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Sandor Kisfaludy

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KISFALUDY, SANDOR, or ALEXANDER, by general consent the first of the Hungarian poets of his time, was born at Siimeg in the county of Sealed, on the 22nd of September 1772. His full name In the Hungarian order of arrangement is Kisfaludi Kisfaludy Sander or Alexander Kisfaludy of Kisfalud—in Scotland it would be said "of that ilk." Educated first at the high school at Raab, and afterwards at the University of Presburg, he was always amoug the leading pupils or students, but was not distinguished for application to the severer sciences. It was said that the violin was seldom out of his hand till he exchanged it for the sword. At the Diet of Freeburg in 1791, when the Hungarian language, which had been banished from the tribunals by Joseph II., was restored to its rights, he was present as a spectator, and a llama of patriotism appears to have been kindled iu his breast. His father who, in 1786, was left a widower with eight children, wished Alexander to study the law, but the young man's wishes were all for the army. A time of oompuleion and discontent followed, in which Alexander spent his days over Vcrboczy, still the Blackstone of Hungarian jurisprudence,—though when the Turks over ran the country, he turned Turk himself and became eminent as a eadi—and his nights in writing tragedies, of which it is remarkable that the subjects were far from national, one of them being entitled Ulysses and Penelope,' the other, ' The Death of Seneca.' At length the father yielded, and Alexander became in 1793 a cadet in a regiment quartered in Transylvania. In a letter to a friend named Szublics, written at this period on the occasion of his first passing the Hungarian frontier, it is remarkable with what confidence the young officer anticipates his future literary fame and devotes himself to the glory of his country. He was soon afterwards transferred to the regiment of Life Guards at Vienna, that remarkable regiment which, at one period, boasted five or nix officers, all of whom had earned a name in their country's literature. On one occasion when Prince Nicholas Eatorhazy, the colonel, took Lord Spencer and Lord Oran ville over the barrack; the party, much to the Englishmen's surprise, came on Kisfaludy iu deshabille smoking his pipe aud translating Tessa He was at that time engaged in the study of the Italian poets, but had nothing unmilitary about him, and might have passed on the parade-ground, where his tall sod athletic figure set off his splendid uniform, for an officer whose thoughts were all in his pro fession. He had about this time a narrow escape from being involved in an affair of danger. Martioovics, the conspirator [Kamm], who courted his society, had engaged him to attend a party at his house on a certain evening, and in the morning before it Martioovica was arrested on the charge of treason, for which he lost his head. Kisfaludy soon after fell in love with a young Hun

garian lady, the beautiful Rosalie Szogedy, by whom he was nt first looked on with favour, but ere long • misunderstanding arose, and they parted with feelings of mutual estrangement. His regiment was ordered to the wars of Italy at the period when the Austrian armies in that country were destined to a series of defeats from the rising genius of the young Napoleon. Kisfaludy was oue of the garrison of the citadel of Milan, which surrendered to the conqueror in 1797, and he was sent as a prisoner of war to Vaocluse. "In the spring time of my youth," he says in a preface written ia after-life, "I was a prisoner on the very spot where the sweet and melaucholy songs of Petrarch filled the heart with love, among the fiery good-natured French." The thought arose of celebrating his own love to the Roaalia, to whom ho was still attached, in a strain of poetry like that addressed to Laura, and he commenced a series of poem; tor the moat part still briefer even than soouets, as the lines were equally scanty and the feet in each hue were fewer. He went on with his poetical labours when returned, by exchange of prisoners, to the Austrian army and quartered in Wurtemberg, as one of a regiment which did not contain a single Hungarian but himself, where, "far from his country, his nation, and his kin," says one of his biographers, " he lived as an Hungarian only in his poem." Most of it wee written in his solitary walks or on horseback. In the year 1799 ho was engaged in the victorious campaign of the Austrians and Russians agalust the French in Switzerland, and took part io the great battle of Zurich. This was the last of his military experience. In the next year he returned to Hungary; ho succeeded in regaining the affections of his Rosalia, and be left the army a married man to settle ou his estate,' at his birthplace Sfinseg iu 1801. His poem, or collection of poems, was published anoupnously at Buda in 1800, under the title of Ilimfy.' "Never before or since," says Dobrentei, writing in 1839, "did any book excite such a sensation hr Hungary as this." The name of Himfy ' was on every tongue, and it became an object of general ,curiosity to discover the "Great Unknown" who wrote it. In a second edition, which appeared in 1807, the author revealed himself, and ho published at the same time a second part of the poem which bore the name of Boldog Szerelem; or 'Happy Love,' and described the wedded life of Himfy with his Liz', tho poetic name which Kisfaludy assigned to the object of his affection. In the same year the first part of his 'Regek it Magyar Eliialoblil,' or Legends from Hungarian Days of Yore,' made their appearance, and were also warmly received.

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