« ZurückWeiter »
ings was thus thrown open to him. The daughter made an impression on him, but the circumstances of the lowers were not favourable to an union, till through the activity and friendship of the burgomasters Heidegger and Hirzel, he was enabled to accomplish his wishes. The question then became, how the married couple were to live? The pen is but a slender dependence any where, and still less in Switzerland. The poet had too much spirit to be dependent on others; and he determined to pursue the arts no longer as an amusement, but as a means of procuring a livelihood. Painting and engraving alternately filled that time which was not occupied with poetry; and in these arts, if he did not arrive at the greatest eminence, he was distinguished by that fimplicity, that elegance, that fingularity, which are the characteristics of his poetry. His wife was not idle; besides the care of his house and the education of his children, for which no one was better qualified, the whole burthen of the shop (for our poet was book seller as well as poet, engraver, and painter) was laid upon her shoulders. In his manners, Gefiner was chearful, lively, and at times playJul; fond of his wife ; fond of his children. He had small pretentions to learning, yet he could read the latin poets in the original; and of the Greek, he preferred the latin translations to the French. In his early years, he led either a solitary life, or confined himself to men of taste and literature: as he grew older, he accustomed himself to gencral conversation ; and in
centre point of the men of the first rank for talents or fortune in Zurich. Here they met twice a week, and formed a conversazione of a kind seldom, if ever, to be met with in great cities, and very rarely in any place ; the politics of England destroy such meetings in London. Gessner with his friends enjoyed that fimplicity of manners which makes society agreeable; and in his rural residence, in the summer, a little way out of town, they brought back the memory almost of the Golden Age. He died of an apoplexy on the
limmot, where it meets the Sihl.