsky, Laurentius Krasonicky, and more especially of Lucas, belong partly to the former, partly to the present period. The latter was a most productive writer; and as being one of their best scholars, he was generally chosen to answer the charges made against the United Brethren, in learned and elaborate pamphlets.[31] Several of the productions of the Brethren, mentioned in the former period, were written and printed in the beginning of this. Among these in 1508, Procopius' question. "Whether it is right for a Christian to compel infidels or heretics to embrace the true faith?" is remarkable, as one of the earliest instances in which this position of intolerance was made the subject of public debate, or at least answered in the negative. In 1563 the New Testament was first translated directly from the Greek, by J. Blahoslav, another president of the Bohemian Brethren, a man of profound erudition. The first translation of the whole Bible from the original languages, did not take place until several years later. The first edition of this latter splendid work, for which the patriotic and pious baron John of Zherotin expressly founded a printing office in his castle of Kralicz in Moravia, and advanced money for all the necessary expenses, was printed in 1579. This version is still considered, in respect to language, as a model; and in respect to typography, as unsurpassed. On the fidelity of the translation and the value of the commentary, Schaffarik remarks, that "they contain a great deal of that which, two hundred years later, the learned coryphaei of exegesis in our day have exhibited to the world as their own profound discoveries." The translators were Albert Nicolai, Lucas Helic, Joh. Aeneas, George Stryc, E. Coepolla, J. Ephraim, P. Jessenius, and J. Capito.—G. Stryc wrote also a good translation of the Psalms in rhyme, and several theological works. J. Wartowsky likewise translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew and left it in manuscript; but his version has never been published. Of his translation of Erasmus' Paraphrase of the Gospels, only that of the Gospel of Matthew has been printed. Among the Bohemian Brethren, Augusta surnamed Pileator, ob. 1572, Stranensky, the above-mentioned Blahoslav, Zamrsky, ob. 1592, were distinguished by great erudition. They and many others wrote voluminous works on theological subjects, e.g. biblical researches, systematic divinity, sermons, etc. Several of these writers, and also many others, were authors of numerous religious hymns; among which not a few are still considered as unsurpassed in any language. Nicholas Klaudian, who was at the same time physician, printer, and theologian, wrote an apology in favour of the Brethren. This individual, who, besides being the printer and editor of several medical works written by himself and others, was in part the translator of Seneca and Lactantius, has further the merit of having published in 1518 the first map of Bohemia. Luther's sermons and other writings were translated into Bohemian; and the religious affairs of Germany began to excite an intense interest among all classes.

The theological productions of this period written by Roman Catholics—among which we distinguish the names of Pishek surnamed Scribonius, Makawsky, and the Jesuits Sturm and Hostowin—are mostly of a polemical character; while some also are translations of the fathers, especially of Augustine's writings; or original ascetic productions in the form of allegorical novels. Among the Utraquists several individuals were celebrated as preachers; above all Ctibor Kotwa, who was called the Bohemian Cicero, and Dicastus Mirkowsky. Others wrote theological treatises and interpretations of portions of the Scriptures. Such were Beransky, author of an interpretation of Daniel, of the gospels, and the epistles; Orliczny, or, as he is called in Latin, Aquilinas, known chiefly as a translator of the classics;[32] Turnowsky, a Slovak by birth; Bydzhowsky, Bilegowsky the writer of a Bohemian church history and of a history of the Hussites and Picardites; Rwaczowsky, Zeletawsky, Tesak, author of many popular religious hymns; Palma, who published towards twenty theological works; Peshina, Maurenin, and Borowsky, who wrote interpretations of the epistles and gospels; Wrbensky, author of a biblical Synopsis, a Harmony, etc.; Rosacius Sushishky, distinguished as a Latin poet; Martin of Drazow, Jacobides Stribrsky, Jakesius Prerowsky. and others.[33]

There are few among the theological writers of this century,—of whom we have named perhaps the twentieth part,—who have not left at least ten volumes of their own writings; while many have reached twice, and some thrice the number. More than one third of the printed works in this department contain sermons. The eloquence of the pulpit acquired a high degree of cultivation; and besides the two Utraquist preachers mentioned above, many other names were celebrated among them. In respect to erudition, however, the Brethren occupied decidedly the first rank. In religious hymns all sects were equally productive; and there are, as we have mentioned already, not a few among them of a high excellence. To the names of spiritual poets alluded to in the preceding paragraphs, we may here add the following: T. Sobeslawsky Reshatko, Gryllus, Herstein of Radowesic, Horsky, Mart. Pisecky, Taborsky, Sylvanus a Slovak by birth and called by way of eminence Poeta Bohemicus, Chmelowecz, Mart. Philomusa, Karlsberg, Hanush; and more especially Lomnicky, poeta laureatus, who is regarded as the first Bohemian poet of that age.

These names comprise also nearly all we have to say of the state of Bohemian poetry in general. Not that some of them did not occasionally desert the sacred muse, and compose specimens of secular poetry; for some of Lomnicky's larger and most celebrated works belong to this class, as may be seen by the titles; e.g. 'The arrows of Cupid,' 'The golden Bag,' etc.[34]

But every thing of real poetical value is of a religious character; and bears too much the stamp of its age, to be relished at the present day. The secular poets of the time wrote, with a few exceptions, in Latin.

Among the historians of merit we may name the following writers of Bohemian history: Hagek of Liboczan, Kuthen, Procopius Lupacz, Paprocky a Pole who however wrote some of his works in the Bohemian language, Racownicky, and the above-mentioned Weleslawin and Bilegowsky. In respect to universal history, or that of other lands, we find the names of Placel, Sixt von Ottersdorf, Konstantinovicz, Kocin, and others. This period is equally rich in valuable books of travels. Count Wratislaw of Mitrowicz, ob. 1635, described his interesting embassy from Vienna to Constantinople; C. Harant, a courtier and statesman, published his travels in Egypt and Palestine; Prefat of Wlkanow likewise gave a description of his journey from Prague to Palestine; Charles of Zherotin, the son of the munificent patron of the United Brethren, and like him their protector and friend, left letters and a description of his travels.

As lawyers, orators, and political writers, the following names may be adduced: Baron Kocin of Kocinet, whom we have had occasion to mention repeatedly; the counts Sternberg, Wratislaw of Mitrowicz, and Slawata; the latter known as one of the persons thrown from a lofty window of the castle by the violence of count Thurn—one of the introductory scenes of the thirty years' war; Baron Budowecz of Budow, equally excellent as a Christian and a statesman, the protector and public defender of the Bohemian Brethren, and faithful to his religious conviction until his last breath; Christopher Harant, another nobleman of great merit, whom we have mentioned above as a traveller in the East. Both these last were executed in 1621. Writers of merit in the department of jurisprudence, were also the counsellors Ulric of Prostiborz under Ferdinand I, Wolf of Wresowicz, the chancellor Koldin, and others. But on topics like these, by far the greater number wrote only in Latin; and these of course we do not mention here.

Writers on the medical and natural sciences we cannot well separate; since, in most cases, the same individuals distinguished themselves in the departments of medicine, astronomy, and mathematics. The following, along with many others, are named with distinction: Th. Hagek, body physician of the emperors Maximilian and Rudolph, and a celebrated astronomer; Zhelotyn, author of medical and mathematical works; Zaluzhansky, physician and naturalist, who anticipated Linnaeus in his doctrine of the sexual distinction and impregnation of plants; P. Codicillus, historian, philosopher, theologian, and astronomer, who wrote on all these different subjects; Huber von Reisenbach, a physician and rector of the university of Prague; Shud, a celebrated astronomer; and many more.[35]

The number of books printed during this period cannot well be ascertained; since by far the greater number were burned, or otherwise destroyed, in the dreadful catastrophe which signalized its close. Prague alone had eighteen printing offices; and fourteen more existed in other places in Bohemia and Moravia. Besides these, many Bohemian books were printed at Venice, Nuernberg, Wittenberg, and some in Holland and Poland.

In 1617, the emperor Matthias succeeded in obtaining the crown of Bohemia for his nephew Ferdinand, archduke of Austria. This was the signal for the Romanists, in spite of the Literae Imperatoriae of the emperor Rudolph, to make new attempts for the suppression of the Protestants. The Estates belonging to this denomination brought their complaint before the emperor, who gave them no redress; and thus the spark was kindled into flames, which for thirty years continued to rage throughout all Germany. At the death of Matthias in 1619, the Bohemians refused to receive Ferdinand II as their king; and elected the Protestant palatine Frederic V, a generous prince, but incapable of affording them support. The battle at the White Mountain, near Prague, in 1620, decided the destiny of Bohemia. Twenty-seven of the leaders of the insurrection were publicly executed; sixteen were exiled or condemned to prison for life; their property, as also the possessions of seven hundred and twenty-eight noblemen and knights, who had voluntarily acknowledged themselves to have taken part in the insurrection, and of twenty-nine others who had fled, was wholly confiscated; and thus the amount of fifty-three millions of rix dollars transferred from Protestant to Romish hands. The Literce Imperatorice were annulled; the Protestant religion in Bohemia abolished; and that kingdom declared a purely catholic hereditary monarchy. All non-catholic preachers were banished; thirty thousand families, who preferred exile to a change of their religion, emigrated. Among them 185 were noble families; the others artists, mechanics, merchants, and labourers. Yet in the villages, among the woods and mountains, where neither soldier nor Jesuit had penetrated, and there alone, many Protestants remained, buried in a fortunate obscurity. From the time of this catastrophe, the Bohemian language has never again been used in public business. The thirty years' war completed the devastation of this unfortunate country. In 1617, Bohemia had 732 cities and 34,700 villages; when Ferdinand II died in 1637, there remained 130 cities and 6000 villages; and its three millions of inhabitants were reduced to 780,000.


From the battle at the White Mountain, A.D. 1620, to the Revival of Literature in A.D. 1774-80.

Of this melancholy period we have but little to say. A dull pressure lay upon the nation; it was as if the heavy strokes inflicted on them had paralyzed their very limbs. Innumerable monks came to Bohemia from Italy, Spain, and the south of Germany, who condemned and sacrificed to the flames every Bohemian book as necessarily heretical. There were individuals who boasted having burned with their own hands 60,000 literary works. They broke into private houses, and took away whatever Bohemian books they could find. Those which they did not burn, were deposited in separate chambers in the convents, provided with iron grates, bolts, and chains, drawn before the door, on which was written. The Hell. They distributed pamphlets respecting hell and purgatory, the reading of which produced derangement of mind in many weak persons; until, at last, the government was wise enough to lay a severe prohibition upon these measures. The Bohemian emigrants indeed continued to have their religious books printed in their foreign homes; but they wrote comparatively few new works. These however they contrived to introduce into Bohemia, where they were answered by the Jesuits and Capuchins in thick folio volumes, written in a language hardly intelligible. There were however some honourable exceptions among these fathers; some persons, who, independent of religious prejudices; continued to labour for the benefit of a beloved mother tongue. The Jesuits Konstanz, Steyer, and Drachovsky, wrote grammatical works, and the two first attempted to translate the Bible anew. Plachy, ob. 1650, Libertin, and Taborsky, were distinguished preachers; Peshina, ob. 1680, Hammerschmidt, ob. 1731, and Beckowsky, ob. 1725, wrote meritorious historical works; Rosa, ob. 1689, composed another grammar and a dictionary. Others wrote in Latin; and among these must be named the Jesuit Balbin, ob. 1688, who prepared several historical and bibliographical works of importance, part of which, however, were not published until long after his death.[36]

We turn once more to the unfortunate emigrants, and in the midst of the distress, privations, and sacrifices, which were the natural accompaniments of their exiled condition, we rejoice to meet with a name, which owes its splendour not alone to the general poverty of the period; but which outshines even the most distinguished of the former age, and is indeed the only one in the literary history of Bohemia, which has acquired a European fame. This is Comenius, the last bishop of the Bohemian Brethren. Although he belongs partly to the former period, and, in respect to his style, decidedly to the golden age of the Bohemian. literature, the time of his principal activity falls within this melancholy interval. A few words may be devoted to the life of this remarkable individual. He was born A.D. 1592, in the village of Komna in Moravia. His baptismal names were John Amos; his father had probably no family name, as was frequently the case at that time among the lower classes throughout all Europe. According to the custom of the time, he was called Komnensky from his native place, the Latin form of which is Comnenius, or more commonly Comenius. His parents, who belonged to the community of the Brethren, sent him to school at Herborn. He distinguished himself so much as to be made rector at Prerow, when only twenty-two years old; and two years later was transferred to Fulnck. In 1618 this latter city was plundered by the Spaniards, and Comenius lost all his books and other property. When the great persecution of the Protestants broke out, he fled to Poland. Here he found many of his countrymen, of the sect of the Brethren, whom the persecutions of the former century had already driven hither, and who had here gathered themselves into communities essentially of the same constitution; although in some measure they were amalgamated with the dissenters in Poland. In 1632 they elected him their bishop. In 1631 he published his Janua linguarum reserrata, a work which spread his fame over all the world, and which was translated into twelve European languages, and also into Persian, Arabic, and Mongolian. His object in this work was to point out a new method of teaching languages, by which they were to be used as keys for acquiring other useful knowledge. In 1641 he was invited to England to prepare a new arrangement of the schools; but the civil war having prevented the execution of this project, he went from England to Sweden, whither the chancellor Oxenstiern had invited him for a similar purpose. After protracted journeys through half Europe, he returned to Lissa, the principal seat of his activity. In 1659 be published his Orbis pictus, the first picture-book for children which ever appeared, and which acquired the same reputation as the work above-mentioned. The war and the destruction of Lissa compelled him some years later to leave Poland; he sought another asylum in Germany, and settled at length at Amsterdam, where be died in 1671, occupied with literary pursuits until his last hour. According to Adelung, he wrote not less than ninety-two works, of which only fifty-four have come down to us; and among these, twenty are in the Bohemian language. His style has a classical perfection; the contents of his works are manifold, and have mostly lost their interest for the present age.[37] In the last years of his life Comenius is said to have devoted himself to a mystical interpretation of the prophetic Scriptures; he discovered in the Revelation of St. John the state of Europe, as it then was; awaited the millennium in the year 1672; and believed in the far-famed Bourignon, as an inspired prophetess.

A few names only among the emigrants require to be mentioned as writers, after Comenius. They may find their place here: Paul Stransky, who was exiled in 1626 and found an asylum as professor at Thorn, wrote a history of Bohemia in Latin in 1643, which was translated and accompanied with supplements and corrections by Cornova, in 1792. Elsner, pastor of the Bohemian Brethren at Berlin, and Kleich at Zittau, printed works for religious instruction and devotional exercises for Protestants.

The greater part of what was written during this period proceeded from the Slovaks in Hungary, a nation related to the Bohemians in race and language, who after the Reformation had adopted the Bohemian dialect as their literary language.[38] Although also constantly struggling against oppression and persecution, the Protestants in Hungary were not formally annihilated, as in Bohemia; but belonged rather to the tolerated sects, so called. A certain degree of activity in behalf of their brethren in faith was consequently allowed to them; especially later under Maria Theresa. We meet among them, with hardly any other than theological productions, or works for religious edification.

The two pastors Krman and Bel, who both died towards the middle of the eighteenth century, men of no inconsiderable merit as Christians and as scholars, prepared a new edition of the Bohemian Bible, and also translated several works of Luther, Arndt, etc. Ambrosius, their cotemporary, wrote a commentary on Luther's catechism, and several other useful religious works. G. Bahyl published an introduction to the Bible, a history of the symbolical books, and assisted Comenius in his Orbus pictus. Matthias Bahyl became the object of a cruel persecution, on account of a translation of Meissner's Consultatio orthod. de fide Lutherana. Numerous religious hymns were written in Bohemian by Hrusbkowic, the two Blasius, Glosius, Augustini, and others. Michalides translated the Summarium biblicum of the theologians of Wittenberg; and another Protestant minister, Dolezhal, wrote in 1746 a Bohemian grammar. But their books, with a few exceptions, were little read beyond the frontiers of Hungary; and had consequently little or no influence on the Bohemians. The works written in the Slovakian dialect do not belong here.


Revival of Bohemian Literature, from A.D. 1774-80 to the present time.

In A.D. 1774, the marshal count Kinsky published a work on the advantages and necessity of a knowledge of the Bohemian language. At that time so great was the neglect of the mother tongue, that even for a work of so patriotic a nature, he had to employ a foreign language in order to be understood! One year later appeared an apology for the vernacular tongue of the country, written a hundred years before by the Jesuit Balbin in Latin,[39] and edited by Pelzel. These two writings created a deep sensation; and even the government would seem to have taken notice of them. We find, at least, that in the same year teachers of the Bohemian language were appointed in the university of Vienna and in two other institutions in that city. At the same time, the royal normal school at Prague began to print several Bohemian books for instruction. When the tolerant views and principles by which Joseph II was actuated, became known, more than a hundred thousand concealed Protestants immediately appeared; their hidden books were brought to light again; and many works, of which only single copies existed, were reprinted. In 1781 the severe edict of Ferdinand II was repealed, and a censorship established upon more reasonable principles. In 1786, the Bohemian language had gained friends enough to induce the government to institute a Bohemian theatre; which, with a short interruption during the present century, has ever since existed. The unfortunate system of general centralization adopted by Joseph II, was on the whole not favourable to the cultivation of any but the German language; but during the reign of his two successors, the Bohemian received more encouragement. In 1793 a professorship for the language and literature of the country was founded in the university of Prague; the use of that language in all the schools was ordained by several decrees of the government; and by a law of A.D. 1818, a knowledge of it was made a necessary qualification for holding any office.

In the very outset of this revival of Bohemian literature, there appeared so great a multitude of writers; such habits of diligence and productiveness were immediately manifested throughout the whole nation; and such a mass of respectable talent was brought to light; that the long interval of a dull and deathlike silence, which preceded this period, presents indeed an enigma difficult to be solved. No small influence may be ascribed to Germany. The principles of the government were changed; the country, physically as well as morally exhausted, could recover but gradually; but all this could not create talents where there were none; nor could all external oppression and unfavourable conjunctures destroy the germs of real talent, if they had been there. The list of modern Bohemian writers of merit is very extensive; but we must be satisfied with bringing forward the most distinguished of them, and refer the reader to works less limited than these pages, where he may find more complete information.

Among those whose desert is the greatest in respect to the revival of Bohemian literature, Kramerius, born 1753, ob. 1808, must be named first. He was one of those indefatigable and creative minds, which never sleep, never lose a moment, and by a restless activity and happy ingenuity know how to render the difficult easy,—the apparently impossible, practicable. From the year 1785, he was editor of the first Bohemian newspaper; from 1788, of the annual called the Toleranz Kalender, or Almanac of Toleration; and published besides this more than fifty works, written by himself and others, but accompanied with notes or commentaries of his own. None of his productions surpassed mediocrity; but according to the best judges, they were well and perspicuously written; they became popular and exerted a very favourable influence.

As literary historians, Slavic philologians and antiquaries, Pelzcl, Prochazka, Durich, Puchmayer, Negedly, Jungmann, Tomsa, Hanka, and above all Dobrovsky, must be distinguished. One of the principal merits of most of these scholars consists in their preparing for the press and editing valuable old manuscripts; or in the judicious commentaries which they added to new editions of ancient works already printed. Pelzel we have named above as the editor of the writings of the Jesuit Balbin. Most of his works are in German, but some also in Bohemian. In 1804 Prochazka and Durich translated the Bible for Roman Catholics; the former had already translated the New Testament in 1786. His principal labours besides this were in the department of history. Durich wrote in Latin; but his researches were nevertheless devoted to the Bohemian language and history. Tomsa and Negedly have written Bohemian grammars, and several other Slavic-philological works and essays.[40] Puchmayer published a large collection of poetry,[41] consisting partly of his own productions, a token of the reviving poetical genius of the nation, which had slept for centuries; while his elaborate Russian grammar is also a valuable contribution to Slavic literature in general.

Joseph Jungmann, besides a translation of Chauteaubriand's Atala and of Milton's Paradise Lost, which Bowring calls "the most admirable among the many admirable versions of that renowned and glorious heroic," [42] has written many important essays scattered in periodicals; and also published in 1820 a Bohemian chrestomathy, in 1825 a history of Bohemian literature, and in 1830-31 a complete dictionary of that language.

W. Hanka. librarian at Prague, has made himself particularly known by critical editions of valuable writings out of the golden age of Bohemian literature. In 1817 he was so fortunate as to discover a manuscript of high importance, as well in a philological respect, as for its intrinsic poetical value; which he published in 1819 with a modern Bohemian translation, and also a German translation by Swoboda.[43] He has written several works, and also essays in periodicals, of a bibliographical and antiquarian character.

Joseph Dobrovsky, born 1753 in Hungary, but of Bohemian parents, ob. 1829, is called the patriarch of modern Slavic literature, and was one of the profoundest scholars of the age. His merits in regard to Slavic philology and history are so generally acknowledged, and we have so often had occasion to cite his name in these pages, and to refer the reader to his authority, that without attempting to present a critical view of one, or an analysis of another of his works, we are contented to give in a note the title of his principal works. We are the more willing to adopt this course, because the most of his works form in a certain measure one great whole, and mutually supply each other; and because too, the author having in part first explored unknown regions, and having of course sometimes found it necessary to retract hypotheses started in his earlier writings, his works cannot well be separated. He wrote mostly in German; sometimes in Latin; while comparatively very few of his numerous books are in the Bohemian language. In this way only could they gain that kind of universality, which the subject required; and which has so much contributed to promote the cause of Slavic literature in general.[44]

There were also some scholars among the Slovaks, who aided the same cause with diligence and talent. Leska, ob. 1818, published from 1785 onward the first Slovakian newspaper, and was a diligent and judicious compiler in respect to Slavic lexicography. Palkowicz published a Bohemian dictionary, and prepared in 1808 a more correct edition of the Bible. Plachy, besides many volumes of prose and poetry, published a valuable periodical; Schramko wrote some philological works; Schaffarik and Kollar, of whom more will be said in the sequel, were also Slovaks.

After the collection of poetry by Puchmayer above alluded to, several others of a miscellaneous kind appeared; poetry having been hitherto limited almost exclusively to religious purposes. Kamaryt, Palacky, Chmelensky, Zdirad Polak, Czelakowsky, Snaidr, Hnewkowsky, Turinsky, Stulcz,[45] Jablonsky, Tupi, Sabin, are favourably known as poets. A. Marek has translated several dramas of Shakspeare; Machaczek several from Goethe; Kliczpera, Stepanek, and Sychra, are esteemed dramatic writers. Among the Slovaks, Holli translated the Latin and Greek elegiac poets; Roshnay, Anaereon.

As historical writers Tomek and Jordan must be honourably mentioned. An excellent work on Bohemian Antiquities, written in German by J.E. Wocel, ought also to be noticed.[46]

In the department of natural science are to be mentioned, Presl, count Berchtold, Strnad, Sedlaczek, Wydra, Smetana, etc. Others, Bohemians by birth, have written in German, e.g. Haenke, Sieber, etc. etc. Count Buquoy also is of Bohemian origin.—Writers of merit on moral and religious subjects are, Rautenkranz, Zahradnik, Parizek, and others. The Slovak Bartholomaeides, a distinguished scholar, has written several useful works on various topics.—Periodicals full of learned researches and variety of interest were edited, Dobraslaw by Hromadko and Ziegler, Krok by Presl, etc. Modern journals of a more general tendency are Wlastimil (the Patriot), Dennica, etc. Among the highest nobility the national language found powerful patrons; and in the establishment of a national Museum, a Bohemian Academy of Sciences, and similar patriotic institutions, the national literature received great encouragement. One of the principal objects of this institution was to publish old works and to patronize new ones. Its first publication was an old treatise on Bohemian law.[47] The names of the counts K. Sternberg and Kolowrath-Liebsteinsky must be mentioned here; to which, in our days, may be added those of the counts J.M. and Leo Thun.

The leading poet of the present day in the Bohemian language is J. Kollar, born 1793 at Thurocz in Hungary. In 1821 he published a volume of poems; and some years later a larger beautiful poem in two cantos, called Slawy dzery, the Daughter of Glory, by which he meant Slavina, or the Slavic nations personified; for Slava means glory. With talents of the first order, and at the same time purely national, he imitates Petrarch in some measure; making his nation his Laura, praising her beauty, and prophesying her ultimate triumph.[48]

The patriotic zeal which in our days has instigated the Slavic scholars to follow out the traces of their language and history into the remotest past, in order to clear up more satisfactorily the origin and primitive connection between the different members of the great Slavic family, and their relative position to the Germans, has nowhere been exhibited in a more energetic and disinterested way than in Bohemia. The idea of Panslavism was here first worked out systematically.[49] If we are not entirely mistaken, it was the same Kollar, the Czekho-Slovakian poet, who first conceived, or at least expressed, that idea. In a Slavic periodical, published in Hungary, entitled Hronka, he came out with an address to his Slavic brethren, which he himself translated into German. He urged the Slavi to drop their numerous intellectual family feuds; to consider themselves as one great nation; their mutual languages essentially as one; their respective interests as one. He prophesied power and predominance to the Slavi united as a whole. The idea was seized with eagerness; especially by the Bohemian scholars, in whom a certain irritation against the Germans, the oppressors of their nation for centuries, was far from being unnatural. At the head of this movement, so far as it respects philological investigations, was P.J. Schaffarik; in respect to historical researches, Fr. Palacky; the first a Slovak, the second a Moravian by birth; and both of them highly esteemed as scholars of great learning, uncommon acuteness, and indefatigable research; but both also, from a very laudable national partiality, inclined to favour those results of their researches, which should serve to support their own patriotic or Panslavic views. It will therefore not be found surprising, that they should have met with a strong, nay passionate opposition.

Schaffarik, whose valuable work on the Slavic languages and their history we have chiefly consulted in our present sketch, (not however without due regard to his own altered and corrected views, as given to the public in his later works,) was born in 1795 at Kbeljarowo in Northern Hungary. He received a German education; and, following the example of other leading Slavic scholars, like Dobrovsky and Kopitar, notwithstanding his partiality for all that is Slavic, he wrote most of his earlier works in German. His "History of the Slavic Language and Literature," although a production of his youth, and written before the full maturity of the author's views, has perhaps contributed more than any other work to a knowledge of the Slavic literature in general, and of the classification and mutual relation of the Slavic languages. After further researches, he prepared a "History of the Southern Slavi;" which however, so far as we are informed, has never been printed. Instead of it he published a work on "Slavic Antiquities" in the Bohemian language. It was patriotism which induced him not only to choose this language in preference to the German, and thus give up a far greater field of influence; but he also declined a well endowed Slavic professorship in the university of Berlin, from the same generous and patriotic motive, and settled in Prague. Here he undertook the editorship of a periodical founded by Palacky; and operated in connection with him and other Slavic scholars for the promotion of Slavic, and principally Bohemian, literature. For this end a society was founded among the Bohemian and Slovakian scholars and gentry, called the Stalci, the Constant. They bound themselves to buy every respectable book, which should be printed in the Bohemian language. In 1842 Schaffarik published a "Slavic Ethnography," a small introductory work, but founded on extensive studies. Of this he himself prepared a German translation.[50]

The faithful fellow-labourer of Schaffarik is Francis Palacky, a scholar of great diligence and research, a few years younger in age; who however seems to have adopted an opposite course, in so far as his early works were written in Bohemian, while his later and principal ones are in German. In 1829 he was appointed Historiographer of Bohemia by the Estates; but he was too warm a Bohemian to hope for the confirmation of the Austrian government under the emperor Francis, and it was not obtained until under his successor. By means of the "Journal of the Bohemian National Museum," of which he was the founder and editor, he had early gained a leading voice in all that concerned the revival of Bohemian literature; and, in that capacity, had to fight his way through a series of literary struggles and combats, sometimes conducted with personal vehemence and bitterness. He had the satisfaction, however, of finally coming off as victor in the more essential points. His most important work is his History of Bohemia; of which two volumes were published in the German language in 1836. A Bohemian edition, with additions and a historiographical introduction, appeared in 1848.

The spirit which pervades this great work makes the author to a certain extent the representative of his nation. One of the objects of the work is to point out the primitive relations of Slavism on the one hand, and of Germanism, the heir of Romanism, on the other; their contrasts and necessary conflicts; the Germans, warlike, conquering, oppressing all their neighbours, and bearing the germs of privileged castes in their earliest institutions; the Slavi, peaceful, industrious, living in patriarchal communities, and in their fundamental elements purely democratic. Hence, the author says, the principal idea and fundamental feature of Bohemian history is the uninterrupted clashing and struggle of Slavism and Germanism; and in another place he remarks, that "the history of Bohemia consists chiefly in the combat with Germanism; or in the alternate reception and rejection by the Czekhes of German manners and institutions." [51]

Our own days have witnessed the enthusiasm with which the thought of a total separation between Slavism and Germanism was received, when the events of the month of March 1848 seemed to open an unexpected prospect of realizing a long cherished idea. A great congress of all the Slavic nations was convoked at Prague. But at that very moment, at the gathering together of so many members of that wide-spread family, it became strikingly apparent that they were a family of nations; but could never again become, what for thousands of years they had not been, one nation. In order to be understood, several of their deputies had to speak in German; and even for the journal founded as the great central organ of Slavism, the German language had to be employed.

The patriotic efforts made to prevent the Bohemian language from gradually yielding to the German, are honourable and laudable; but whether they will have any ultimate result seems to be quite doubtful. The times indeed are somewhat changed, since Jungmann called the present literature of Bohemia "the produce of a few enthusiasts, who, exposing themselves to the hatred of their enemies and the ingratitude of their countrymen, have devoted themselves to the resuscitation of a language, neither living nor dead." Twenty-five years have brought on a great revolution; and those enthusiasts are no longer "a few." But they have still a hard combat to fight. It may be doubtful whether their strength will hold out to struggle against the torrent of time; which, in its resistless course, overwhelms the nations, and only throws their vestiges in scattered fragments on the banks, as feeble memorials to show to an inquiring posterity that they once existed.[52]



The northwestern part of Hungary is inhabited by the Slovaks, a Slavic nation, who appear to be the direct descendants of the original Slavic settlers in Europe. Numerous colonists of the same race are scattered all over the other parts of that country. The Byzantine historians, and, somewhat later, the Russian annalist Nestor, speak of the region on the north of the Danube as being the primitive seat of the Slavi. In early times the Sarmatae limigantes or Jazyges metanastae, nomadic tribes between the Danube and the Theiss, whose name indicates incontestably their having been Slavi,[53] are mentioned as having troubled the Byzantine empire. But they soon disappeared entirely from history, and it is not before the ninth century, when they were already Christians, that we meet them again. At that time Slovakia, in Slavic Slovansko, viz. the regions adjacent to the two rivers Waag and Gran, reappears as an ingredient part of the ephemeral kingdom of great Moravia. The rest of Pannonia was inhabited by other Slavic tribes, by Bulgarians, Rumelians and Khazares. In A.D. 894, the Magyars conquered Pannonia, drove back the Slovaks into the mountains, and made them tributary; whilst they themselves settled on the plains. But although the Slovaks appear to have submitted to their fate, and to have thenceforth lived on good terms with their conquerors, it cannot unconditionally be said that the two nations were merged in each other; since, even after nearly a thousand years have passed, they still speak different languages. The Magyars learned the arts of peace from the Slavi; who, besides being already Christians, had built many cities, and were mechanics, traders, agriculturists. All words and terms relating to these occupations, the Magyars had to obtain from them. The Slovaks on their side lost their national existence in that of their Asiatic conquerors, entered into their ranks as soldiers, and participated thence-forward in all their fortunes; but the influence of the Magyars on their language could be only inconsiderable, since the circle of new ideas which the Slovaks had to receive in exchange from them, barbarians as they were, could be only very limited. The language however is the only remnant of their national existence which the Slovaks have preserved; in every other respect they belong to the Hungarian nation, of which they form an ingredient part, as the Magyars form another; and on the glory of whose valiant deeds they have an equal claim.

Hungary, traversed by two large rivers, the Danube and the Theiss, is divided into four great districts, usually called this side the Danube and beyond the Danube, this side the Theiss and beyond the Theiss. The district this side the Theiss is the principal seat of the Slovaks. The counties Trencsin, Thurocz, Arva, Liptau, and Sohl, are entirely inhabited by them, amounting to about 550,000 in number. In the other counties of the same district they live more mingled with Russniaks and Magyars; and, together with the numerous Slovakish settlements which are scattered over all Hungary, are computed in all at about 1,800,000. About 1,300,000 of them are Roman Catholics, and the remaining 500,000 Protestants.

The Slovakish language, exposed through the geographical situation of the nation, to the influence of various other Slavic idioms—as the Polish, Bohemian, Malo-Russian, Servian, and Vindish—is more broken up into different dialects than perhaps any living tongue. In its original elements it is very nearly related to the Old Slavic language;[54] a fact which is easy to be explained, when we consider that the development of this language must have been the result of the primitive cultivation of the Slavi; and that the region about the Carpathian mountains, the seat of the ancient as well as of the present Slovaks, was the cradle of all the Slavic nations which are now spread over the whole of eastern Europe. Of all living Slavic tongues, the Bohemian is the nearest related to the Slovakish, especially as it appears in the oldest Bohemian writers; a circumstance which induced Dobrovsky at first to consider both languages as essentially the same; or rather to maintain, that the Slovakish was nothing more than Old Bohemian. But after entering more deeply into the subject, he found reason to regard the Slovakish idiom as a separate dialect, which forms the link of connection between the Bohemian and Croatian-Vindish dialects, or between the two principal divisions, the Eastern and Western stems, of the great Slavic family.[55]

To enumerate the features by which the Slovakish dialects are distinguished from the other Slavic languages, would oblige us to enter more into detail than would be acceptable to persons not acquainted with any of them; as we may suppose to be the case with most of our readers. Besides, most of the peculiarities which could be alleged as general characteristics, are contradicted by so many single cases, that all general rules would be in danger of being rendered void by a plurality of exceptions. The only thing which belongs to the Slovaks alone, and is not common to any of the other Slavic tongues, is a variety of diphthongs where all the rest have simple vowels; e.g. kuon, horse, for kon; lieucz, light, for lucz, etc. In the counties situated on the frontiers of Galicia, the Slovakish language participates in many of the peculiarities of the Polish tongue; on the frontier of Moravia, the dialect of the people approaches nearer to the vernacular idiom of that province, and consequently to the Bohemian; which has been adopted as their own literary language. On the Slovaks who live more in the interior of the country, the influence of the Magyars, or of the Transylvanian-Germans, or of the Russniaks, or of the Servians, is more or less prominent, according to their locality. The less exposed to the influence of other races, the purer of course has the proper Slovakian idiom been preserved, But even in its purest state, it has, as we mentioned above, a strong and decided resemblance to the Bohemian tongue; from which it is however distinguished by a more harmonious and pleasing sound; its vowels being fuller and occurring more frequently. But a peculiarity which distinguishes it more materially, is a treasure of words and phrases obsolete or entirely unknown in the present Bohemian language; although they were to be found in the old Bohemian, and are so still, in part, in the Old Slavic, Russian, and Vindish dialects. Schaffarik mentions that G. Rybay, a minister in the county of Bacz, who possessed many valuable manuscripts, had collected 15,000 words for a Slovakish Idioticon, and that it would be easy to enlarge this number.[56]

The Slovakish language has never been a literary language; the first attempt to render it so, with a few trifling exceptions, was made about forty years ago; but the opposition which it met with from the literati who had already adopted the kindred Bohemian tongue for their literary language, together with the political obstacles which it had to encounter from the jealousy of the Magyars, seems to have been too strong to be conquered. Indeed, in consequence of this jealousy of the Magyars, the Slovakish language is so far oppressed, that even in the higher schools of the Slovaks themselves this language is not permitted to constitute a branch of instruction, like the Hungarian and Latin. Schaffarik thinks it probable, that in ancient times the vernacular tongue of the counties inhabited by Slovaks was used in public documents and similar writings; and that such historical monuments must be buried in the libraries and archives of the catholic archbishops, noblemen, and cities.[57] But this subject has never been sufficiently examined. The historical popular songs, which nearly a hundred years ago were familiar to the Slovakian peasants, and some of which appear to have been derived even from the pagan period, have perished, with the exception of a few initial verses.[58]

There is no trace known to be left of the mental existence of this nation of nearly two millions of souls, until the middle of the fifteenth century. At that time a great body of Hussites, who were exiled from Bohemia, broke into Upper Hungary, and, under the conduct of Giskra von Brandeis, were hired by the queen Elizabeth against the rival Polish-Hungarian monarch Vladislaus, afterwards king of Bohemia. The Bohemian soldiers were accompanied by their wives and children, and settled finally in different parts of Hungary, Other Taboritic colonists followed them, and amalgamated gradually with the Slovaks, among whom they principally established themselves. It is probable, that at this time the Slovaks became familiar with the Bohemian as a literary language; which from its kindred genius and its similarity of forms was perfectly intelligible, and must have been highly acceptable to them. When the doctrines of the German Reformers penetrated into Hungary, they found the Slovaks already so well prepared, that those doctrines were at once spread among the people by numerous books written by Slovakian clergymen in the Bohemian language. The Bible and the liturgical books were written and printed in Bohemian; and many Bohemians and Moravians came into Hungary as preachers and teachers. Thus the dominion of the Bohemian language over the pulpit, and, since all the Slovakian writers of this period were clergymen, in the republic of letters also, was established among the Slovaks without struggle. There is nothing known of any catholic Slovakish writers at this period; if there were any, they probably followed the beaten track, and wrote also in Bohemian or in Latin. But the produce of the literary cultivation of the Slovaks during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is at most but small: for the times appear to have been too heavy, and men's minds too much oppressed, for a free development of their powers. The civil wars, the devastations of the Turks, the religious controversies, and after the battle at the White Mountain, religious oppression and persecution, chased the peaceful muses from Pannonia, and put the genius of the people in chains. All the productions of these two centuries, with a few exceptions, are confined to theology, and are mostly sermons, catechisms, devotional exercises, or religious hymns. Schaffarik observes, that from these latter there speaks a melancholy gloomy spirit, crying for divine aid and deliverance.[59] Among the clergymen who during the first half of the eighteenth century exerted themselves for the diffusion of biblical knowledge, were Matth. Bel and D. Krman, who prepared a new edition of the Bible; G. Ambrosius and G. Babyl, authors of theological commentaries, etc. Those Slovakian writers who in any measure distinguished themselves, have been enumerated under their proper heads in our sketch of the Bohemian literature.[60]

The Bohemian dialect, as we have mentioned repeatedly, is perfectly intelligible to the Slovaks. But as it is not to them the language of common conversation, it cannot be familiar to their minds. If, in listening to their preachers in the churches, the people succeed in straining up their minds sufficiently to enable them to follow the course of the sermons and devotional exercises, it still seems rather unnatural, that even their prayer books, destined for private use, should not be written in their vernacular tongue; but that even their addresses to the Most High, which, more than any thing else, should be the free and natural effusions of their inmost feelings, should require such an intellectual exertion and an artificial transposition into a foreign clime. It is a singular fact, that, whilst every where else Protestantism and the friends of the Bible have advocated and attempted to raise the dialect of the people, in opposition to a privileged idiom of the priesthood, among the Slovaks the vindication of the vernacular tongue has been attempted by the Romanists, and has met with strong opposition from the Protestants. In the year 1718, Alex Macsay, a catholic clergyman, published sermons at Tyrnau, written in the common Slovakian dialect. The Jesuits of Tyrnau followed his example, in publishing books of prayers and several other religious works, in a language which is rather a mixture of the dialect of the people and the literary Bohemian language. During the last ten years of the eighteenth century, a more successful attempt was made to elevate the Slovakian dialect spoken on the frontiers of Moravia, and which approaches the Bohemian language most, to the rank of a literary language. At the head of this undertaking were the Roman catholic curates Bajza, Fandli, and Bernolak, especially the last. A society was formed, the members of which bound themselves to buy the books written in Slovakish by Bernolak and his friends. The Romanists proceeded in the work with great zeal and activity, and were patronized by the cardinal Rudnay, primate of Hungary; who himself published some of his orations held in the Slovakian dialect, and caused a voluminous Slovakish dictionary, a posthumous work of Bernolak's, to be printed.[61] A version of the Bible in the same dialect, made by the canon G. Palkowicz, who is also the author of the fourth volume of the above dictionary, was printed in the year 1831.

The Protestant Slovaks, who several centuries ago had already acquired by their own contributions the right of citizens in the Bohemian republic of letters,—especially during the course of the seventeenth century, when most of the native Bohemians had been banished from it,—feared to endanger the cause of literature itself by innovations of this kind. They too united themselves into a society, and founded a professorship of Bohemian-Slovakian literature at the Lyceum of Pressburg, which was occupied by another G. Palkowicz, honorably mentioned in our History of Bohemian literature.[62] The number of Protestant Slovaks being comparatively small, this institution was not sustained longer than ten years. To the names of the principal Slovakish-Bohemian writers during this and the last century, which have been given above,[63] we add here those of Bartholomaeides, Tablicz, Lovich, and Moshotzy, themselves writers of merit, or promoters of literature and science.

Many among the Slovaks, like many of their brethren the Magyars, and among other Slavi the Bohemians and Illyrians, have received a German education, and have that language at command. For the sake of more fame, or a larger field of influence, these mostly prefer to write in German. Among them was Schaffarik; until, from a principle of patriotism, he adopted the Bohemian.[64]


[Footnote 1: More generally contracted into Boehmen.]

[Footnote 2: The country along the banks of the Upper Vistula. According to other writers, Belo-Chrobatia was the name of the country on both sides of the Carpathian chain. In some old chronicles the Czekhes are said to have come from Croatia, which induced more modern historians to suppose them to have emigrated from the present Croatia; others conclude that under this name Chrobatia was understood, as these names were frequently confounded.]

[Footnote 3: In his essay Ueber den Ursprung des Namen Czech, Prague and Vienna, 1782. In his later works he confirms this opinion; see Geschichte der boehmischen Sprache und alten Literatur, Prague, 1818, p. 65.]

[Footnote 4: See above, pp. 6, 30.]

[Footnote 5: In writing Russian and Servian names, we have adapted our orthography to the English rules of pronunciation, so far namely as English letters are able to express sounds partly unknown to all but Slavic nations. The Poles and Bohemians however, who use the same characters as the English, have a right to expect that in writing their national names in the English language, their orthography should be preserved; just as it is in the case of the French, Spaniards, Italians, etc. No English writer would change French or Spanish names according to the English principles of pronunciation. We consequently alter letters only in cases where otherwise a foreigner, unacquainted with the Bohemian language, would find an absolute impossibility of pronouncing them correctly.—In both Polish and Bohemian c is in every case pronounced like ts; hence Janocky must be pronounced Janotsky; Rokycana, Rokytsana; Ctibor, Tstibor, etc. The Bohemian cz is equivalent to the English ch in check; so in their national name, Czekhes. The vowels a, e, i, y, are every where to be pronounced as in father, they, machine, frisky.]

[Footnote 6: See above, pp. 33, 34.]

[Footnote 7: On the fate of the Old Slavic liturgy and language in Bohemia, see Dobrovsky's Geschichte der bohm. Sprache, etc. pp. 46-64.]

[Footnote 8: According to the Pole Soltykowiez, Casimir the Great laid the foundation of the high school of Cracow as early as A.D. 1347; but it is certain, that this institution was not organized before 1400; whilst the papal privilege granted for the University of Prague is dated A.D. 1347, and the imperial charter in A.D. 1348. Jerome of Prague, one of its most celebrated professors, was invited to Cracow in 1409, to assist in the organization of that institution]

[Footnote 9: See above, p. 17]

[Footnote 10: See p. 21.]

[Footnote 11: First communicated in the periodical Krok, Vol. I. Pt. III. p.48-61. Rokawiccki, Hanka, Czelakowsky, and Schaffarik, maintain their authenticity.]

[Footnote 12: This manuscript, which was sent in anonymously at the founding of the Museum in 1818, and which Dobrovsky was at first very much inclined to think a forgery, has since been published (1840) in the first volume of a collection of the most ancient documents of the Bohemian Language, edited by Palacki and Schaffarik.]

[Footnote 13: In a chamber attached to the church of Koeniginhof or Kralodwor. It was published by Hanka in 1819, with a translation in modern Bohemian and in German, under the title Rukopis Kralodworsky, Manuscript of Koeniginhof. According to Dobrovsky, who formed his judgment from the writing, this remarkable manuscript belongs to the interval from about A.D. 1290 to A.D. 1310. By the numbering of the chapters and books into which it is divided, it appears that the collection comprised three volumes; and that the manuscript thus accidentally rescued from oblivion, is only a small part of the third volume. Goethe honoured it with his peculiar attention and applause. Bowring has given some pleasing specimens of it, in his essay on Bohemian literature in the Foreign Quarterly Review, Vol. II. p. 151-153]

[Footnote 14: It was first published by Jeshin, A.D. 1620; later by Prochazka, Prague 1786. The author spurned no means to reach his patriotic object, viz. to inspire his nation with hatred against the Germans. The most absurd fables came through him into the early history of Bohemia. During the late rule of prince Metternich, this work was considered by the censors as too ultra-national, and was put on the list of the forbidden books. It is only quite recently (1849), that Hanka has been allowed to publish a new edition, carefully prepared by himself after the collation of several manuscripts.]

[Footnote 15: The History of Troy was one of the first works which issued from the Bohemian press, about A.D. 1476 according to Dobrovsky; and again A.D. 1488, and 1603. It was published for the fourth and last time by Kramerius in 1790. Even before it was printed, it appears to have been multiplied in a great many copies, as being a favourite book among the Bohemian knights and damsels. Its author was Guido di Colonna. See Dobrovsky's Geschichte der boehm. Sprache, p. 155. Another remarkable production of the fourteenth century is Tkadleczek, the Little Weaver, the manuscript of which is extant in several copies; but it has been printed only in an ancient German translation; see Dobrovsky, ibid. p. 157.]

[Footnote 16: This work was printed in 1542; it was put into the renowned Index librorum prohibitorum first printed in 1629, and the Bohemian part last in 1767; the original author of which was the famous Jesuit Koniash, one of the most violent book-destroyers who ever lived. Not only all books written by the Hussites or their immediate predecessors, but even many catholic writers also of that period were put upon this list; e.g. the historian Hagek, translations of AEneas Sylvius, etc.]

[Footnote 17: Ann, queen of England, sister to king Wenceslaus of Bohemia, possessed a Bible in Latin, German and Bohemian; to which circumstance Wickliffe alluded in one of his writings, quoted by Huss in his reply to Stockes, Tom. I. p.108. See Dobrovsky's Gesch. der boehm. Sprache, p.142.]

[Footnote 18: The Bohemians, like the Germans, adopted the Latin alphabet; but the former, receiving it from the Germans, adopted it in the corrupted form of these latter, viz. they imitated the Gothic letters, so called, in which also all ancient Bohemian books are printed. In modern times the genuine Roman letters have nearly supplanted them; to which several different signs are added to adapt them to the Slavic sounds. The Bohemian alphabet can only be said to have forty-two letters, in so far as the same letter with or without a sign can be considered as two different letters. The English alphabet would be almost without number, if all the three or four modes of pronunciation connected with one and the same letter in that language, were indicated by certain signs, and these signs made three or four letters out of one.]

[Footnote 19: The Bohemian writings of Huss are extant partly in manuscript, partly in single printed pamphlets, but have never been collected. They consist of sermons, hymns, letters to his friends, postillae, and other interpretations of the Scriptures, etc. His complete Latin works were first printed in Wittenberg 1558, and repeatedly afterwards. They contain many pieces which were originally written in Bohemian; as were also the letters which Luther caused to be printed with a preface of his own, Wittenberg 1536. Luther translated several of his hymns. The letters written by Huss from the prison at Constance are the expressions of a pure and elevated mind, and present the best evidence of his spotless Christian character. Some of them might serve as beautiful specimens of the sublime.]

[Footnote 20: These interesting letters, containing all the circumstances of Jerome's last days and death, his eloquent speeches before the Council and a full account of the despicable conduct of his accusers, may be found at large in Shepherd's Life of Poggio Bracciolini.]

[Footnote 21: See Dobrovsky's Geschichte der boehm, Sprache, p. 201.]

[Footnote 22: In a polemic satirical pamphlet the question was started: "Master, tell me what birds are the best, those which eat and drink, or those which eat and do not drink? and why are those which eat but do not drink, enemies to those which eat and drink?" A Latin pamphlet which decided for those which do not drink, was followed by a Bohemian refutation.]

[Footnote 23: This manuscript, one of the most remarkable of the age, is in the library of Jena. It has not less than eighty-eight pictures, partly on paper, partly on parchment; and besides this forty-one smaller figures, scattered through the text itself. See Dobrovsky's Reise nach Schweden, p. 7; also his Geschichte der boehm. Sprache. p. 235.]

[Footnote 24: By whole Bibles are here intended also those manuscripts, of which, although in their present state incomplete, it is presumed that the missing parts were lost accidentally. The New Testaments also are not all of them perfect. Of single biblical books, manuscripts of the Psalms are found the most frequently. See Dobrovsky's Lit. Magazin fuer Boehmen. Reise nach Schweden, p. 57. Geschichte der boehm. Spracke, p. 211.]

[Footnote 25: Vict. Cornelius of Wshehrd composed in 1495 a work in nine books, "On the Statutes, Courts of justice, and Legislature (Landtafel) of Bohemia," which is the most celebrated among several similar works of this period, and was in its time indispensable to the Bohemian lawyer. It has since been published, 1841. The same learned individual translated Cyprian, Chrysostom, etc. See Dobrovsky's Geschicte der boehm, Sprache.]

[Footnote 26: See his Historie literatury Czeske, Prague 1825, p 49, 68. Schaffarik agrees with him. Pelzel presumed that the letter of Huss, of 1459, was printed in some foreign country by a travelling Bohemian.]

[Footnote 27: Other Bohemian Bibles are: Venice 1506, fol. Prague 1527, fol. ib. 1537, fol. Nuernberg 1540, fol. Prague 1549, fol. ib. 1556-57. ib. 1561. fol. the same edition with a new title, ib. 1570, fol. Kralicz 1579-98, 6 vols. sm. fol. prepared by the United Brethren, the first from the original languages. Without place 1596, 8vo. by the same. Without place 1613, fol. by the same. Prague 1613, fol. for the Utraquists. Prague N. Test. 1677. Old Test. 1712-15, 3 vols. fol. for Roman Catholics. Halle 1722, 8vo. for Protestants. Halle 1745, 8vo. for the same. Halle 1766, 8vo. for the same. Prague 1769-71, 3 vols. fol. for Roman Catholics. Prague 1778-80, 2 vols. 8vo. for the same. Pressburg 1786-87, 8vo for Protestants. Prague 1804, 8vo. for Roman Catholics. Berlin 1807, 8vo. by the Bible Society. Pressburg 1808, 8vo. for Protestants. Berlin 1813, by the Bible Society.]

[Footnote 28: At Venice; see the preceding note. Dobrovsky calls it a splendid edition, and thinks the reason why the Bohemians had it printed at Venice was, that it could not have been executed so well in Bohemia. Gesch. der boehm. Sprache, p. 343.]

[Footnote 29: The Picardites, or Picards, who are also called Adamites, existed as early as 1491, when Zhizhka crushed them, without annihilating them entirely; the Utraquists detested them because they denied the doctrine of transubstantiation, although they agreed with them in their general principles. They were frequently confounded with the Taborites, among whom at last the remnants of them became lost. The Grubenheimer were the remnants of the Waldenses, who fled to Bohemia in the middle of the 14th century; where, under persecution and ridicule, they used to hide themselves in caves and pits, Gruben; hence their name. Under the shield of the Reformation they thought themselves safe; but met only with new oppressors and persecutors. There were numerous other sects, and still more different names of one and the same sect. A sect of the Taborites, for instance, founded by Nicholas Wlasenicky, were alternately called Miculassenci (i.e. Nicolaites, the Bohemian form for Nicholas being Miculass), or Wlasenitzi, from his name; Pecynowshi, from the place of their meetings; and Plachtiwi, i.e. the crying, from their manner. See Dobrovsky's Gesch. der boehm. Sprache, p. 234. It may be the place here to remark, that the Calixlins or Utraquists, although at first decidedly against the infallibility of the pope, nevertheless in forming the compact of Basle, submitted in the main to the doctrine of Rome, with these four conditions; viz. the free distribution of the Bible to the people; the administration of the sacrament in both kinds; reform of the clergy after the pattern of the Apostles; and punishment for "mortal sins" in proportion to their enormity.]

[Footnote 30: His full name was George Hruby Gelenshky. This patriotic and active individual translated and published a whole series of valuable books; among which we mention only Petrarch's Letters, Cicero's Laelius and Paradoxa, several works of Jovian, etc. Nicholas Konacz followed in the same path. He translated the Bohemian History of AEneas Sylvius, two dialogues of Lucian, and wrote, edited, and printed other meritorious and elaborate works.]

[Footnote 31: This venerable man was ten years president or bishop (Zprawce) of the United Brethren; and his whole life appears to have been devoted to religious purposes. He prepared the hymn-book in use among all the congregations of the Brethren; wrote an interpretation of the Apocalypse, 1501; of the Psalms, 1505; a treatise on Hope, 1503; on Oaths, etc. His writings, most of which are replete with erudition, are enumerated in Dobrovsky's Gesch. der boehm. Sprache, pp. 238, 239, 372, 378, 379.]

[Footnote 32: See page 189.]

[Footnote 33: The five last named were banished in 1621.]

[Footnote 34: Simon Lomnicky of Budecz, was court poet; and in addition to the poetical crown, his talents procured him a patent of nobility. He wrote twenty-eight volumes, most of which are printed. For more general information respecting his works, and those of the other writers here mentioned, we must refer our readers to Jungmann's Historie Literatury Czeske, Prague, 1825, and Schaffarik's often cited work.]

[Footnote 35: See the two works named in the preceding note.]

[Footnote 36: Balbin was professor of rhetoric at Prague. His works are of importance for the literary history of Bohemia: Epitome rer. Bohem. Prague 1677. Miscellanea hist rer. Bohem. Prague 1680-88. After his death Unger edited in 1777-80 his Bohemia docta, and Pelzel in 1775 his Dissertatio apologetica pro lingua Slavonica, praecipue Bohemica. See below under the fifth period of Bohemian literature, near the beginning.]

[Footnote 37: One of Comenius's works: Labirynt swieta a rag srdce, i.e. the World's Labyrinth and the Heart's Paradise, reminds us strongly of Bunyan's celebrated Pilgrim's Progress. It was first published at Prague, 1631, in 4to; and after several editions in other places, it was last printed at the same city in 1809, 12mo. His Latin works were printed at Amsterdam in 1657, under the title Opera didactica.]

[Footnote 38: See above p. 154.]

[Footnote 39: See above, p. 197.]

[Footnote 40: J. Negedly translated the Iliad, and also Young's Night Thoughts under the name of Kwileni, Lamentations. He and his brother Adalbert are also favourably known as lyric poets. A series of new translations of the Classics in their original measures has recently been prepared; in which a Bohemian version of the Iliad by J. Wlckowski (Prague 1842), forms the first volume.]

[Footnote 41: In the year 1795; the fifth and last volume appeared in 1804. Bowring has given several specimens of this collection in the For. Quart. Review, Vol. II. p. 145.]

[Footnote 42: For. Quart. Review, Vol. II. p. 167.]

[Footnote 43: The celebrated manuscript of Koeniginhof; see above, pp. 157, 158.]

[Footnote 44: Dobrovsky's principal works are the following: Script. rer. Bohem. (with Pelzel) Prague 1784. Boehm. und Maehr. Literatur, Prague 1779-84. Lit. Magazin fur Boehmen und Maehren, 1786-87. Lit. Nachricten von einer Reise nach Scheweden und Russland, Prague 1796. Geschichte der boehm. Sprache und Lit. Prague 1792; new edition much altered, ib. 1818. Slavin, Prague 1808; new improved edition by W. Hanka, Prague 1834. Slovanka, Prague 1814-15. Lehrgebaeude der boehm. Sprache, Prague 1809, 1819. Etymologican, Prague 1813. Deutsch-boehm. Woerterb. 1802-21. Institutiones Linguae Slav. Vienna 1822. Kyrill und Method, Prague 1823. Also a great number of smaller treatises, essays, reviews, either printed separately or in periodicals.]

[Footnote 45: A collection of poems by this author recently appeared under the title Pownenky no cestach Zivota, od Waclawa Stulce, Prague 1845, which has been translated into German: Errinnerungsblumen auf dem Lebenswege, aus den Neuczechischen, von J. Wenzig, Prague 1846.]

[Footnote 46: Grundzuege der Boehmischen Alterthumskunde, Prague 1845. Jordan's History of Bohemia is also written in German.]

[Footnote 47: Victorina Kornelia ze Wshehrd, Knitry dewatery prawiech o siediech i o dskoch zeme Ceke, Prague 1841, edited by W. Hanka. It is the work mentioned above, p.180, n.25.]

[Footnote 48: For several beautiful specimens of this poet, see Bowring's Essay on Bohemian Literature, in the Foreign Quart. Rev. Vol. II.]

[Footnote 49: See p. 86 above.]

[Footnote 50: Schaffarik's principal works are: A Collection of Bohemian Poems, published at Leutschau 1814; also another of Slovakian Popular Poetry, printed at Pesth 1833. Along with Palacky he published: Ansangsgruende der Boehmischen Dichtkunst, Pressburg 1818. His Geschichte der Slav. Sprache und Literatur appeared at Ofen 1826; and two years later at the same place a work Ueber die Abkunst der Slaven, 1828; also Serbische Lesekoerner, 1833. The title of his great work on Slavic Antiquities is Slovanske Starozitnosti, Prague 1837. A German translation appeared under the title, Schaffarik's Slavische Alterthuemer, aus dem Boehm. von Aehrenfeld, herausgeg. v. Wutke, Leipzig 1844. See a notice of this work in For. Quart. Rev. Vol. XXVI. No. 51.]

[Footnote 51: Palacky's Bohemian works, besides the various productions of his youth, and many valuable articles in the Journal of the Museum both in German and Bohemian, are the following: Aelteste Documente der Boehmischen Sprache, Prague 1840. Literaerische Reise nach Italien in 1837, with Schaffarik, Prague 1838. Geschichte von Boehmen, Th. I. Prague 1836; in Bohemian, Dejing narodu Czeskeho, I. Prague 1848.]

[Footnote 52: For more complete information in respect to Bohemian literature, a knowledge of one of the Slavic idioms or of the German language is absolutely required; we know of nothing written on this subject in the English language, except the article of Bowring already cited. This gives an able survey of the poetical part of the literature, but does not profess to cover the whole ground.—The grammatical and lexical part of the Bohemian literature is uncommonly rich, and exhibits no small mass of talent. We confine ourselves to citing the titles of those written in German or Latin. No helps in English or French for learning the Bohemian language, so far as we know, ever existed.—GRAMMARS. Kurze, Unterweisung beyder Sprachen, teutsch und boemisch, Pilsen 1531, and several later editions. Klatowsky Boemisch-deutche Gespraeche, Prague 1540, and several later editions. B. Optat Anleitung zur boehm. Orthogr. etc, 1533, Prague 1588 and 1643. Beneshowsky Gram. Bohem. Prague 1577. Benedict a Nudhozer Gram. Bohem. Prague 1603. Drachowsky Gramm. Bohem. Olmuetz 1660. Constantin's Lima linguae Bohem. Prague 1667. Principia linguae Bohem. 1670-80; new edition 1783. Jandit Gramm. ling. Bohem. Prague 1704, seven new editions to 1753. Dolezal Gramm. Slavico-bohem. Pressburg 1746. Pohl Boehmische Sprachkunst, Vienna 1756, five editions to 1783. Tham Boehm. Sprachlehre, Prague 1785; also his Boehm. Grammatik, 1798-1804. Pelzel Grandsaetze der boehm. Sprache, Prague 1797-98. Negedly Boehm. Grammatik, Prague 1804, fourth edition 1830. Dobrovsky's Lehrgebdude der boehm. Sprache, Prague 1809, second edition 1819. Koneczny Anleitung zur Erlernung der Boehm. Sprache, Prague 1846.—DICTIONARIES. Of these we mention only such as would aid persons who wish to learn the language so far as to read Bohemian books; referring the reader for an enumeration of the others to Schaffarik's Gesch. p. 301. Weleslawin Sylva quadrilinguis, Prague 1598. Gazophylacium bohem. lat. graec. germ. Prague 1671. Rohn Boehmisch-lat. deutscher Nomenclator, Prague 1764-68. Tham Boehmisch-deutsches National-lexicon Prague 1805-7. Also his Deutsch-boehmisches und Bohmisch-deutsches Taschenwoerterbuch, Prague 1818. Tomsa Boehm. deutsch-lat. Woerterbuch, Prague 1791. Palkowicz Boehmisch-deutsch-lateinisches Woerterbuch, Pressburg 1821. Koneczny Boehmish-Deutsches und Deutsch-Boehm. Taschenwoerterbuch, Prague 1846. The same, Handbuch der Boehmischen Sprache, Prague 1847.]

[Footnote 54: We have seen in the history of the Old Slavic language, that on account of the great similarity of the old Slavic and the Slovakish dialects, both in respect to form and grammatical structure and in the meaning of words, it has been maintained by several philologists, that the language of Cyril's translation of the Bible was in the translator's time the Moravian Slovakian dialect. See above, p. 27.]

[Footnote 55: See above, p. 143.]

[Footnote 56: Geschichte der slavischen Sprache, etc. p. 377. G. Palcowicz, who bought this manuscript, has inserted a large number of Slovakish provincialisms in his Bohemian dictionary.]

[Footnote 57: See the same work, p. 381.]

[Footnote 58: More modern Slovakish popular songs are to be found in Czelakowsky's collection, Slowanske narodni pisne, Prague 1822, 1827; also in Pisnie swietske lidu slowenskeho w Uhrich, Pesth 1823, edited by Schaffarik. The little work Slavische Volkslieder, by Wenzig, Halle 1830, contains sixteen Slovakish songs, mostly taken from Czelakowsky's work, in a German translation. A large collection of Slovakish popular poetry was made in 1834 by the distinguished poet J. Kollar. It is said to contain 2300 pieces.]

[Footnote 53: See Schloezer's edition of Nestor, Vol. II. p. 76, 97. Jazyk signifies in Slavic, lingua, tongue.]

[Footnote 59: See Geschichte der sl. Spr. p. 383.]

[Footnote 60: Pages 199, 205.]

[Footnote 61: The same individual who caused the Dalmatian Bible to be printed; see p. 131 above.]

[Footnote 62: These two individuals of the same baptismal and family names, George Palkowicz, both following the same pursuits, and both not without desert in respect to their countrymen, but nevertheless serving opposite interests according to their different views, must not be confounded. Professor Palkowicz prepared a new edition of the Bohemian Bible for the Slovaks; see p. 205 above. Canon Palkowicz translated the Scriptures into the Slovakian dialect. Professor P. published a Bohemian dictionary, see pp. 205, 212; Canon P. the fourth volume of Bernolak's Slovakian lexicon, as said in the text above.]

[Footnote 63: See pp. 199, 205.]

[Footnote 64: There does not yet exist a philological work, from which a complete knowledge of the Slovakian language, in its different dialects, could be obtained. The following works of Bernolak regard chiefly the Slovakish-Moravian dialect: Grammatica Slavica, Posonii 1790. Dissertatio de literis Slavorum, Posonii 1783. Etymologia vocum Slavicarum, Tyrnau 1791. Lexicon Slav. Lot. Germ. Hung. Buda 1825.]



The regions of the Baltic and Lower Vistula, after the Goths and Vandals had finally left them, were occupied, towards the fourth century, by the Lettonians and Lithuanians, who are according to some historians Slavic, and according to others Finnic-Scythic tribes.[1] It appears, that the various nations which inhabited this country were by the ancients comprised under the name of Sarmatae. In the sixth, or according to others, in the seventh century, the Lekhes, a people kindred to the Czekhes, and coming like them from the Carpathian regions, whence they were urged forwards by the Bulgarians, settled on the banks of the Vistula and Varta. Lekh (Ljakh) signified in old Bohemian a free and noble man, and had this meaning still in the fourteenth century.[2] The Lekhes were divided into several tribes, of which, according to Nestor, at first only those who settled on the vast plains, polie, of the Ukraine, were called Polyane, Poles, i.e. inhabitants of the plain. The tribes which occupied Masovia were called Masovshane; the Lekhes who went to Pomerania, Pomoriane, etc. The specific name of Poles, as applied to all the Lekhish tribes together, does not appear until the close of the tenth century, when the generic appellation of Lekhes or Ljakhes had perished. In the year 840, the chiefs of the different tribes united themselves under one common head; at that time they are said to have chosen a husbandman by the name of Pjast for their duke, and the male descendants of this, their first prince, lived and reigned not less than six hundred and thirty years. From Germany and Bohemia Christianity was carried to Poland by Romish priests, probably as early as the ninth century. In the beginning of the tenth, some attempts were made to introduce the Slavic liturgy into Poland. Both species of worship existed for some time peacefully side by side; and even when, through the exertions of the Latin priesthood, the Slavic liturgy was gradually superseded by the occidental rites, the former was at least tolerated; and after the invention of printing, the Polish city of Cracow was the first place where books in the Old Slavic dialect, and portions of the Old Slavic Bible, were printed.[3]

In the year 965, the duke Miecislav married the Bohemian princess Dombrovka, and caused himself to be baptized. From that time onward, all the Polish princes and the greatest part of the nation became Christians. There is however not one among the Slavic nations, in which the influence Christianity must necessarily have exerted on its mental cultivation, is so little visible; while upon its language it exerted none at all. It has ever been and is still a favourite opinion of some Slavic philologists, that several of the Slavic nations must have possessed the art of writing long before their acquaintance with the Latin alphabet, or the invention of the Cyrillic system; and among the arguments by which they maintain this view, there are indeed some too striking to be wholly set aside. But neither from those early times, nor from the four or five centuries after the introduction of Christianity, does there remain any monument whatever of the Polish language; nay, with the exception of a few fragments without value, the most ancient document of that language extant is not older than the sixteenth century. Until that time the Latin idiom reigned exclusively in Poland. The teachers of Christianity in this country were for nearly five centuries foreigners, viz. Germans and Italians. Hence arose that unnatural neglect of the vernacular tongue, of which these were ignorant; the private influence of the German, still visible in the Polish language; and the unlimited dominion of the Latin. Slavic, Polish, and heathenish, were to them synonymous words. Thus, while the light of Christianity everywhere carried the first dawn of life into the night of Slavic antiquity, the early history of Poland affords more than any other part of the Christian world a melancholy proof, how the passions and blindness of men operated to counterbalance that holy influence. But although so unfavourably disposed towards the language, it cannot be said that the influence of the foreign clergy was in other respects injurious to the literary cultivation of the country. Benedictine monks founded in the beginning of the eleventh century the first Polish schools; and numerous convents of their own and other orders presented to the scholar an asylum, both when in the year 1241 the Mongols broke into the country, and also during the civil wars which were caused by the family dissensions of Pjast's successors. Several chronicles in Latin were written by Poles long before the history of the Polish literature begins; and Polish noblemen went to Paris, Bologna, and Prague, to study sciences, for the very elements of which their own language afforded them no means.

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