Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/19

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xix

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

Hebrew while still at the gymnasium. The glowing poesy,
the highly figurative style, the deep religious solemnity,
and the mystic tone of the prophetic books were particu-
larly attractive to him. The Hebrew tongue introduced
him to the Arabic, which language and its literature now
became his favorite pursuit, and would doubtless have
quite absorbed him, had not the claims of the profession
he had chosen required him to devote himself to other
studies.
  His first sermon, an eminently successful effort, was
preached in 1814, when he was still a gynmasiast; and
upon leaving the school at Altona to repair to the univer-
sity at Kiel, he delivered a discourse "on some of the lead-
ing virtues of Luther," which was much commended for the
classic elegance of its Latinity. At the university he pur-
sued his studies with his usual diligence, and returned with
renewed zeal to the cultivation of Arabic literature. "It
is," wrote he enthusiastically to a friend, " one of the no-
blest of tongues. The Arab speaks with the blaze of the
word, as with the lightning of his cimeter, with the dart of
his acuteness as with the arrow of his bow. His poetry
is a wild daughter of the desert. Whosoever has looked
into her flashing eye is hers to death. Thus is it with me.
How dull in comparison are all my other professional
studies! This is their sunny side, and I will never aban-
don it. She hurries me through the thirsty sands of the
wilderness to the cool oases, but her path is a hurricane,
and knows no rest."
  During his university life, Biernatzki occupied himself
much in poetical composition, and seems to have projected
any plans of this nature, few of which were executed,
and fewer still saw the light. Among them was a tragedy,
the subject of which was probably suggested by the his-
tory of his own family, and, as he says in a letter to a