The Student-Life of Germany Student Life! Burschen Life! What a magic sound have these words for him who has learnt for himself their real meaning! What a swarm of recollections come over him who has once visited that land, however long it may be since he returned homeward to a safer haven! Youth flies on wings of impatience towards this happy time; age, though indeed it may smile over the recollection of many a folly, recalls its memory with delight.
We hear two old men, who in later life recognise each other in civil office, and loaded with honourable duties. They speak of those beautiful dreams of youth with enthusiasm, like two old veterans rejoicing themselves in the recollections of the campaigns in which they have served, and the battles which they have fought together. "To the old times!" cry they, touching their glasses together, filled with noble Rhein wine, and with their joy sorrowfully mingles itself the memory of the many companions of those times, who have already quitted this life; for it is a fine characteristic of the heart of man, that while enjoying the highest happiness of the present, or when joyfully calling to remembrance that once enjoyed, in such moments it feels most painfully the absence of distant friends.
The stranger who should hear the conversation of these old gentlemen; as he saw how they became young again in spirit, and how their forms, bent with years, they raised again erect as they conversed, would gladly linger near them, and would certainly say, "Those must indeed have been delightful times!"
Yes, they were--and they are, for those who know how to enjoy them. Stranger, thou who hast never known this beautiful life; and thou who wouldst willingly experience more of it,--to you hope we to be able to reveal many an attractive feature, and you shall behold many a scene, as we venture to predict, snatched fresh and living from the heart of this existence. Follow us into the City of the Muses--to the strife-place of this passion-driven life; there will we teach thee more nearly to observe the peculiar constitution of this student state, and the habits of its citizens, which thou hast perhaps observed many a time with amazement.