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The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. IV by Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

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Masterpieces of German Literature






* * * * *



The Life of Jean Paul. By Benjamin W. Wells.

Quintus Fixlein's Wedding. Translated by Thomas Carlyle.

Rome. Translated by C. T. Brooks.

The Opening of the Will. Translated by Frances H. King.


Schiller and the Process of His Intellectual Development. Translated
by Frances H. King.

The Early Romantic School. By James Taft Hatfield.


Lectures on Dramatic Art. Translated by John Black.


Introduction to Lucinda. By Calvin Thomas.

Lucinda. Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas.

Aphorisms. Translated by Louis H. Gray.


The Story of Hyacinth and Roseblossom. Translated by Lillie Winter.

Aphorisms. Translated by Frederic H. Hedge.

Hymn to Night. Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas.

Though None Thy Name Should Cherish. Translated by Charles Wharton

To the Virgin. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork.


Hyperion's Song of Fate. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork.

Evening Phantasie. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork.


Puss in Boots. Translated by Lillie Winter.

Fair Eckbert. Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas.

The Elves. Translated by Frederic H. Hedge.


The Life of Heinrich von Kleist. By John S. Nollen.

Michael Kohlhaas. Translated by Frances H. King.

The Prince of Homburg. Translated by Hermann Hagedorn.


Lonely Ride. By Hans Thoma.

Jean Paul. By E. Hader.

Bridal Procession. By Ludwig Richter.

Wilhelm von Humboldt. By Franz Krueger.

The University of Berlin.

A Hermit watering Horses. By Moritz von Schwind.

A Wanderer looks into a Landscape. By Moritz von Schwind.

The Chapel in the Forest. By Moritz von Schwind.

August Wilhelm Schlegel.

Caroline Schlegel.

Friedrich Schlegel. By E. Hader.

The Creation. By Moritz von Schwind.

Novalis. By Eduard Eichens.

The Queen of Night. By Moritz von Schwind.

Friedrich Hoelderlin. By E. Hader.

Ludwig Tieck. By Vogel von Vogelstein.

Puss in Boots. By Moritz von Schwind.

Dance of the Elves. By Moritz von Schwind.

Heinrich von Kleist.

Sarcophagus of Queen Louise in the Mausoleum at Charlottenburg. By
Christian Rauch.

The Royal Castle at Berlin.

Statue of the Great Elector. By Andreas Schlueter.


From this volume on, an attempt will be made to bring out, in the
illustrations, certain broad tendencies of German painting in the
nineteenth century, parallel to the literary development here
represented. There will be few direct illustrations of the subject
matter of the text. Instead, each volume will be dominated, as far as
possible, by a master, or a group of masters, whose works offer an
artistic analogy to the character and spirit of the works of literature
contained in it. Volumes IV and V, for instance, being devoted to German
Romantic literature of the early nineteenth century, will present at the
same time selections from the work of two of the foremost Romantic
painters of Germany: Moritz von Schwind and Ludwig Richter. It is hoped
CENTURIES will shed a not unwelcome side-light upon the development of
modern German art.



* * * * *



Author of _Modern German Literature_.

"The Spring and I came into the world together," Jean Paul liked to
tell his friends when in later days of comfort and fame he looked back
on his early years. He was, in fact, born on the first day (March 21)
and at almost the first hour of the Spring of 1763 at Wunsiedel in the
Fichtelgebirge, the very heart of Germany. The boy was christened
Johann Paul Friedrich Richter. His parents called him Fritz. It was
not till 1793 that, with a thought of Jean Jacques Rousseau, he called
himself Jean Paul.

Place and time are alike significant in his birth. Wunsiedel was a
typical German hill village; the ancestry, as far back as we can trace
it, was typically German, as untouched as Wunsiedel itself, by any
breath of cosmopolitan life. It meant much that the child who was in
later life to interpret most intimately the spirit of the German
people through the days of the French Revolution, of the Napoleonic
tyranny and of the War of Liberation, who was to be a bond between the
old literature and the new, beside, yet independent of, the men of
Weimar, should have such heredity and such environment. Richter's
grandfather had held worthily minor offices in the church, his father
had followed in his churchly steps with especial leaning to music; his
maternal grandfather was a well-to-do clothmaker in the near-by town
of Hof, his mother a long-suffering housewife. It was well that Fritz
brought sunshine with him into the world; for his temperament was his
sole patrimony and for many years his chief dependence. He was the
eldest of seven children. None, save he, passed unscathed through the
privations and trials of the growing household with its accumulating
burdens of debt. For Fritz these trials meant but the tempering of his
wit, the mellowing of his humor, the deepening of his sympathies.

When Fritz was two years old the family moved to Joditz, another
village of the Fichtelgebirge. Of his boyhood here Jean Paul in his
last years set down some mellowed recollections. He tells how his
father, still in his dressing gown, used to take him and his brother
Adam across the Saale to dig potatoes and gather nuts, alternating in
the labor and the play; how his thrifty mother would send him with the
provision bag to her own mother's at Hof, who would give him goodies
that he would share with some little friend. He tells, too, of his
rapture at his first A B C book and its gilded cover, and of his
eagerness at school, until his too-anxious father took him from
contact with the rough peasant boys and tried to educate him himself,
an experience not without value, at least as a warning, to the future
author of _Levana_. But if the Richters were proud, they were very
poor. The boys used to count it a privilege to carry the father's
coffee-cup to him of a Sunday morning, as he sat by the window
meditating his sermon, for then they could carry it back again "and
pick the unmelted remains of sugar-candy from the bottom of it."
Simple pleasures surely, but, as Carlyle says, "there was a bold,
deep, joyful spirit looking through those young eyes, and to such a
spirit the world has nothing poor, but all is rich and full of
loveliness and wonder."

Every book that the boy Fritz could anywise come at was, he tells us,
"a fresh green spring-place," where "rootlets, thirsty for knowledge
pressed and twisted in every direction to seize and absorb." Very
characteristic of the later Jean Paul is one incident of his childhood
which, he says, made him doubt whether he had not been born rather for
philosophy than for imaginative writing. He was witness to the birth
of his own self-consciousness.

[Illustration: JEAN PAUL]

"One forenoon," he writes, "I was standing, a very young child, by
the house door, looking to the left at the wood-pile, when, all at
once, like a lightning flash from heaven, the inner vision arose
before me: I am an _I_. It has remained ever since radiant. At that
moment my _I_ saw itself for the first time and forever."

It is curious to contrast this childhood, in the almost cloistered
seclusion of the Fichtelgebirge, with Goethe's at cosmopolitan
Frankfurt or even with Schiller's at Marbach. Much that came unsought,
even to Schiller, Richter had a struggle to come by; much he could
never get at all. The place of "Frau Aja" in the development of the
child Goethe's fancy was taken at Joditz by the cow-girl. Eagerness to
learn Fritz showed in pathetic fulness, but the most diligent search
has revealed no trace in these years of that creative imagination with
which he was so richly dowered.

When Fritz was thirteen his father received a long-hoped-for promotion
to Schwarzenbach, a market town near Hof, then counting some 1,500
inhabitants. The boy's horizon was thus widened, though the family
fortunes were far from finding the expected relief. Here Fritz first
participated in the Communion and has left a remarkable record of his
emotional experience at "becoming a citizen in the city of God." About
the same time, as was to be expected, came the boy's earliest strong
emotional attachment. Katharina Baerin's first kiss was, for him, "a
unique pearl of a minute, such as never had been and never was to be."
But, as with the Communion, though the memory remained, the feeling
soon passed away.

The father designed Fritz, evidently the most gifted of his sons, for
the church, and after some desultory attempts at instruction in
Schwarzenbach, sent him in 1779 to the high school at Hof. His
entrance examination was brilliant, a last consolation to the father,
who died, worn out with the anxieties of accumulating debt, a few
weeks later. From his fellow pupils the country lad suffered much till
his courage and endurance had compelled respect. His teachers were
conscientious but not competent. In the liberally minded Pastor Vogel
of near-by Rehau, however, he found a kindred spirit and a helpful
friend. In this clergyman's generously opened library the thirsty
student made his first acquaintance with the unorthodox thought of his
time, with Lessing and Lavater, Goethe and even Helvetius. When in
1781 he left Hof for the University of Leipzig the pastor took leave
of the youth with the prophetic words: "You will some time be able to
render me a greater service than I have rendered you. Remember this

Under such stimulating encouragement Richter began to write. Some
little essays, two addresses, and a novel, a happy chance has
preserved. The novel is an echo of Goethe's _Werther_, the essays are
marked by a clear, straightforward style, an absence of sentimentality
or mysticism, and an eagerness for reform that shows the influence of
Lessing. Religion is the dominant interest, but the youth is no longer
orthodox, indeed he is only conditionally Christian.

With such literary baggage, fortified with personal recommendations
and introductions from the Head Master at Hof, with a Certificate of
Maturity and a _testimonium paupertatis_ that might entitle him to
remission of fees and possibly free board, Richter went to Leipzig.
From the academic environment and its opportunities he got much, from
formal instruction little. He continued to be in the main self-taught
and extended his independence in manners and dress perhaps a little
beyond the verge of eccentricity. Meantime matters at home were going
rapidly from bad to worse. His grandfather had died; the inheritance
had been largely consumed in a law-suit. He could not look to his
mother for help and did not look to her for counsel. He suffered from
cold and stretched his credit for rent and food to the breaking point.
But the emptier his stomach the more his head abounded in plans "for
writing books to earn money to buy books." He devised a system of
spelling reform and could submit to his pastor friend at Rehau in 1782
a little sheaf of essays on various aspects of Folly, the student
being now of an age when, like Iago, he was "nothing if not critical."
Later these papers seemed to him little better than school exercises,
but they gave a promise soon to be redeemed in _Greenland Law-Suits_,
his first volume to find a publisher. These satirical sketches,
printed early in 1783, were followed later in that year by another
series, but both had to wait 38 years for a second edition, much
mellowed in revision--not altogether to its profit.

The point of the _Law-Suits_ is directed especially against
theologians and the nobility. Richter's uncompromising fierceness
suggests youthful hunger almost as much as study of Swift. But
Lessing, had he lived to read their stinging epigrams, would have
recognized in Richter the promise of a successor not unworthy to carry
the biting acid of the _Disowning Letter_ over to the hand of Heine.

The _Law-Suits_ proved too bitter for the public taste and it was
seven years before their author found another publisher. Meanwhile
Richter was leading a precarious existence, writing for magazines at
starvation prices, and persevering in an indefatigable search for some
one to undertake his next book, _Selections from the Papers of the
Devil_. A love affair with the daughter of a minor official which she,
at least, took seriously, interrupted his studies at Leipzig even
before the insistence of creditors compelled him to a clandestine
flight. This was in 1784. Then he shared for a time his mother's
poverty at Hof and from 1786 to 1789 was tutor in the house of
Oerthel, a parvenu Commercial-Counsellor in Toepen. This experience he
was to turn to good account in _Levana_ and in his first novel, _The
Invisible Lodge_, in which the unsympathetic figure of Roeper is
undoubtedly meant to present the not very gracious personality of the

To this period belongs a collection of _Aphorisms_ whose bright wit
reveals deep reflection. They show a maturing mind, keen insight,
livelier and wider sympathies. The _Devil's Papers_, published in
1789, when Richter, after a few months at Hof, was about to become
tutor to the children of three friendly families in Schwarzenbach,
confirm the impression of progress. In his new field Richter had great
freedom to develop his ideas of education as distinct from
inculcation. Rousseau was in the main his guide, and his success in
stimulating childish initiative through varied and ingenious
pedagogical experiments seems to have been really remarkable.

Quite as remarkable and much more disquieting were the ideas about
friendship and love which Richter now began to develop under the
stimulating influence of a group of young ladies at Hof. In a note
book of this time he writes: "Prize question for the Erotic Academy:
How far may friendship toward women go and what is the difference
between it and love?" That Richter called this circle his "erotic
academy" is significant. He was ever, in such relations, as alert to
observe as he was keen to sympathize and permitted himself an
astonishing variety of quickly changing and even simultaneous
experiments, both at Hof and later in the aristocratic circles that
were presently to open to him. In his theory, which finds fullest
expression in _Hesperus_, love was to be wholly platonic. If the first
kiss did not end it, the second surely would. "I do not seek," he
says, "the fairest face but the fairest heart. I can overlook all
spots on that, but none on this." "He does not love who _sees_ his
beloved, but he who _thinks_ her." That is the theory. The practice
was a little different. It shows Richter at Hof exchanging fine-spun
sentiments on God, immortality and soul-affinity with some half dozen
young women to the perturbation of their spirits, in a transcendental
atmosphere of sentiment, arousing but never fulfilling the expectation
of a formal betrothal. That Jean Paul was capable of inspiring love of
the common sort is abundantly attested by his correspondence. Perhaps
no man ever had so many women of education and social position "throw
themselves" at him; but that he was capable of returning such love in
kind does not appear from acts or letters at this time, or, save
perhaps for the first years of his married life, at any later period.

The immediate effect of the bright hours at Hof on Richter as a writer
was wholly beneficent. _Mr. Florian Fuelbel's Journey_ and _Bailiff
Josuah Freudel's Complaint Bible_ show a new geniality in the
personification of amusing foibles. And with these was a real little
masterpiece, _Life of the Contented Schoolmaster Maria Wuz_, which
alone, said the Berlin critic Moritz, might suffice to make its author
immortal. In this delicious pedagogical idyl, written in December,
1790, the humor is sound, healthy, thoroughly German and
characteristic of Richter at his best. It seems as though one of the
great Dutch painters were guiding the pen, revealing the beauty of
common things and showing the true charm of quiet domesticity.
Richter's _Contented Schoolmaster_ lacked much in grace of form, but
it revealed unguessed resources in the German language, it showed
democratic sympathies more genuine than Rousseau's, it gave the
promise of a new pedagogy and a fruitful esthetic; above all it bore
the unmistakable mint-mark of genius.

_Wuz_ won cordial recognition from the critics. With the general
public it was for the time overshadowed by the success of a more
ambitious effort, Richter's first novel, _The Invisible Lodge_. This
fanciful tale of an idealized freemasonry is a study of the effects in
after life of a secluded education. Though written in the year of the
storming of the Tuileries it shows the prose-poet of the
Fichtelgebirge as yet untouched by the political convulsions of the
time. The _Lodge_, though involved in plot and reaching an empty
conclusion, yet appealed very strongly to the Germans of 1793 by its
descriptions of nature and its sentimentalized emotion. It was truly
of its time. Men and especially women liked then, better than they do
now, to read how "the angel who loves the earth brought the most holy
lips of the pair together in an inextinguishable kiss, and a seraph
entered into their beating hearts and gave them the flames of a
supernal love." Of greater present interest than the heartbeats of
hero or heroine are the minor characters of the story, presenting
genially the various types of humor or studies from life made in the
"erotic academy" or in the families of Richter's pupils. The despotic
spendthrift, the Margrave of Bayreuth, has also his niche, or rather
pillory, in the story. Notable, too, is the tendency, later more
marked, to contrast the inconsiderate harshness of men with the
patient humility of women. Encouraged by Moritz, who declared the book
"better than Goethe," Richter for the first time signed his work "Jean
Paul." He was well paid for it and had no further serious financial

Before the _Lodge_ was out of press Jean Paul had begun _Hesperus, or
45 Dog-post-days_, which magnified the merits of the earlier novel but
also exaggerated its defects. Wanton eccentricity was given fuller
play, formlessness seemed cultivated as an art. Digressions interrupt
the narrative with slender excuse, or with none; there is, as with the
English Sterne, an obtrusion of the author's personality; the style
seems as wilfully crude as the mastery in word-building and
word-painting is astonishing. On the other hand there is both greater
variety and greater distinction in the characters, a more developed
fabulation and a wonderful deepening and refinement of emotional
description. _Werther_ was not yet out of fashion and lovers of his
"Sorrows" found in _Hesperus_ a book after their hearts. It
established the fame of Jean Paul for his generation. It brought women
by swarms to his feet. They were not discouraged there. It was his
platonic rule "never to sacrifice one love to another," but to
experiment with "simultaneous love," "_tutti_ love," a "general
warmth" of universal affection. Intellectually awakened women were
attracted possibly as much by Richter's knowledge of their feelings as
by the fascination of his personality. _Hesperus_ lays bare many
little wiles dear to feminine hearts, and contains some keenly
sympathetic satire on German housewifery.

While still at work on _Hesperus_ Jean Paul returned to his mother's
house at Hof. "Richter's study and sitting-room offered about this
time," says Doering, his first biographer, "a true and beautiful
picture of his simple yet noble mind, which took in both high and low.
While his mother bustled about the housework at fire or table he sat
in a corner of the same room at a plain writing-desk with few or no
books at hand, but only one or two drawers with excerpts and
manuscripts. * * * Pigeons fluttered in and out of the chamber."

At Hof, Jean Paul continued to teach with originality and much success
until 1796, when an invitation from Charlotte von Kalb to visit Weimar
brought him new interests and connections. Meanwhile, having finished
_Hesperus_ in July, 1794, he began work immediately on the genial
_Life of Quintus Fixlein, Based on Fifteen Little Boxes of Memoranda_,
an idyl, like _Wuz_, of the schoolhouse and the parsonage, reflecting
Richter's pedagogical interests and much of his personal experience.
Its satire of philological pedantry has not yet lost pertinence or
pungency. Quintus, ambitious of authorship, proposes to himself a
catalogued interpretation of misprints in German books and other tasks
hardly less laboriously futile. His creator treats him with unfailing
good humor and "the consciousness of a kindred folly." Fixlein is the
archetypal pedant. The very heart of humor is in the account of the
commencement exercises at his school. His little childishnesses are
delightfully set forth; so, too, is his awe of aristocracy. He always
took off his hat before the windows of the manor house, even if he saw
no one there. The crown of it all is The Wedding. The bridal pair's
visit to the graves of by-gone loves is a gem of fantasy. But behind
all the humor and satire must not be forgotten, in view of what was to
follow, the undercurrent of courageous democratic protest which finds
its keenest expression in the "Free Note" to Chapter Six. _Fixlein_
appeared in 1796.

Richter's next story, the unfinished _Biographical Recreations under
the Cranium of a Giantess_, sprang immediately from a visit to
Bayreuth in 1794 and his first introduction to aristocracy. Its chief
interest is in the enthusiastic welcome it extends to the French
Revolution. Intrinsically more important is the _Flower, Fruit and
Thorn Pieces_ which crowded the other subject from his mind and tells
with much idyllic charm of "the marriage, life, death and wedding of
F. H. Siebenkaes, Advocate of the Poor" (1796-7).

In 1796, at the suggestion of the gifted, emancipated and ill-starred
Charlotte von Kalb, Jean Paul visited Weimar, already a Mecca of
literary pilgrimage and the centre of neo-classicism. There, those
who, like Herder, were jealous of Goethe, and those who, like Frau von
Stein, were estranged from him, received the new light with
enthusiasm--others with some reserve. Goethe and Schiller, who were
seeking to blend the classical with the German spirit, demurred to the
vagaries of Jean Paul's unquestioned genius. His own account of his
visit to "the rock-bound Schiller" and to Goethe's "palatial hall" are
precious commonplaces of the histories of literature. There were sides
of Goethe's universal genius to which Richter felt akin, but he was
quite ready to listen to Herder's warning against his townsman's
"unrouged" infidelity, which had become socially more objectionable
since Goethe's union with Christiane Vulpius, and Jean Paul presently
returned to Hof, carrying with him the heart of Charlotte von Kalb, an
unprized and somewhat embarrassing possession. He wished no heroine;
for he was no hero, as he remarked dryly, somewhat later, when
Charlotte had become the first of many "beautiful souls" in confusion
of spirit about their heart's desire.

In 1797 the death of Jean Paul's mother dissolved home bonds and he
soon left Hof forever, though still for a time maintaining diligent
correspondence with the "erotic academy" as well as with new and more
aristocratic "daughters of the Storm and Stress." The writings of this
period are unimportant, some of them unworthy. Jean Paul was for a
time in Leipzig and in Dresden. In October, 1798, he was again in
Weimar, which, in the sunshine of Herder's praise, seemed at first his
"Canaan," though he soon felt himself out of tune with Duchess
Amalia's literary court. To this time belongs a curious _Conjectural
Biography_, a pretty idyl of an ideal courtship and marriage as his
fancy now painted it for himself. Presently he was moved to essay the
realization of this ideal and was for a time betrothed to Karoline von
Feuchtersleben, her aristocratic connections being partially reconciled
to the _mesalliance_ by Richter's appointment as Legationsrat. He
begins already to look forward, a little ruefully, to the time when his
heart shall be "an extinct marriage-crater," and after a visit to
Berlin, where he basked in the smiles of Queen Luise, he was again
betrothed, this time to the less intellectually gifted, but as devoted
and better dowered Karoline Mayer, whom he married in 1801. He was then
in his thirty-eighth year.

Richter's marriage is cardinal in his career. Some imaginative work he
was still to do, but the dominant interests were hereafter to be in
education and in political action. In his own picturesque language,
hitherto his quest had been for the golden fleece of womanhood,
hereafter it was to be for a crusade of men. The change had been
already foreshadowed in 1799 by his stirring paper _On Charlotte
Corday_ (published in 1801).

_Titan_, which Jean Paul regarded as his "principal work and most
complete creation," had been in his mind since 1792. It was begun in
1797 and finished, soon after his betrothal, in 1800. In this novel the
thought of God and immortality is offered as a solution of all problems
of nature and society. _Titan_ is human will in contest with the
divine harmony. The maturing Richter has come to see that idealism in
thought and feeling must be balanced by realism in action if the thinker
is to bear his part in the work of the world. The novel naturally falls
far short of realizing its vast design. Once more the parts are more
than the whole. Some descriptive passages are very remarkable and the
minor characters, notably Roquairol, the Mephistophelean Lovelace, are
more interesting than the hero or the heroine. The unfinished _Wild
Oats_ of 1804, follows a somewhat similar design. The story of Walt
and Vult, twin brothers, Love and Knowledge, offers a study in contrasts
between the dreamy and the practical, with much self-revelation of the
antinomy in the author's own nature. There is something here to recall
his early satires, much more to suggest Goethe's _Wilhelm Meister_.

While _Wild Oats_ was in the making, Richter with his young wife and
presently their first daughter, Emma, was making a sort of triumphal
progress among the court towns of Germany. He received about this time
from Prince Dalberg a pension, afterward continued by the King of
Bavaria. In 1804 the family settled in Bayreuth, which was to remain
Richter's not always happy home till his death in 1825.

The move to Bayreuth was marked by the appearance of _Introduction to
Esthetics_, a book that, even in remaining a fragment, shows the
parting of the ways. Under its frolicsome exuberance there is keen
analysis, a fine nobility of temper, and abundant subtle observation.
The philosophy was Herder's, and a glowing eulogy of him closes the
study. Its most original and perhaps most valuable section contains a
shrewd discrimination of the varieties of humor, and ends with a
brilliant praise of wit, as though in a recapitulating review of
Richter's own most distinctive contribution to German literature.

The first fruit to ripen at the Bayreuth home was _Levana_, finished
in October, 1806, just as Napoleon was crushing the power of Prussia
at Jena. Though disconnected and unsystematic _Levana_ has been for
three generations a true yeast of pedagogical ideas, especially in
regard to the education of women and their social position in Germany.
Against the ignorance of the then existing conditions Jean Paul raised
eloquent and indignant protest. "Your teachers, your companions, even
your parents," he exclaims, "trample and crush the little flowers you
shelter and cherish. * * * Your hands are used more than your heads.
They let you play, but only with your fans. Nothing is pardoned you,
least of all a heart." What _Levana_ says of the use and abuse of
philology and about the study of history as a preparation for
political action is no less significant. Goethe, who had been reticent
of praise in regard to the novels, found in _Levana_ "the boldest
virtues without the least excess."

From the education of children for life Richter turned naturally to
the education of his fellow Germans for citizenship. It was a time of
national crisis. Already in 1805 he had published a _Little Book of
Freedom_, in protest against the censorship of books. Now to his
countrymen, oppressed by Napoleon, he addressed at intervals from 1808
to 1810, a _Peace Sermon, Twilight Thoughts for Germany_ and _After
Twilight_. Then, as the fires of Moscow heralded a new day, came
_Butterflies of the Dawn_; and when the War of Liberation was over and
the German rulers had proved false to their promises, these
"Butterflies" were expanded and transformed, in 1817, into _Political
Fast-Sermons for Germany's Martyr-Week_, in which Richter denounced
the princes for their faithlessness as boldly as he had done the
sycophants of Bonaparte.

Most noteworthy of the minor writings of this period is _Dr.
Katzenberger's Journey to the Baths_, published in 1809. The effect of
this rollicking satire on affectation and estheticism was to arouse a
more manly spirit in the nation and so it helped to prepare for the
way of liberation. The patriotic youth of Germany now began to speak
and think of Richter as Jean Paul the Unique. In the years that follow
Waterloo every little journey that Richter took was made the occasion
of public receptions and festivities. Meanwhile life in the Bayreuth
home grew somewhat strained. Both partners might well have heeded
_Levana's_ counsel that "Men should show more love, women more common

Of Richter's last decade two books only call for notice here, _Truth
about Jean Paul's Life_, a fragment of autobiography written in 1819,
and _The Comet_, a novel, also unfinished, published at intervals from
1820 to 1822. Hitherto, said Richter of _The Comet_, he had paid too
great deference to rule, "like a child born curled and forthwith
stretched on a swathing cushion." Now, in his maturity, he will, he
says, let himself go; and a wild tale he makes of it, exuberant in
fancy, rich in comedy, unbridled in humor. The Autobiography extends
only to Schwarzenbach and his confirmation, but of all his writings it
has perhaps the greatest charm.

Richter's last years were clouded by disease, mental and physical, and
by the death of his son Max. A few weeks before his own death he
arranged for an edition of his complete works, for which he was to
receive 35,000 thaler ($26,000). For this he sought a special
privilege, copyright being then very imperfect in Germany, on the
ground that in all his works not one line could be found to offend
religion or virtue.

He died on November 14, 1825. On the evening of November 17 was the
funeral. Civil and military, state and city officials took part in it.
On the bier was borne the unfinished manuscript of _Selina_, an essay
on immortality. Sixty students with lighted torches escorted the
procession. Other students bore, displayed, _Levana_ and the
_Introduction to Esthetics_.

Sixteen years after Richter's death the King of Bavaria erected a
statue to him in Bayreuth. But his most enduring monument had already
long been raised in the funeral oration by Ludwig Boerne at Frankfurt.
"A Star has set," said the orator, "and the eye of this century will
close before it rises again, for bright genius moves in wide orbits
and our distant descendants will be first again to bid glad welcome
to that from which their fathers have taken sad leave. * * * We shall
mourn for him whom we have lost and for those others who have not lost
him, for he has not lived for all. Yet a time will come when he shall
be born for all and all will lament him. But he will stand patient on
the threshold of the twentieth century and wait smiling till his
creeping people shall come to join him."


From _The Life of Quintus Fixlein_ (1796)



At the sound of the morning prayer-bell, the bridegroom--for the din
of preparation was disturbing his quiet orison--went out into the
churchyard, which (as in many other places) together with the church,
lay round his mansion like a court. Here, on the moist green, over
whose closed flowers the churchyard wall was still spreading broad
shadows, did his spirit cool itself from the warm dreams of Earth:
here, where the white flat grave-stone of his Teacher lay before him
like the fallen-in door of the Janus-temple of life, or like the
windward side of the narrow house, turned toward the tempests of the
world: here, where the little shrunk metallic door on the grated cross
of his father uttered to him the inscriptions of death, and the year
when his parent departed, and all the admonitions and mementos, graven
on the lead--there, I say, his mood grew softer and more solemn; and
he now lifted up by heart his morning prayer, which usually he read,
and entreated God to bless him in his office, and to spare his
mother's life, and to look with favor and acceptance on the purpose of
today. Then, over the graves, he walked into his fenceless little
angular flower-garden; and here, composed and confident in the divine
keeping, he pressed the stalks of his tulips deeper into the mellow

But on returning to the house, he was met on all hands by the
bell-ringing and the Janizary-music of wedding-gladness; the
marriage-guests had all thrown off their nightcaps, and were drinking
diligently; there was a clattering, a cooking, a frizzling;
tea-services, coffee-services, and warm beer-services, were advancing
in succession; and plates full of bride-cakes were going round like
potter's frames or cistern-wheels. The Schoolmaster, with three young
lads, was heard rehearsing from his own house an _Arioso_, with which,
so soon as they were perfect, he purposed to surprise his clerical
superior. But now rushed all the arms of the foaming joy-streams into
one, when the sky-queen besprinkled with blossoms the bride, descended
upon Earth in her timid joy, full of quivering, humble love; when the
bells began; when the procession-column set forth with the whole village
round and before it; when the organ, the congregation, the officiating
priest, and the sparrows on the trees of the church-window, struck louder
and louder their rolling peals on the drum of the jubilee-festival.

* * * The heart of the singing bridegroom was like to leap from its
place for joy "that on his bridal-day it was all so respectable and
grand." Not till the marriage benediction could he pray a little.

Still worse and louder grew the business during dinner, when
pastry-work and march-pane-devices were brought forward, when glasses,
and slain fishes (laid under the napkins to frighten the guests) went
round, and when the guests rose and themselves went round, and, at
length, danced round: for they had instrumental music from the city

One minute handed over to the other the sugar-bowl and bottle-case of
joy: the guests heard and saw less and less, and the villagers began
to see and hear more and more, and toward night they penetrated like a
wedge into the open door--nay, two youths ventured even in the middle
of the parsonage-court to mount a plank over a beam and commence
seesawing. Out of doors, the gleaming vapor of the departed sun was
encircling the earth, the evening-star was glittering over parsonage
and churchyard; no one heeded it.

However, about nine o'clock, when the marriage-guests had well nigh
forgotten the marriage-pair, and were drinking or dancing along for
their own behoof; when poor mortals, in this sunshine of Fate, like
fishes in the sunshine of the sky, were leaping up from their wet
cold element; and when the bridegroom under the star of happiness and
love, casting like a comet its long train of radiance over all his
heaven, had in secret pressed to his joy-filled breast his bride and
his mother--then did he lock a slice of wedding-bread privily into a
press, in the old superstitious belief that this residue secured
continuance of bread for the whole marriage. As he returned, with
greater love for the sole partner of his life, she herself met him
with his mother, to deliver him in private the bridal-nightgown and
bridal-shirt, as is the ancient usage. Many a countenance grows pale
in violent emotions, even of joy. Thiennette's wax-face was bleaching
still whiter under the sunbeams of Happiness. O, never fall, thou lily
of Heaven, and may four springs instead of four seasons open and shut
thy flower-bells to the sun! All the arms of his soul, as he floated
on the sea of joy, were quivering to clasp the soft warm heart of his
beloved, to encircle it gently and fast, and draw it to his own.

He led her from the crowded dancing-room into the cool evening. Why
does the evening, does the night, put warmer love in our hearts? Is it
the nightly pressure of helplessness or is it the exalting separation
from the turmoil of life--that veiling of the world, in which for the
soul nothing more remains but souls;--is it therefore that the letters
in which the loved name stands written on our spirit appear, like
phosphorus-writing, by night, _in fire_, while by day in their
_cloudy_ traces they but smoke?

He walked with his bride into the Castle garden: she hastened quickly
through the Castle, and past its servants' hall, where the fair flowers
of her young life had been crushed broad and dry, under a long dreary
pressure; and her soul expanded and breathed in the free open garden,
on whose flowery soil destiny had cast forth the first seeds of the
blossoms which today were gladdening her existence. Still Eden! Green
flower-chequered _chiaroscuro_! The moon is sleeping under ground
like a dead one; but beyond the garden the sun's red evening-clouds
have fallen down like rose-leaves; and the evening-star, the brideman
of the sun, hovers, like a glancing butterfly, above the rosy red,
and, modest as a bride, deprives no single starlet of its light.

[Illustration: BRIDAL PROCESSION _From the Painting by Ludwig Richter_]

The wandering pair arrived at the old gardener's hut, now standing
locked and dumb, with dark windows in the light garden, like a
fragment of the Past surviving in the Present. Bared twigs of trees
were folding, with clammy half-formed leaves, over the thick
intertwisted tangles of the bushes. The Spring was standing, like a
conqueror, with Winter at his feet. In the blue pond, now bloodless, a
dusky evening sky lay hollowed out, and the gushing waters were
moistening the flower-beds. The silver sparks of stars were rising on
the altar of the East, and, falling down, were extinguished in the red
sea of the West.

The wind whirred, like a night-bird, louder through the trees, and
gave tones to the acacia-grove; and the tones called to the pair who
had first become happy within it: "Enter, new mortal pair, and think
of what is past, and of my withering and your own; be holy as Eternity,
and weep not only for joy, but for gratitude also!" And the wet-eyed
bridegroom led his wet-eyed bride under the blossoms, and laid his
soul, like a flower, on her heart, and said: "Best Thiennette, I am
unspeakably happy, and would say much, but cannot! Ah, thou Dearest,
we will live like angels, like children together! Surely I will do
all that is good to thee; two years ago I had nothing, no, nothing;
ah, it is through thee, best love, that I am happy. I call thee Thou,
now, thou dear good soul!" She drew him closer to her, and said, though
without kissing him: "Call me Thou always, Dearest!"

And as they stept forth again from the sacred grove into the
magic-dusky garden, he took off his hat; first, that he might
internally thank God, and, secondly, because he wished to look into
this fairest evening sky.

They reached the blazing, rustling, marriage-house, but their
softened hearts sought stillness; and a foreign touch, as in the
blossoming vine, would have disturbed the flower-nuptials of their
souls. They turned rather, and winded up into the churchyard to
preserve their mood. Majestic on the groves and mountains stood the
Night before man's heart, and made that also great. Over the _white_
steeple-obelisk the sky rested _bluer_, and _darker_; and, behind it,
wavered the withered summit of the May-pole with faded flag. The son
noticed his father's grave, on which the wind was opening and
shutting, with harsh noise, the little door of the metal cross, to let
the year of his death be read on the brass plate within. As an
overpowering sadness seized his heart with violent streams of tears,
and drove him to the sunk hillock, he led his bride to the grave, and
said: "Here sleeps he, my good father; in his thirty-second year he
was carried hither to his long rest. O thou good, dear father, couldst
thou today but see the happiness of thy son, like my mother! But thy
eyes are empty, and thy breast is full of ashes, and thou seest us
not." He was silent. The bride wept aloud; she saw the moldering
coffins of her parents open, and the two dead arise and look round for
their daughter, who had stayed so long behind them, forsaken on the
earth. She fell upon his heart, and faltered: "O beloved, I have
neither father nor mother. Do not forsake me!"

O thou who hast still a father and a mother, thank God for it, on the
day when thy soul is full of joyful tears and needs a bosom whereon to
shed them.

And with this embracing at a father's grave, let this day of joy be
holily concluded.


From _Titan_ (1800)



Half an hour after the earthquake the heavens swathed themselves in
seas, and dashed them down in masses and in torrents. The naked
_Campagna_ and heath were covered with the mantle of rain. Gaspard was
silent, the heavens black; the great thought stood alone in Albano
that he was hastening on toward the bloody scaffold and the
throne-scaffolding of humanity, the heart of a cold, dead
heathen-world, the eternal Rome; and when he heard, on the _Ponte
Molle_, that he was now going across the Tiber, then was it to him as
if the past had risen from the dead, as if the stream of time ran
backward and bore him with it; under the streams of heaven he heard
the seven old mountain-streams, rushing and roaring, which once came
down from Rome's hills, and, with seven arms, uphove the world from
its foundations. At length the constellation of the mountain city of
God, that stood so broad before him, opened out into distant nights;
cities, with scattered lights, lay up and down, and the bells (which
to his ear were alarm-bells) sounded out the fourth hour; [3] when the
carriage rolled through the triumphal gate of the city, the _Porta del
Popolo_, then the moon rent her black heavens, and poured down out of
the cleft clouds the splendor of a whole sky. There stood the Egyptian
Obelisk of the gateway, high as the clouds, in the night, and three
streets ran gleaming apart. "So," (said Albano to himself, as they
passed through the long _Corso_ to the tenth ward) "thou art veritably
in the camp of the God of war--here is where he grasped the hilt of
the monstrous war-sword, and with the point made the three wounds in
three quarters of the world!" Rain and splendor gushed through the
vast, broad streets; occasionally he passed suddenly along by gardens,
and into broad city-deserts and market-places of the past. The rolling
of the carriages amidst the rush and roar of the rain resembled the
thunder whose days were once holy to this heroic city, like the
thundering heaven to the thundering earth; muffled-up forms, with
little lights, stole through the dark streets; often there stood a
long palace with colonnades in the light of the moon, often a solitary
gray column, often a single high fir tree, or a statue behind
cypresses. Once, when there was neither rain nor moonshine, the
carriage went round the corner of a large house, on whose roof a tall,
blooming virgin, with an uplooking child on her arm, herself directed
a little hand-light, now toward a white statue, now toward the child,
and so, alternately, illuminated each. This friendly group made its
way to the very centre of his soul, now so highly exalted, and brought
with it, to him, many a recollection; particularly was a Roman child
to him a wholly new and mighty idea.

They alighted at last at the Prince _di Lauria's_--Gaspard's
father-in-law and old friend. * * * Albano, dissatisfied with all, kept
his inspiration sacrificing to the unearthly gods of the past round
about him, after the old fashion, namely, with silence. Well might he
and could he have discussed, but otherwise, namely in odes, with the
whole man, with streams which mount and grow upward. He looked even more
and more longingly out of the window at the moon in the pure rain-blue,
and at single columns of the Forum; out of doors there gleamed for him
the greatest world. At last he rose up, indignant and impatient, and
stole down into the glimmering glory, and stepped before the Forum; but
the moonlit night, that decoration-painter, which works with irregular
strokes, made almost the very stage of the scene irrecognizable to him.

What a dreary, broad plain, loftily encompassed with ruins, gardens
and temples, covered with prostrate capitals of columns, and with
single, upright pillars, and with trees and a dumb wilderness! The
heaped-up ashes out of the emptied urn of Time! And the potsherds of a
great world flung around! He passed by three temple columns,[4] which
the earth had drawn down into itself even to the breast, and along
through the broad triumphal arch of Septimius Severus; on the right,
stood a chain of columns without their temple; on the left, attached
to a Christian church, the colonnade of an ancient heathen temple,
deep sunken into the sediment of time; at last the triumphal arch of
Titus, and before it, in the middle of the woody wilderness, a
fountain gushing into a granite basin.

He went up to this fountain, in order to survey the plain out of which
the thunder months of the earth once arose; but he went along as over
a burnt-out sun, hung round with dark, dead earths. "O Man, O the
dreams of Man!" something within him unceasingly cried. He stood on
the granite margin, turning toward the Coliseum, whose mountain ridges
of wall stood high in the moonlight, with the deep gaps which had been
hewn in them by the scythe of Time. Sharply stood the rent and ragged
arches of Nero's golden house close by, like murderous cutlasses. The
Palatine Hill lay full of green gardens, and, in crumbling
temple-roofs, the blooming death-garland of ivy was gnawing, and
living ranunculi still glowed around sunken capitals. The fountain
murmured babblingly and forever, and the stars gazed steadfastly down,
with transitory rays, upon the still battlefield over which the winter
of time had passed without bringing after it a spring; the fiery soul
of the world had flown up, and the cold, crumbling giant lay around;
torn asunder were the gigantic spokes of the main-wheel, which once
the very stream of ages drove. And in addition to all this, the moon
shed down her light like eating silver-water upon the naked columns,
and would fain have dissolved the Coliseum and the temples and all
into their own shadows!

Then Albano stretched out his arm into the air, as if he were giving
an embrace and flowing away as in the arms of a stream, and exclaimed,
"O ye mighty shades, ye, who once strove and lived here, ye are
looking down from Heaven, but scornfully, not sadly, for your great
fatherland has died and gone after you! Ah, had I, on the
insignificant earth, full of old eternity which you have made great,
only done one action worthy of you! Then were it sweet to me and
legitimate to open my heart by a wound, and to mix earthly blood with
the hallowed soil, and, out of the world of graves, to hasten away to
you, eternal and immortal ones! But I am not worthy of it!"

At this moment there came suddenly along up the _Via Sacra_ a tall
man, deeply enveloped in a mantle, who drew near the fountain without
looking round, threw down his hat, and held a coal-black, curly,
almost perpendicular, hindhead under the stream of water. But hardly
had he, turning upward, caught a glimpse of the profile of Albano,
absorbed in his fancies, when he started up, all dripping, stared at
the count, fell into an amazement, threw his arms high into the air,
and said, "_Amico_!" Albano looked at him. The stranger said,
"Albano!" "My Dian!" cried Albano; they clasped each other
passionately and wept for love.

Dian could not comprehend it at all; he said in Italian: "But it
surely cannot be you; you look old." He thought he was speaking German
all the time, till he heard Albano answer in Italian. Both gave and
received only questions. Albano found the architect merely browner,
but there was the lightning of the eyes and every faculty in its old
glory. With three words he related to him the journey, and who the
company were. "How does Rome strike you?" asked Dian, pleasantly. "As
life does," replied Albano, very seriously, "it makes me too soft and
too hard." "I recognize here absolutely nothing at all," he continued;
"do those columns belong to the magnificent temple of Peace?" "No,"
said Dian, "to the temple of Concord; of the other there stands yonder
nothing but the vault." "Where is Saturn's temple?" asked Albano.
"Buried in St. Adrian's church," said Dian, and added hastily: "Close
by stand the ten columns of Antonine's temple; over beyond there the
baths of Titus; behind us the Palatine hill; and so on. Now tell

They walked up and down the Forum, between the arches of Titus and
Severus. Albano (being near the teacher who, in the days of childhood,
had so often conducted him hitherward) was yet full of the stream
which had swept over the world, and the all-covering water sunk but
slowly. He went on and said: "Today, when he beheld the Obelisk, the
soft, tender brightness of the moon had seemed to him eminently
unbecoming for the giant city; he would rather have seen a sun blazing
on its broad banner; but now the moon was the proper funeral-torch
beside the dead Alexander, who, at a touch, collapses into a handful
of dust." "The artist does not get far with feelings of this kind,"
said Dian, "he must look upon everlasting beauties on the right hand
and on the left." "Where," Albano went on asking, "is the old lake of
Curtius--the Rostrum--the pila Horatia--the temple of Vesta--of Venus,
and of all those solitary columns?" "And where is the marble Forum
itself?" said Dian; "it lies thirty span deep below our feet." "Where
is the great, free people, the senate of kings, the voice of the
orators, the procession to the Capitol? Buried under the mountain of
potsherds! O Dian, how can a man who loses a father, a beloved, in
Rome shed a single tear or look round him with consternation, when he
comes out here before this battle-field of time and looks into the
charnel-house of the nations? Dian, one would wish here an iron heart,
for fate has an iron hand!"

Dian, who nowhere stayed more reluctantly than upon such tragic cliffs
hanging over, as it were, into the sea of eternity, almost leaped off
from them with a joke; like the Greeks, he blended dances with
tragedy! "Many a thing is preserved here, friend!" said he; "in
Adrian's church yonder they will still show you the bones of the three
men that walked in the fire." "That is just the frightful play of
destiny," replied Albano, "to occupy the heights of the mighty
ancients with monks shorn down into slaves."

"The stream of time drives new wheels," said Dian "yonder lies Raphael
twice buried.[5]" * * * And so they climbed silently and speedily over
rubbish and torsos of columns, and neither gave heed to the mighty
emotion of the other.

Rome, like the Creation, is an entire wonder, which gradually
dismembers itself into new wonders, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, St.
Peter's church, Raphael, etc.

With the passage through the church of St. Peter, the knight began the
noble course through Immortality. The Princess let herself, by the tie
of Art, be bound to the circle of the men. As Albano was more smitten
with edifices than with any other work of man, so did he see from
afar, with holy heart, the long mountain-chain of Art, which again
bore upon itself hills, so did he stop before the plain, around which
the enormous colonnades run like Corsos, bearing a people of statues.
In the centre shoots up the Obelisk, and on its right and left an
eternal fountain, and from the lofty steps the proud Church of the
world, inwardly filled with churches, rearing upon itself a temple
toward Heaven, looks down upon the earth. But how wonderfully, as they
drew near, had its columns and its rocky wall mounted up and flown
away from the vision!

He entered the magic church, which gave the world blessings, curses,
kings and popes, with the consciousness, that, like the world-edifice,
it was continually enlarging and receding more and more the longer one
remained in it. They went up to two children of white marble who held
an incense-muscle-shell of yellow marble; the children grew by
nearness till they were giants. At length they stood at the main
altar and its hundred perpetual lamps. What a place! Above them the
heaven's arch of the dome, resting on four inner towers; around them
an over-arched city of four streets in which stood churches. The
temple became greatest by walking in it; and, when they passed round
one column, there stood a new one before them, and holy giants gazed
earnestly down.

Here was the youth's large heart, after so long a time, filled. "In no
art," said he to his father, "is the soul so mightily possessed with
the sublime as in architecture; in every other the giant stands within
and in the depths of the soul, but here he stands out of and close
before it." Dian, to whom all images were more clear than abstract
ideas, said he was perfectly right. Fraischdoerfer replied, "The
sublime also here lies only in the brain, for the whole church stands,
after all, in something greater, namely, in Rome, and under the
heavens; in the presence of which latter we certainly should not feel
anything." He also complained that "the place for the sublime in his
head was very much narrowed by the innumerable volutes and monuments
which the temple shut up therein at the same time with itself."
Gaspard, taking everything in a large sense, remarked, "When the
sublime once really appears, it then, by its very nature, absorbs and
annihilates all little circumstantial ornaments." He adduced as
evidence the tower of the Minster,[6] and Nature itself, which is not
made smaller by its grasses and villages.

Among so many connoisseurs of art, the Princess enjoyed in silence.

The ascent of the dome Gaspard recommended to defer to a dry and
cloudless day, in order that they might behold the queen of the world,
Rome, upon and from the proper throne; he therefore proposed, very
zealously, the visiting of the Pantheon, because he was eager to let
this follow immediately after the impression of Saint Peter's church.
They went thither. How simply and grandly the hall opens! Eight
yellow columns sustain its brow, and majestically as the head of the
Homeric Jupiter its temple arches itself. It is the Rotunda or
Pantheon. "O the pigmies," cried Albano, "who would fain give us new
temples! Raise the old ones higher out of the rubbish, and then you
have built enough!" [7] They stepped in. There rose round about them a
holy, simple, free world-structure, with its heaven-arches soaring and
striving upward, an Odeum of the tones of the Sphere-music, a world in
the world! And overhead[8] the eye-socket of the light and of the sky
gleamed down, and the distant rack of clouds seemed to touch the lofty
arch over which it shot along! And round about them stood nothing but
the temple-bearers, the columns! The temple of _all_ gods endured and
concealed the diminutive altars of the later ones.

Gaspard questioned Albano about his impressions. He said he preferred
the larger church of Saint Peter. The knight approved, and said that
youth, like nations, always more easily found and better appreciated
the sublime than the beautiful, and that the spirit of the young man
ripened from strong to beautiful, as the body of the same ripens from
the beautiful into the strong; however, he himself preferred the
Pantheon. "How could the moderns," said the Counsellor of Arts,
Fraischdoerfer, "build anything, except some little Bernini-like
turrets?" "That is why," said the offended Provincial Architect, Dian
(who despised the Counsellor of Arts, because he never made a good
figure except in the esthetic hall of judgment as critic, never in the
exhibition-hall as painter), "we moderns are, without contradiction,
stronger in criticism; though in practice we are, collectively and
individually, blockheads." Bouverot remarked that the Corinthian
columns might be higher. The Counsellor of Arts said that after all he
knew nothing more like this fine hemisphere than a much smaller one,
which he had found in Herculaneum molded in ashes, of the bosom of a
fair fugitive. The knight laughed, and Albano turned away in disgust
and went to the Princess.

He asked her for her opinion about the two temples. "Sophocles here,
Shakespeare there; but I comprehend and appreciate Sophocles more
easily," she replied, and looked with new eyes into his new
countenance. For the supernatural illumination through the zenith of
Heaven, not through a hazy horizon, transfigured, in her eyes, the
beautiful and excited countenance of the youth; and she took for
granted that the saintly halo of the dome must also exalt her form.
When he answered her: "Very good! But in Shakespeare, Sophocles also
is contained, not, however, Shakespeare in Sophocles--and upon Peter's
Church stands Angelo's Rotunda!", just then the lofty cloud, all at
once, as by the blow of a hand out of the ether, broke in two, and the
ravished Sun, like the eye of a Venus floating through her ancient
heavens--for she once stood even here--looked mildly in from the upper
deep; then a holy radiance filled the temple, and burned on the
porphyry of the pavement, and Albano looked around him in an ecstasy
of wonder and delight, and said with low voice: "How transfigured at
this moment is everything in this sacred place! Raphael's spirit comes
forth from his grave in this noontide hour, and everything which its
reflection touches brightens into godlike splendor!" The Princess
looked upon him tenderly, and he lightly laid his hand upon hers, and
said, as one vanquished, "Sophocles!"

On the next moonlit evening, Gaspard bespoke torches, in order that
the Coliseum, with its giant-circle, might the first time stand in
fire before them. The knight would fain have gone around alone with
his son, dimly through the dim work, like two spirits of the olden
time, but the Princess forced herself upon him, from a too lively wish
to share with the noble youth his great moments, and perhaps, in fact,
her heart and his own. Women do not sufficiently comprehend that an
idea, when it fills and elevates man's mind, shuts it, then, against
love, and crowds out persons; whereas with woman all ideas easily
become human beings.

They passed over the Forum, by the _Via Sacra_, to the Coliseum, whose
lofty, cloven forehead looked down pale under the moonlight. They
stood before the gray rock-walls, which reared themselves on four
colonnades one above another, and the torchlight shot up into the
arches of the arcades, gilding the green shrubbery high overhead, and
deep in the earth had the noble monster already buried his feet. They
stepped in and ascended the mountain, full of fragments of rock, from
one seat of the spectators to another. Gaspard did not venture to the
sixth or highest, where the men used to stand, but Albano and the
Princess did. Then the youth gazed down over the cliffs, upon the
round, green crater of the burnt-out volcano, which once swallowed
nine thousand beasts at once, and which quenched itself with human
blood. The lurid glare of the torches penetrated into the clefts and
caverns, and among the foliage of the ivy and laurel, and among the
great shadows of the moon, which, like departed spirits, hovered in
caverns. Toward the south, where the streams of centuries and
barbarians had stormed in, stood single columns and bare arcades.
Temples and three palaces had the giant fed and lined with his limbs,
and still, with all his wounds, he looked out livingly into the world.

"What a people!" said Albano. "Here curled the giant snake five times
about Christianity. Like a smile of scorn lies the moonlight down
below there upon the green arena, where once stood the Colossus of the
Sun-god. The star of the north[9] glimmers low through the windows,
and the Serpent and the Bear crouch. What a world has gone by!" The
Princess answered that "twelve thousand prisoners built this theatre,
and that a great many more had bled therein." "O! we too have
building prisoners," said he, "but for fortifications; and blood, too,
still flows, but with sweat! No, we have no present; the past, without
it, must bring forth a future."

The Princess went to break a laurel-twig and pluck a blooming
wall-flower. Albano sank away into musing: the autumnal wind of the
past swept over the stubble. On this holy eminence he saw the
constellations, Rome's green hills, the glimmering city, the Pyramid
of Cestius; but all became Past, and on the twelve hills dwelt, as
upon graves, the lofty old spirits, and looked sternly into the age,
as if they were still its kings and judges.

"This to remember the place and time!" said the approaching Princess,
handing him the laurel and the flower. "Thou mighty One! a Coliseum is
thy flower-pot; to thee is nothing too great, and nothing too small!"
said he, and threw the Princess into considerable confusion, till she
observed that he meant not her, but nature. His whole being seemed
newly and painfully moved, and, as it were, removed to a distance: he
looked down after his father, and went to find him; he looked at him
sharply, and spoke of nothing more this evening.


From the _Flegeljahre_ (1804)



Since Haslau had been a princely residence no one could remember any
event--the birth of the heir apparent excepted--that had been awaited
with such curiosity as the opening of the Van der Kabel will. Van der
Kabel might have been called the Haslau Croesus--and his life
described as a pleasure-making mint, or a washing of gold sand under a
golden rain, or in whatever other terms wit could devise. Now, seven
distant living relatives of seven distant deceased relatives of Kabel
were cherishing some hope of a legacy, because the Croesus had sworn
to remember them. These hopes, however, were very faint. No one was
especially inclined to trust him, as he not only conducted himself on
all occasions in a gruffly moral and unselfish manner--in regard to
morality, to be sure, the seven relatives were still beginners--but
likewise treated everything so derisively and possessed a heart so
full of tricks and surprises that there was no dependence to be placed
upon him. The eternal smile hovering around his temples and thick
lips, and the mocking falsetto voice, impaired the good impression
that might otherwise have been made by his nobly cut face and a pair
of large hands, from which New Year's presents, benefit performances,
and gratuities were continually falling. Wherefore the birds of
passage proclaimed the man, this human mountain-ash in which they
nested and of whose berries they ate, to be in reality a dangerous
trap; and they seemed hardly able to see the visible berries for the
invisible snares.

Between two attacks of apoplexy he made his will and deposited it with
the magistrate. Though half dead when, he gave over the certificate
to the seven presumptive heirs he said in his old tone of voice that
he did not wish this token of his decease to cause dejection to mature
men whom he would much rather think of as laughing than as weeping
heirs. And only one of them, the coldly ironical Police-Inspector
Harprecht, answered the smilingly ironical Croesus: "It was not in
their power to determine the extent of their collective sympathy in
such a loss."

At last the seven heirs appeared with their certificate at the city
hall. These were the Consistorial Councilor Glanz, the Police
Inspector, the Court-Agent Neupeter, the Attorney of the Royal
Treasury Knol, the Bookseller Passvogel, the Preacher-at-Early-Service
Flachs, and Herr Flitte from Alsace. They duly and properly requested
of the magistrates the charter consigned to the latter by the late
Kabel, and asked for the opening of the will. The chief executor of
the will was the officiating Burgomaster in person, the
under-executors were the Municipal-Councilors. Presently the charter
and the will were fetched from the Council-chamber into the
Burgomaster's office, they were passed around to all the Councilors
and the heirs, in order that they might see the privy seal of the city
upon them, and the registry of the consignment written by the town
clerk upon the charter was read aloud to the seven heirs. Thereby it
was made known to them that the charter had really been consigned to
the magistrates by the late departed one and confided to them _scrinio
rei publicae_, likewise that he had been in his right mind on the day
of the consignment. The seven seals which he himself had placed upon
it were found to be intact. Then--after the Town-Clerk had again drawn
up a short record of all this--the will was opened in God's name and
read aloud by the officiating Burgomaster. It ran as follows:

"I, Van der Kabel, do draw up my will on this seventh day of May 179-,
here in my house in Haslau, in Dog Street, without a great ado of
words, although I have been both a German notary and a Dutch _domine_.
Notwithstanding, I believe that I am still sufficiently familiar with
the notary's art to be able to act as a regular testator and
bequeather of property.

"Testators are supposed to commence by setting forth the motives which
have caused them to make their will. These with me, as with most, are
my approaching death, and the disposal of an inheritance which is
desired by many. To talk about the funeral and such matters is too
weak and silly. That which remains of me, however, may the eternal sun
above us make use of for one of his verdant springs, not for a gloomy

"The charitable bequests, about which notaries must always inquire, I
shall attend to by setting aside for three thousand of the city's
paupers an equal number of florins so that in the years to come, on
the anniversary of my death, if the annual review of the troops does
not happen to take place on the common that day, they can pitch their
camp there and have a merry feast off the money, and afterward clothe
themselves with the tent linen. To all the schoolmasters of our
Principality also I bequeath to every man one august d'or, and I leave
my pew in the Court church to the Jews of the city. My will being
divided into clauses, this may be taken as the first.


It is the general custom for legacies and disinheritances to be
counted among the most essential parts of the will. In accordance with
this custom Consistorial Councillor Glanz, Attorney of the Royal
Treasury Knol, Court-Agent Peter Neupeter, Police-Inspector Harprecht,
the Preacher-at-Early-Service Flachs, the Court-bookseller Passvogel
and Herr Flitte, for the time being receive nothing; not so much
because no _Trebellianica_ is due them as the most distant relatives,
or because most of them have themselves enough to bequeath, as because
I know out of their own mouths that they love my insignificant person
better than my great wealth, which person I therefore leave them,
little as can be got out of it."

Seven preternaturally long faces at this point started up like the
Seven-sleepers. The Consistorial Councillor, a man still young but
celebrated throughout all Germany for his oral and printed sermons,
considered himself the one most insulted by such taunts. From the
Alsatian Flitte there escaped an oath accompanied by a slight smack of
the tongue. The chin of Flachs, the Preacher-at-Early-Service, grew
downward into a regular beard.

The City Councillors could hear several softly ejaculated obituaries
referring to the late Kabel under the name of scamp, fool, infidel,
etc. But the officiating Burgomaster waved his hand, the Attorney of
the Royal Treasury and the Bookseller again bent all the elastic steel
springs of their faces as if setting a trap, and the Burgomaster
continued to read, although with enforced seriousness.


I make an exception of the present house in Dog Street which, after
this my third clause, shall, just as it stands, devolve upon and
belong to that one of my seven above-named relatives, who first,
before the other six rivals, can in one half hour's time (to be
reckoned from the reading of the Clause) shed one or two tears over
me, his departed uncle, in the presence of an estimable magistrate who
shall record the same. If, however, all eyes remain dry, then the
house likewise shall fall to the exclusive heir whom I am about to

Here the Burgomaster closed the will, remarked that the condition was
certainly unusual but not illegal, and the court must adjudge the
house to the first one who wept. With which he placed his watch, which
pointed to half-past eleven, on the office-table, and sat himself
quietly down in order in his capacity of executor to observe, together
with the whole court, who should first shed the desired tear over the
testator. It cannot fairly be assumed that, as long as the earth has
stood, a more woe-begone and muddled congress ever met upon it than
this one composed of seven dry provinces assembled together, as it
were, in order to weep. At first some precious minutes were spent
merely in confused wondering and in smiling; the congress had been
placed too suddenly in the situation of the dog who, when about to
rush angrily at his enemy, heard the latter call out: Beg!--and who
suddenly got upon his hind legs and begged, showing his teeth. From
cursing they had been pulled up too quickly into weeping.

Every one realized that genuine emotion was not to be thought of;
downpours do not come quite so much on the gallop; such sudden baptism
of the eyes was out of the question; but in twenty-six minutes
something might happen.

The merchant Neupeter asked if it were not an accursed business and a
foolish joke on the part of a sensible man, and he refused to lend
himself to it; but the thought that a house might swim into his purse
on a tear caused him a peculiar irritation of the glands, which made
him look like a sick lark to whom a clyster is being applied with an
oiled pinhead--the house being the head.

The Attorney of the Royal Treasury Knol screwed up his face like a
poor workman, whom an apprentice is shaving and scraping on a Saturday
evening by the light of a shoemaker's candle; he was furiously angry
at the misuse made of the title "Will" and quite near to shedding
tears of rage.

The crafty Bookseller Passvogel at once quietly set about the matter
in hand; he hastily went over in his mind all the touching things
which he was publishing at his own expense or on commission, and from
which he hoped to brew something; he looked the while like a dog that
is slowly licking off the emetic which the Parisian veterinary, Demet,
had smeared on his nose; it would evidently be some time before the
desired effect would take place.

Flitte from Alsace danced around in the Burgomaster's office, looked
laughingly at all the serious faces and swore he was not the richest
among them, but not for all Strasburg and Alsace besides was he
capable of weeping over such a joke.

At last the Police-Inspector looked very significantly at him and
declared: In case Monsieur hoped by means of laughter to squeeze the
desired drops out of the well-known glands and out of the Meibomian,
the caruncle, and others, and thus thievishly to cover himself with
this window-pane moisture, he wished to remind him that he could gain
just as little by it as if he should blow his nose and try to profit
by that, as in the latter case it was well known that more tears
flowed from the eyes through the _ductus nasalis_ than were shed in
any church-pew during a funeral sermon. But the Alsatian assured him
he was only laughing in fun and not with serious intentions.

The Inspector for his part tried to drive something appropriate into
his eyes by holding them wide open and staring fixedly.

The Preacher-at-Early-Service Flachs looked like a Jew beggar riding a
runaway horse. Meanwhile his heart, which was already overcast with
the most promising sultry clouds caused by domestic and
church-troubles, could have immediately drawn up the necessary water,
as easily as the sun before bad weather, if only the floating-house
navigating toward him had not always come between as a much too
cheerful spectacle, and acted as a dam.

The Consistorial Councillor had learned to know his own nature from
New Year's and funeral sermons, and was positive that he himself would
be the first to be moved if only he started to make a moving address
to others. When therefore he saw himself and the others hanging so
long on the drying-line, he stood up and said with dignity: Every one
who had read his printed works knew for a certainty that he carried a
heart in his breast, which needed to repress such holy tokens as tears
are--so as not thereby to deprive any fellowman of something--rather
than laboriously to draw them to the surface with an ulterior motive.
"This heart has already shed them, but in secret, for Kabel was my
friend," he said, and looked around.

He noticed with pleasure that all were sitting there as dry as wooden
corks; at this special moment crocodiles, stags, elephants, witches,
ravens[10] could have wept more easily than the heirs, so disturbed
and enraged were they by Glanz. Flachs was the only one who had a
secret inspiration. He hastily summoned to his mind Kabel's charities
and the mean clothes and gray hair of the women who formed his
congregation at the early-service, Lazarus with his dogs, and his own
long coffin, and also the beheading of various people, Werther's
Sorrows, a small battlefield, and himself--how pitifully here in the
days of his youth he was struggling and tormenting himself over the
clause of the will--just three more jerks of the pump-handle and he
would have his water and the house.

"O Kabel, my Kabel!" continued Glanz, almost weeping for joy at the
prospect of the approaching tears of sorrow. "When once beside your
loving heart covered with earth my heart too shall mol--"

"I believe, honored gentlemen," said Flachs mournfully, arising and
looking around, his eyes brimming over, "I am weeping." After which he
sat down again and let them flow more cheerfully; he had feathered his
nest. Under the eyes of the other heirs he had snatched away the
prize-house from Glanz, who now extremely regretted his exertions,
since he had quite uselessly talked away half of his appetite. The
emotion of Flachs was placed on record and the house in Dog Street was
adjudged to him for good and all. The Burgomaster was heartily glad to
see the poor devil get it. It was the first time in the principality
of Haslau that the tears of a school-master and teacher-of-the-church
had been metamorphosed, not like those of the Heliades into light
amber, which incased an insect, but like those of the goddess Freya,
into gold. Glanz congratulated Flachs, and gayly drew his attention to
the fact that perhaps he, Glanz, had helped to move him. The rest drew
aside, by their separation accentuating their position on the dry road
from that of Flachs on the wet; all, however, remained intent upon the
rest of the will.

Then the reading of it was continued.


* * * * *


From the _Introduction to the Correspondence of Schiller and
W. von Humboldt_ (1830)


Schiller's poetic genius showed itself in his very first productions.
In spite of all their defects in form, in spite of many things which
to the mature artist seemed absolutely crude, _The Robbers_ and
_Fiesko_ gave evidence of remarkable inherent power. His genius
later betrayed itself in the longing for poetry, as for the native
atmosphere of his spirit, which longing constantly breaks out in his
varied philosophical and historical labors and is often hinted at in
his letters to me. It finally revealed itself in virile power and
refined purity in those dramas which will long remain the pride and
the renown of the German stage.

This poetic genius, however, is most closely wedded, in all its height
and depth, to thought; it manifests itself, in fact, in an
intellectuality which by analysis would separate everything into its
parts, and then by combination would unite all in one complete whole.
In this lies Schiller's peculiar individuality. He demanded of poetry
more profundity of thought and forced it to submit to a more rigid
intellectual unity than it had ever had before. This he did in a
two-fold manner--by binding it into a more strictly artistic form, and
by treating every poem in such a way that its subject-matter readily
broadened its individuality until it expressed a complete idea.

It is upon these peculiarities that the excellence which characterizes
Schiller as a writer rests. It is because of them that, in order to
bring out the greatest and best of which he was capable, he needed a
certain amount of time before his completely developed individuality,
to which his poetic genius was indissolubly united, could reach that
point of clearness and definiteness of expression which he demanded of
himself. * * *

On the other hand, it would probably be agreeable to the reader of
this correspondence if I should attempt briefly to show how my opinion
of Schiller's individuality was formed by intercourse with him, by
reminiscences of his conversation, by the comparison of his
productions in their successive sequence, and by a study of the
development of his intellect.

What must necessarily have impressed every student of Schiller as most
characteristic was the fact that thinking was the very substance of
his life, in a higher and more significant sense than perhaps has ever
been the case with any other person. His intellect was alive with
spontaneous and almost tireless activity, which ceased only when the
attacks of his physical infirmity became overpowering. Such activity
seemed to him a recreation rather than an effort, and was manifested
most conspicuously in conversation, for which Schiller appeared to
have a natural aptitude.

He never sought for deep subjects of conversation, but seemed rather
to leave the introduction of a subject to chance; but from each topic
he led the discourse up to a general point of view, and after a short
dialogue one found oneself in the very midst of a mentally stimulating
discussion. He always treated the central idea as an end to be
attained in common; he always seemed to need the help of the person
with whom he was conversing, for, although the latter always felt that
the idea was supplied by Schiller alone, Schiller never allowed him to
remain inactive.

This was the chief difference between Schiller's and Herder's mode of
conversing. Never, perhaps, has there been a man who talked with
greater charm than Herder, if one happened to catch him in an
agreeable mood--not a difficult matter when any kind of note was
struck with which he was in harmony.


All the extraordinary qualities of this justly admired man seemed to
gain double power in conversation, for which they were so peculiarly
adapted. The thought blossomed forth in expression with a grace and
dignity which appeared to proceed from the subject alone, although
really belonging only to the individual. Thus speech flowed on
uninterruptedly with a limpidness which still left something remaining
for one's own imagination, and yet with a _chiaroscuro_ which did not
prevent one from definitely grasping the thought. As soon as one
subject was exhausted a new one was taken up. Nothing was gained by
making objections which would only have served as a hindrance. One had
listened, one could even talk oneself, but one felt the lack of an
interchange of thought.

Schiller's speech was not really beautiful, but his mind constantly
strove, with acumen and precision, to make new intellectual conquests;
he held this effort under control, however, and soared above his
subject in perfect liberty. Hence, with a light and delicate touch he
utilized any side-issue which presented itself, and this was the
reason why his conversation was peculiarly rich in words that are so
evidently the inspiration of the moment; yet, in spite of such seeming
freedom in the treatment of the subject, the final end was not lost
sight of. Schiller always held with firmness the thread which was
bound to lead thither, and, if the conversation was not interrupted by
any mishap, he was not prone to bring it to a close until he had
reached the goal.

And as Schiller in his conversation always aimed to add new ground to
the domain of thought, so, in general, it may be said that his
intellectual activity was always characterized by an intense
spontaneity. His letters demonstrate these traits very perceptibly,
and he knew absolutely no other method of working.

He gave himself up to mere reading late in the evening only, and
during his frequently sleepless nights. His days were occupied with
various labors or with specific preparatory studies in connection
with them, his intellect being thus kept at high tension by work and

Mere studying undertaken with no immediate end in view save that of
acquiring knowledge, and which has such a fascination for those who
are familiar with it that they must be constantly on their guard lest
it cause them to neglect other more definite duties--such studying, I
say, he knew nothing about from experience, nor did he esteem it at
its proper value. Knowledge seemed to him too material, and the forces
of the intellect too noble, for him to see in this material anything
more than mere stuff to be worked up. It was only because he placed
more value upon the higher activity of the intellect, which creates
independently out of its own depths, that he had so little sympathy
with its efforts of a lower order. It is indeed remarkable from what a
small stock of material and how, in spite of wanting the means by
which such material is procured by others, Schiller obtained his
comprehensive theory of life (_Weltanschauung_), which, when once
grasped, fairly startles us by the intuitive truthfulness of genius;
for one can give no other name to that which originates without
outside aid.

Even in Germany he had traveled only in certain districts, while
Switzerland, of which his _William Tell_ contains such vivid
descriptions, he had never seen. Any one who has ever stood by the
Falls of the Rhine will involuntarily recall, at the sight, the
beautiful strophe in _The Diver_ in which this confusing tumult of
waters, that so captivates the eye, is depicted; and yet no personal
view of these rapids had served as the basis for Schiller's

But whatever Schiller did acquire from his own experience he grasped
with a clearness which also brought distinctly before him what he
learned from the description of others. Besides, he never neglected to
prepare himself for every subject by exhaustive reading. Anything that
might prove to be of use, even if discovered accidentally, fixed
itself firmly in his memory; and his tirelessly-working imagination,
which, with constant liveliness, elaborated now this now that part of
the material collected from every source, filled out the deficiencies
of such second-hand information.

In a manner quite similar he made the spirit of Greek poetry his own,
although his knowledge of it was gained exclusively from translations.
In this connection he spared himself no pains. He preferred
translations which disclaimed any particular merit in themselves, and
his highest consideration was for the literal classical paraphrases.

* * * _The Cranes of Ibycus_ and the _Festival of Victory_ wear the
colors of antiquity with all the purity and fidelity which could be
expected from a modern poet, and they wear them in the most beautiful
and most spirited manner. The poet, in these works, has quite absorbed
the spirit of the ancient world; he moves about in it with freedom,
and thus creates a new form of poetry which, in all its parts,
breathes only such a spirit. The two poems, however, are in striking
contrast with each other. _The Cranes of Ibycus_ permitted a
thoroughly epic development; what made the subject of intrinsic value
to the poet was the idea which sprung from it of the power of artistic
representation upon the human soul. This power of poetry, of an
invisible force created purely by the intellect and vanishing away
when brought into contact with reality, belonged essentially to the
sphere of ideas which occupied Schiller so intensely.

As many as eight years before the time when this subject assumed the
ballad form within his mind it had floated before his vision, as is
evident in the lines which are taken from his poem _The Artists_--

"Awed by the Furies' chorus dread
Murder draws down upon its head
The doom of death from their wild song."

This idea, moreover, permitted an exposition in complete harmony with
the spirit of antiquity; the latter had all the requisites for
bringing it into bold relief in all its purity and strength.
Consequently, every particular in the whole narrative is borrowed
immediately from the ancient world, especially the appearance and the
song of Eumenides. The chorus as employed by AEschylus is so
artistically interwoven with the modern poetic form, both in the
matter of rhyme and the length of the metre, that no portion of its
quiet grandeur is lost.

_The Festival of Victory_ is of a lyric, of a contemplative nature. In
this work the poet was able--indeed was compelled--to lend from his
own store an element which did not lie within the sphere of ideas and
the sentiments of antiquity; but everything else follows the spirit of
the Homeric poem with as great purity as it does in the _Cranes of
Ibycus_. The poem as a whole is clearly stamped with a higher, more
distinct, spirituality than is usual with the ancient singers; and it
is in this particular that it manifests its most conspicuous beauties.

The earlier poems of Schiller are also rich in particular traits
borrowed from the poems of the ancients, and into them he has often
introduced a higher significance than is found in the original. Let me
refer in this connection to his description of death from _The
Artists_--"The gentle bow of necessity"--which so beautifully recalls
the _gentle darts_ of Homer, where, however, the transfer of the
adjective from _darts_ to _bow_ gives to the thought a more tender and
a deeper significance.

Confidence in the intellectual power of man heightened to poetic form
is expressed in the distichs entitled _Columbus_, which are among the
most peculiar poetic productions that Schiller has given us. Belief in
the invisible force inherent in man, in the opinion, which is sublime
and deeply true, that there must be an inward mystic harmony between
it and the force which orders and governs the entire universe (for all
truth can only be a reflection of the eternal primal Truth), was a
characteristic feature of Schiller's way of thinking. It harmonized
also with the persistence with which he followed up every intellectual
task until it was satisfactorily completed. We see the same thought
expressed in the same kind of metaphor in the bold but beautiful
expression which occurs in the letters from Raphael to Julius in the
magazine, _The Thalia_--

"When Columbus made the risky wager with an untraveled sea." * * *

[Illustration: #UNIVERSITY OF BERLIN# With the statues of Wilhelm and
Alexander von Humboldt]

Art and poetry were directly joined to what was most noble in man;
they were represented to be the medium by means of which he first
awakens to the consciousness of that nature, reaching out beyond the
finite, which dwells within him. Both of them were thus placed upon
the height from which they really originate. To safeguard them upon
this height, to save them from being desecrated by every paltry and
belittling view, to rescue them from every sentiment which did not
spring from their purity, was really Schiller's aim, and appeared to
him as his true life-mission determined for him by the original
tendency of his nature.

His first and most urgent demands are, therefore, addressed to the
poet himself, from whom he requires not merely genius and talent
isolated, as it were, in their activity, but a mood which takes
possession of the entire soul and is in harmony with the sublimity of
his vocation; it must be not a mere momentary exaltation, but an
integral part of character. "Before he undertakes to influence the
best among his contemporaries he should make it his first and most
important business to elevate his own self to the purest and noblest
ideal of humanity." * * * To no one does Schiller apply this demand
more rigorously than to himself.

Of him it can truthfully be said that matters which bordered upon the
common or even upon the ordinary, never had the slightest hold upon
him; that he transferred completely the high and noble views which
filled his thoughts to his mode of feeling and his life; and that in
his compositions he was ever, with uniform force, inspired with a
striving for the ideal. This was true even of his minor productions.

To assign to poetry, among human endeavors, the lofty and serious
place of which I have spoken above, to defend it from the petty point
of view of those who, mistaking its dignity, and the pedantic attitude
of those who, mistaking its peculiar character, regard it only as a
trifling adornment and embellishment of life or else ask an immediate
moral effect and teaching from it--this, as one cannot repeat too
often, is deeply rooted in the German habit of thought and feeling.
Schiller in his poetry gave utterance--in his own individual manner,
however--to whatever his German nature had implanted in him, to the
harmony which rang out to him from the depths of the language, the
mysterious effect of which he so cleverly perceived and knew how to
use so masterfully. * * *

The deeper and truer trend of the German resides in his highly
developed sensibility which keeps him closer to the truths of nature,
in his inclination to live in the world of ideas and of emotions
dependent upon them, and, in fact, in everything which is connected
therewith. * * *

A favorite idea which often engaged Schiller's attention was the need
of educating the crude natural man--as he understood him--through art,
before he could be left to attain culture through reason. Schiller has
enlarged upon this theme on many occasions, both in prose and verse.
His imagination dwelt by preference upon the beginnings of
civilization in general, upon the transition from the nomadic life to
the agricultural, upon the covenant established in naive faith with
pious Mother Earth, as he so beautifully expresses it.

Whatever mythology offered here as kindred material, he grasped with
eagerness and firmness. Faithfully following the traces of fable, he
made of Demeter, the chief personage in the group of agricultural
deities, a figure as wonderful as it was appealing, by uniting in her
breast human feelings with divine. It was long a cherished plan with
Schiller to treat in epic form the earliest Attic civilization
resulting from foreign immigration. _The Eleusinian Festival_,
however, replaced this plan, which was never executed. * * *

The merely emotional, the fervid, the simply descriptive, in fact
every variety of poetry derived directly from contemplation and
feeling, are found in Schiller in countless single passages and in
whole poems. * * * But the most remarkable evidence of the consummate
genius of the poet is seen in _The Song of the Bell_, which, in
changing metre, in descriptions full of vivacity where a few touches
represent a whole picture, runs through the varied experiences in the
life of man and of society; for it expresses the feelings which arise
in each of them, and ever adapts the whole, symbolically, to the tones
of the bell, the casting and completing of which the poem accompanies
throughout in all its various stages. I know of no poem, in any
language, which shows so wide a poetic world in so small a compass,
that so runs through the scale of all that is deepest in human
feelings, and, in the guise of a lyric, depicts life in its important
events and epochs as if in an epic poem confined within natural
limits. But the poetic clearness is enhanced by the fact that a
subject which is portrayed as actually existing, corresponds with the
shadowy visions of the imagination; and the two series thus formed run
parallel with each other to the same end. * * *

Schiller was snatched from the world in the full maturity of his
intellectual power, though he would undoubtedly have been able to
perform an endless amount of additional work. His scope was so
unlimited that he would never have been able to find a goal, and the
constantly increasing activity of his mind would never have allowed
him time for stopping. For long years ahead he would have been able to
enjoy the happiness, the rapture, yes, the bliss of his occupation as
a poet, as he so inimitably describes it in one of the letters in this
collection, written about a plan for an idyl. His life ended indeed
before the customary limit had been reached, yet, while it lasted, he
worked exclusively and uninterruptedly in the realm of ideas and

Of no one else, perhaps, can it be said so truthfully that "he had
thrown away the fear of that which was earthly and had escaped out of
the narrow gloomy life into the realm of the ideal." And it may be
observed, in closing, that he had lived surrounded only by the most
exalted ideas and the most brilliant visions which it is possible for
a mortal to appropriate and to create. One who thus departs from earth
cannot be regarded as otherwise than happy.



Professor of the German Language and Literature, Northwestern

The latter half of the eighteenth century has been styled the Age of
Enlightenment, a convenient name for a period in which there was a
noticeable attempt to face the obvious, external facts of life in a
clear-eyed and courageous way. The centralizing of political power in
the hands of Louis XIV. of France and his successors had been
accompanied by a "standardizing" of human affairs which favored
practical efficiency and the easier running of the social machine, but
which was far from helpful to the self-expression of distinctly-marked

The French became sovereign arbiters of taste and form, but their
canons of art were far from nature and the free impulses of mankind.
The particular development of this spirit of clarity in Berlin, the
centre of German influence, lay in the tendency to challenge all
historic continuity, and to seek uniformity based upon practical

Rousseau's revolutionary protests against inequality and
artificiality--particularly his startling treatise _On the Origin and
Foundations of Inequality among Men_ (1754)--and his fervent preaching
of the everlasting superiority of the heart to the head, constitute
the most important factor in a great revolt against regulated social
institutions, which led, at length, to the "Storm and Stress" movement
in Germany, that boisterous forerunner of Romanticism, yet so unlike
it that even Schlegel compared its most typical representatives to the
biblical herd of swine which stampeded--into oblivion. Herder,
proclaiming the vital connection between the soul of a whole nation
and its literature, and preaching a religion of the feelings rather
than a gospel of "enlightenment;" young Goethe, by his daring and
untrammeled Shakespearian play, _Goetz von Berlichingen_, and by his
open defiance, announced in _Werther_, of the authority of all
artistic rules and standards; and Buerger, asserting the right of the
common man to be the only arbiter of literary values, were, each in
his own way, upsetting the control of an artificial "classicism."
Immanuel Kant, whose deep and dynamic thinking led to a revolution
comparable to a cosmic upheaval in the geological world, compelled his
generation to discover a vast new moral system utterly disconcerting
to the shallow complacency of those who had no sense of higher values
than "practical efficiency."

When, in 1794, Goethe and Schiller, now matured and fully seasoned by
a deep-going classical and philosophical discipline, joined their
splendid forces and devoted their highest powers to the building up of
a comprehensive esthetic philosophy, the era was fully come for new
constructive efforts on German soil. Incalculably potent was the
ferment liberated by Goethe's _Wilhelm Meister_ (1795-1796)--its
attacking the problem of life from the emotional and esthetic side;
its defense of the "call" of the individual as outweighing the whole
social code; its assertion that genius outranks general laws, and
imagination every-day rules; its abundance of "poetic" figures taking
their part in the romance.

The birth of the Romantic School can be pretty definitely set at about
1796; its cradle was in the quaint university town of Jena, at that
time the home of Schiller and his literary-esthetic enterprises, and
only a few miles away from Goethe in Weimar. Five names embody about
all that was most significant in the earlier movement: Fichte, the
brothers Friedrich and Wilhelm Schlegel, Tieck, and Novalis.

The discussion of Fichte belonging to another division of this work,
it is enough to recall here that he was already professor of
philosophy at Jena when the Schlegel brothers made their home there
in 1796, and that it was while there that he published his _Doctrine
of Science_, the charter of independence of the Romantic School,
announcing the annihilation of physical values, proclaiming the soul
as above things perceived, the inner spirit as that alembic in which
all objects are produced. With almost insolent freshness Fichte
asserted a re-valuation of all values: what had been "enlightenment"
was now to be called shallowness; "ancient crudities" were to be
reverenced as deeper perceptions of truth; "fine literature" was to be
accounted a frivolous thing. Fichte made a stirring appeal to young
men, especially, as being alone able to perceive the meaning of
science and poetry.

To take part in the contagion of these ideas, there settled in Jena in
1796 the two phenomenal Schlegel brothers. It is not easy or necessary
to separate, at this period, the activities of their agile minds. From
their early days, as sons in a most respectable Lutheran parsonage in
North Germany, both had shown enormous hunger for cultural
information, both had been voracious in exploiting the great libraries
within their reach. It is generally asserted that they were lacking in
essential virility and stamina; as to the brilliancy of their
acquisitions, their fineness of appreciation, and their wit, there can
be no question whatever. Madame de Stael called them "the fathers of
modern criticism," a title which has not been challenged by the best
authorities of our time.

Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829), the younger of the two, is counted
to be the keener and more original mind. He had a restless and
unsettled youth, mostly spent in studies; after various
disappointments, he determined to make classical antiquity his
life-work; while mastering the body of ancient literature, he was
assimilating, with much the same sort of eagerness, the philosophical
systems of Kant and Fichte. His first notable publication was an
esthetic-philosophic essay, in the ample style of Schiller's later
discourses, _Concerning the Study of Greek Poetry_. He found in the
Greeks of the age of Sophocles the ideal of a fully developed
humanity, and exhibited throughout the discussion a remarkable mastery
of the whole field of classical literature. Just at this time he
removed to Jena to join his older brother, Wilhelm, who was connected
with Schiller's monthly _The Hours_ and his annual _Almanac of the
Muses_. By a strange condition of things Friedrich was actively
engaged at the moment in writing polemic reviews for the organs of
Reichardt, one of Schiller's most annoying rivals in literary
journalism; these reviews became at once noticeable for their depth
and vigorous originality, particularly that one which gave a new and
vital characterization of Lessing. In 1797 he moved to Berlin, where
he gathered a group about him, including Tieck, and in this way
established the external and visible body of the Romantic School,
which the brilliant intellectual atmosphere of the Berlin salons, with
their wealth of gifted and cultured women, did much to promote. In
1799 both he and Tieck joined the Romantic circle at Jena.

In Berlin he published in 1798 the first volume of the _Athenaeum_,
that journal which in a unique way represents the pure Romantic ideal
at its actual fountain-head. It survived for three years, the last
volume appearing in 1800. Its aim was to "collect all rays of human
culture into one focus," and, more particularly, to confute the claim
of the party of "enlightenment" that the earlier ages of human
development were poor and unworthy of respect on the part of the
closing eighteenth century. A very large part of the journal was
written by the two brothers, Friedrich furnishing the most aggressive
contributions, more notably being responsible for the epigrammatic
_Fragments_, which became, in their, detached brevity and
irresponsibility, a very favorite model for the form of Romantic
doctrine. "I can talk daggers," he had said when younger, and he wrote
the greater part of these, though some were contributed by Wilhelm
Schlegel, by his admirable wife Caroline, by Schleiermacher, and
Novalis. The root of this form lies in French thinking and
expression--especially the short deliverances of Chamfort, the
epigrammatist of the French Revolution. These Orphic-apocalyptic
sentences are a sort of foundation for a new Romantic bible. They are
absolutely disconnected, they show a mixture and interpenetration of
different spheres of thought and observation, with an unexpected
deference to the appraisals of classic antiquity. Their range is
unlimited: philosophy and psychology, mathematics and esthetics,
philosophy and natural science, sociology and society, literature and
the theatre are all largely represented in their scope.

Friedrich Schlegel's epigrammatic wit is the direct precursor of
Heine's clever conceits in prose: one is instantly reminded of him by
such _Athenaeum_-fragments as "Kant, the Copernicus of Philosophy;"
"Plato's philosophy is a worthy preface to the religion of the
future;" "So-called 'happy marriages' are related to love, as a
correct poem to an improvised song;" "In genuine prose all words
should be printed in italics;" "Catholicism is naive Christianity;
Protestantism is sentimental." The sheer whimsicality of phrase seems
to be at times its own excuse for being, as in an explanation of
certain elegiac poems as "the sensation of misery in the contemplation
of the silliness of the relations of banality to craziness;" but there
are many sentences which go deep below the surface--none better
remembered, perhaps, than the dictum, "The French Revolution, Fichte's
_Doctrine of Science_, and Goethe's _Wilhelm Meister_ are the greatest
symptoms of our age."

In the _Athenaeum_ both brothers give splendid testimony to their
astonishing and epoch-making gift in transferring classical and
Romance metrical forms into elegant, idiomatic German; they give
affectionate attention to the insinuating beauty of elegiac verse, and
secure charming effects in some of the most alien Greek forms, not to
mention _terza rima, ottava rima_, the Spanish gloss, and not a few
very notable sonnets.

The literary criticisms of the _Athenaeum_ are characteristically free
and aggressive, particularly in the frequent sneers at the flat
"homely" poetry of sandy North Germany. At the end of the second
volume, the "faked" _Literary Announcements_ are as daring as any
attempts of American newspaper humor. When the sum of the contents and
tendency of the journal is drawn, it is a strange mixture of
discriminating philosophy, devoted Christianity, Greek sensuousness,
and pornographic mysticism. There is a never-ending esthetic coquetry
with the flesh, with a serious defense of some very Greek practices
indeed. All of this is thoroughly typical of the spirit of the
Romantic school, and it is by no means surprising that Friedrich's
first book, the novel _Lucinda_ (1799), should stand as the supreme
unsavory classic in this field. That excellent divine, Schleiermacher,
exalted this document of the Rights of the Flesh as "a paean of Love,
in all its completeness," but it is a feeble, tiresome performance,
absolutely without structure, quite deserving the saucy epigram on
which it was pilloried by the wit of the time:

Pedantry once of Fancy begged the dole
Of one brief kiss; she pointed him to Shame.
He, impotent and wanton, then Shame's favors stole.
Into the world at length a dead babe came--
"_Lucinda_" was its name.

The preaching of "religion," "womanliness," and the "holy fire of
divine enjoyment" makes an unedifying _melange_: "The holiest thing in
any human being is his own mind, his own power, his own will;" "You do
all according to your own mind, and refuse to be swayed by what is
usual and proper." Schleiermacher admired in it that "highest wisdom
and profoundest religion" which lead people to "yield to the rhythm of
fellowship and friendship, and to disturb no harmony of love." In more
prosaic diction, the upshot of its teaching was the surrender to
momentary feelings, quite divorced from Laws or Things. The only
morality is "full Humanity;" "Nature alone is worthy of honor, and
sound health alone is worthy of love;" "Let the discourse of love,"
counsels Julius, "be bold and free, not more chastened than a Roman
elegy"--which is certainly not very much--and the skirmishes of
inclination are, in fact, set forth with an almost antique simplicity.
Society is to be developed only by "wit," which is seriously put into
comparison with God Almighty. As to practical ethics, one is told that
the most perfect life is but a pure vegetation; the right to indolence
is that which really makes the discrimination between choice and
common beings, and is the determining principle of nobility. "The
divine art of being indolent" and "the blissful bosom of
half-conscious self-forgetfulness" naturally lead to the thesis that
the empty, restless exertion of men in general is nothing but Gothic
perversity, and "boots naught but _ennui_ to ourselves and others."
Man is by nature "a serious beast; one must labor to counteract this
shameful tendency." Schleiermacher ventured, it is true, to raise the
question as to whether the hero ought not to have some trace of the
chivalrous about him, or ought not to do something effective in the
outer world--and posterity has fully supported this inquiry.

Friedrich's next most important move was to Paris (1802), where he

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