Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 4 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

surrender the soul to the fantasy, and not to disturb the sweet
dallyings of the young mother with her child. But rarely is the mind
so intelligent after the golden age of its innocence. It would fain
possess the soul alone; and even when she supposes herself alone with
her natural love, the understanding listens furtively and substitutes
for the holy child's-play mere memories of former purposes or
prospects of new ones. Yes, it even continues to give to the hollow,
cold illusions a tinge of color and a fleeting heat; and thus by its
imitative skill it tries to steal from the innocent fantasy its very
innermost being.

But the youthful soul does not allow itself to be cheated by the
cunning of the prematurely old Understanding, and is always watching
while its darling plays with the beautiful pictures of the beautiful
world. Willingly she allows her brow to be adorned with the wreaths
which the child plaits from the blossoms of life, and willingly she
sinks into waking slumber, dreaming of the music of love, hearing the
friendly and mysterious voices of the gods, like the separate sounds
of a distant romance.

Old, well-known feelings make music from the depths of the past and
the future. They touch the listening spirit but lightly, and quickly
lose themselves in the background of hushed music and dim love. Every
one lives and loves, complains and rejoices, in beautiful confusion.
Here at a noisy feast the lips of all the joyful guests open in
general song, and there the lonely maiden becomes mute in the presence
of the friend in whom she would fain confide, and with smiling mouth
refuses the kiss. Thoughtfully I strew flowers on the grave of the
prematurely dead son, flowers which presently, full of joy and hope, I
offer to the bride of the beloved brother; while the high priestess
beckons to me and holds out her hand for a solemn covenant to swear by
the pure eternal fire eternal purity and never-dying enthusiasm. I
hasten away from the altar and the priestess to seize my sword and
plunge with the host of heroes into a battle, which I soon forget,
seeing in the deepest solitude only the sky and myself.

The soul that has such dreams in sleep continues to have them even
when it is awake. It feels itself entwined by the blossoms of love, it
takes care not to destroy the loose wreaths; it gladly gives itself up
a prisoner, consecrates itself to the fantasy, and willingly allows
itself to be ruled by the child, which rewards all maternal cares by
its sweet playfulness.

Then a fresh breath of the bloom of youth and a halo of child-like
ecstasy comes over the whole of life. The man deifies his Beloved, the
mother her child, and all men everlasting humanity.

Now the soul understands the wail of the nightingale and the smile of
the new-born babe; the significance of the flowers and the mysterious
hieroglyphics of the starry sky; the holy import of life as well as
the beautiful language of Nature. All things speak to it, and
everywhere it sees the lovely spirit through the delicate envelope.

On this gaily decorated floor it glides through the light dance of
life, innocent, and concerned only to follow the rhythm of sociability
and friendship, and not to disturb the harmony of love. And during it
all an eternal song, of which it catches now and then a few words
which adumbrate still higher wonders.

Ever more beautifully this magic circle encompasses the charmed soul,
and that which it forms or speaks sounds like a wonderful romance of
childhood's beautiful and mysterious divinities--a romantic tale,
accompanied by the bewitching music of the feelings, and adorned with
the fairest flowers of lovely life.

APHORISMS

By FRIEDRICH SCHLEGEL

From the _Lyceum and the Athenaeum_ (1797-1800)

TRANSLATED BY LOUIS H. GRAY

Perfect understanding of a classic work should never be possible; but
those who are cultivated and who are still striving after further
culture, must always desire to learn more from it.

If an author is to be able to write well upon a theme, he must no
longer feel interest in it; the thought which is to be soberly
expressed must already be entirely past and must no longer personally
concern the writer. So long as the artist invents and is inspired, he
is in an unfavorable situation, at least for communicating his
concepts. He will then wish to say everything--a false tendency of
young geniuses, or an instinctively correct prejudice of old bunglers.
In this way he mistakes the value and the dignity of self-restraint,
although for the artist, as for the man, this is the first and the
last, the most needful and the highest.

We should never appeal to the spirit of antiquity as an authority.
There is this peculiarity about spirits: they cannot be grasped with
the hands and be held up before others. Spirits reveal themselves only
to spirits. Here, too, the briefest and most concise course would
doubtless be to prove, through good works, our possession of the faith
which alone gives salvation.

He who desires something infinite knows not what he desires; but the
converse of this proposition is not true.

In the ordinary kind of fair or even good translation it is precisely
the best part of a work that is lost.

It is impossible to offend a man if he will not be offended.

Every honest author writes for no one or for all men; he who writes
that this one or that one may read him, deserves not to be read at
all.

In the poetry of the Ancients we see the perfection of the letter: in
that of the moderns we divine the growth of the spirit.

The Germans are said to be the foremost nation of the world as regards
artistic sense and scientific genius. Very true, only--there are very
few Germans.

Almost all marriages are only concubinages, morganatic wedlock, or,
rather, provisional attempts and remote approximations to a real
marriage, the peculiar essence of which consists in the fact that more
than one person are to become but one, not in accordance with the
paradoxes of this system or that, but in harmony with all spiritual
and temporal laws. A fine concept, although its realization seems to
have many grave difficulties. For this very reason there should here
be the least possible restriction of the caprice which may well have a
word to say when it becomes a question of whether one is to be an
individual in himself or is to be merely an integral part of a
corporate personality; nor is it easy to see what objections, on
principle, could be made to a marriage a quatre. If the State,
however, is determined to hold together, even by force, the
unsuccessful attempts at marriage, it thereby impedes the very
possibility of marriage, which might be furthered by new--and perhaps
happier--attempts.

A regiment of soldiers on parade is, according to some philosophers, a
system.

A man can only become a philosopher, he cannot be one; so soon as he
believes that he is one, he ceases to become one.

The printed page is to thought what a nursery is to the first kiss.

The historian is a prophet looking backward.

There are people whose entire activity consists in saying "No." It
would be no small thing always to be able rightly to say "No," but he
who can do nothing more, surely cannot do it rightly. The taste of
these negationists is an admirable shears to cleanse the extremities
of genius; their enlightenment a great snuffer for the flame of
enthusiasm; and their reason a mild laxative for immoderate passion
and love.

Every great philosopher has always so explained his
predecessors--often unintentionally--that it seemed as though they had
not in the least been understood before him.

As a transitory condition skepticism is logical insurrection; as a
system it is anarchy; skeptical method would thus be approximately
like insurgent government.

At the phrases "his philosophy," "my philosophy," we always recall the
words in Nathan the Wise: "Who owns God? What sort of a God is that
who is owned by a man?"

What happens in poetry happens never or always; otherwise, it is no
true poetry. We ought not to believe that it is now actually
happening.

Women have absolutely no sense of art, though they may have of poetry.
They have no natural disposition for the sciences, though they may
have for philosophy. They are by no means wanting in power of
speculation and intuitive perception of the infinite; they lack only
power of abstraction, which is far more easy to be learned.

That is beautiful which is charming and sublime at the same time.

Romantic poetry is a progressive universal poetry. Its mission is not
merely to reunite all the separate categories of poetry, and to bring
poetry into contact with philosophy and with rhetoric. It will, and
should, also now mingle and now amalgamate poetry and prose, genius
and criticism, artistic poetry and natural poetry; make poetry living
and social, and life and society poetic; poetize wit; and fill and
saturate the forms of art with sterling material of every kind, and
inspire them with the vibrations of humor. It embraces everything, if
only it is poetic--from the greatest system of art which, in its turn,
includes many systems within itself, down to the sigh, the kiss, which
the musing child breathes forth in artless song. It can so be lost in
what it represents that it might be supposed that its one and all is
the characterization of poetic individuals of every type; and yet no
form has thus far arisen which would be equally adapted perfectly to
express the author's mind; so that many artists who desired only to
write a romance have more or less described themselves. Romantic
poetry alone can, like the epic, become a mirror of the entire world
that surrounds it, and a picture of its age. And yet, free from all
real and ideal interests, it, too, most of all, can soar, mid-way
between that which is presented and him who presents, on the wings of
poetic reflection; it can ever re-intensify this reflection and
multiply it as in an endless series of mirrors. It is capable of the
highest and of the most universal culture--not merely from within
outward, but also from without inward--since it organizes similarly
all parts of that which is destined to become a whole; thus the
prospect of an endlessly developing classicism is opened up to it.
Among the arts romantic poetry is what wit is to philosophy, and what
society, association, friendship, and love are in life. Other types of
poetry are finished, and can now be completely analyzed. The romantic
type of poetry is still in process of development; indeed, it is its
peculiar essence that it can eternally only be in process of
development, and that it can never be completed. It can be exhausted
by no theory, and only a divinatory criticism might dare to wish to
characterize its ideal. It alone is infinite, even as it alone is
free; and as its first law it recognizes that the arbitrariness of the
poet brooks no superior law. The romantic style of poetry is the only
one which is more than a style, and which is, as it were, poetry
itself; for in a certain sense all poetry is, or should be, romantic.

In the ancients every man has found what he needed or
desired--especially himself.

The French Revolution, Fichte's _Wissenschaftslehre_, and Goethe's
_Wilhelm Meister_ are the three greatest tendencies of the age.
Whoever is offended at this juxtaposition, and whoever can deem no
revolution important which is not boisterous and material, has not yet
risen to the broad and lofty viewpoint of the history of mankind. Even
in our meagre histories of culture, which, for the most part, resemble
a collection of variant readings accompanied by a running commentary
the classical text of which has perished, many a little book of which
the noisy rabble took scant notice in its day, plays a greater role
than all that this rabble did.

It is very one-sided and presumptuous to assert that there is only one
Mediator. To the ideal Christian--and in this respect the unique
Spinoza comes nearest to being one--everything ought to be a Mediator.

He alone can be an artist who has a religion of his own, an original
view of the infinite.

It is a peculiar trait of humanity that it must exalt itself above
humanity.

Plato's philosophy is a worthy preface to the religion of the future.

Man is free when he brings forth God or makes Him visible; and thereby
he becomes immortal.

The morality of a book lies not in its theme or in the relation of the
writer to his public, but in the spirit of the treatment. If this
breathes the full abundance of humanity, it is moral. If it is merely
the work of an isolated power and art, it is not moral.

He is an artist who has his centre within himself. He who lacks this
must choose a definite leader and mediator outside himself--naturally,
not forever, but only at the first. For without a living centre man
cannot exist, and if he does not yet have it within himself he can
seek it only in a human being, and only a human being and his centre
can arouse and awaken the artist's own.

NOVALIS (FRIEDRICH VON HARDENBERG)

* * * * *

THE STORY OF HYACINTH AND ROSEBLOSSOM

From _The Novices at Sais_ (1798)

TRANSLATED BY LILLIE WINTER

Long ages ago there lived in the far west a guileless youth. He was
very good, but at the same time peculiar beyond measure. He constantly
grieved over nothing at all, always went about alone and silent, sat
down by himself whenever the others played and were happy, and was
always thinking about strange things. Woods and caves were his
favorite haunts, and there he talked constantly with birds and
animals, with rocks and trees--naturally not a word of sense, nothing
but stuff silly enough to make one die a-laughing. Yet he continued to
remain morose and grave in spite of the fact that the squirrel, the
long-tailed monkey, the parrot, and the bullfinch took great pains to
distract him and lead him into the right path. The goose would tell
fairy-tales, and in the midst of them the brook would tinkle a ballad;
a great heavy stone would caper about ludicrously; the rose stealing
up affectionately behind him would creep through his locks, and the
ivy stroke his careworn forehead. But his melancholy and his gravity
were obstinate. His parents were greatly grieved; they did not know
what to do. He was healthy and ate well. His parents had never hurt
his feelings, nor until a few years since had any one been more
cheerful and lively than he; always he had been at the head of every
game, and was well liked by all the girls. He was very handsome
indeed, looked like a picture, danced beautifully. Among the girls
there was one sweet and very pretty child.

[Illustration: #NOVALIS# (Friedrich von Hardenberg) EDUARD EICHENS]

She looked as though she were of wax, with hair like silk spun of
gold, lips as red as cherries, a figure like a little doll, eyes black
as the raven. Such was her charm that whoever saw her might have pined
away with love. At that time Roseblossom, that was her name, cherished
a heart-felt affection for the handsome Hyacinth, that was his name,
and he loved her with all his life. The other children did not know
it. A little violet had been the first to tell them; the house-cats
had noticed it, to be sure, for their parents' homes stood near each
other. When, therefore, Hyacinth was standing at night at his window
and Roseblossom at hers, and the pussies ran by on a mouse-hunt, they
would see both standing, and would often laugh and titter so loudly
that the children would hear them and grow angry. The violet had
confided it to the strawberry, she told it to her friend, the
gooseberry, and she never stopped taunting when Hyacinth passed; so
that very soon the whole garden and the goods heard the news, and
whenever Hyacinth went out they called on every side: "Little
Roseblossom is my sweetheart!" Now Hyacinth was vexed, and again he
could not help laughing from the bottom of his heart when the lizard
would come sliding up, seat himself on a warm stone, wag his little
tail, and sing

Little Roseblossom, good and kind,
Suddenly was stricken blind.
Her mother Hyacinth she thought
And to embrace him forthwith sought.
But when she felt the face was strange,
Just think, no terror made her change!
But on his cheek pressed she her kiss,
And she had noted naught amiss.

Alas, how soon did all this bliss pass away! There came along a man
from foreign lands; he had traveled everywhere, had a long beard,
deep-set eyes, terrible eyebrows, a strange cloak with many folds and
queer figures woven in it. He seated himself in front of the house
that belonged to Hyacinth's parents. Now Hyacinth was very curious and
sat down beside him and fetched him bread and wine. Then the man
parted his white beard and told stories until late at night and
Hyacinth did not stir nor did he tire of listening. As far as one
could learn afterward the man had related much about foreign lands,
unknown regions, astonishingly wondrous things, staying there three
days and creeping down into deep pits with Hyacinth. Roseblossom
cursed the old sorcerer enough, for Hyacinth was all eagerness for his
tales and cared for nothing, scarcely even eating a little food.
Finally the man took his departure, not, however, without leaving
Hyacinth a booklet that not a soul could read. The youth had even
given him fruit, bread, and wine to take along and had accompanied him
a long way. Then he came back melancholy and began an entirely new
mode of life. Roseblossom grieved for him very pitifully, for from
that time on he paid little attention to her and always kept to
himself.

Now it came about that he returned home one day and was like one
new-born. He fell on his parents' neck and wept. "I must depart for
foreign lands," he said; "the strange old woman in the forest told me
that I must get well again; she threw the book into the fire and urged
me to come to you and ask for your blessing. Perhaps I shall be back
soon, perhaps never more. Say good-bye to Roseblossom for me. I should
have liked to speak to her, I do not know what is the matter,
something drives me away; whenever I want to think of old times,
mightier thoughts rush in immediately; my peace is gone, my courage
and love with it, I must go in quest of them. I should like to tell
you whither, but I do not know myself; thither where dwells the mother
of all things, the veiled virgin. For her my heart burns. Farewell!"

He tore himself away and departed. His parents lamented and shed
tears. Roseblossom kept in her chamber and wept bitterly. Hyacinth now
hastened as fast as he could through valleys and wildernesses, across
mountains and streams, toward the mysterious country. Everywhere he
asked men and animals, rocks and trees, for the sacred goddess (Isis).
Some laughed, some were silent, nowhere did he receive an answer. At
first he passed through wild, uninhabited regions, mist and clouds
obstructed his path, it was always storming; later he found unbounded
deserts of glowing hot sand, and as he wandered his mood changed, time
seemed to grow longer, and his inner unrest was calmed. He became more
tranquil and the violent excitement within him was gradually
transformed to a gentle but strong impulse, which took possession of
his whole nature. It seemed as though many years lay behind him. Now,
too, the region again became richer and more varied, the air warm and
blue, the path more level; green bushes attracted him with their
pleasant shade but he did not understand their language, nor did they
seem to speak, and yet they filled his heart with verdant colors, with
quiet and freshness. Mightier and mightier grew within him that sweet
longing, broader and softer the leaves, noisier and happier the birds
and animals, balmier the fruits, darker the heavens, warmer the air
and more fiery his love; faster and faster passed the Time, as though
it knew that it was approaching the goal.

One day he came upon a crystal spring and a bevy of flowers that were
going down to a valley between black columns reaching to the sky. With
familiar words they greeted him kindly. "My dear countrymen," he said,
"pray, where am I to find the sacred abode of Isis? It must be
somewhere in this vicinity, and you are probably better acquainted
here than I." "We, too, are only passing through this region," the
flowers answered; "a family of spirits is traveling and we are making
ready the road and preparing lodgings for them; but we came through a
region lately where we heard her name called. Just walk upward in the
direction from which we are coming and you will be sure to learn
more." The flowers and the spring smiled as they said this, offered
him a drink of fresh water, and went on.

Hyacinth followed their advice, asked and asked, and finally reached
that long-sought dwelling concealed behind palms and other choice
plants. His heart beat with infinite longing and the most delicious
yearning thrilled him in this abode of the eternal seasons. Amid
heavenly fragrance he fell into slumber, since naught but dreams might
lead him to the most sacred place. To the tune of charming melodies
and in changing harmonies did his dream guide him mysteriously through
endless apartments filled with curious things. Everything seemed so
familiar to him and yet amid a splendor that he had never seen; then
even the last tinge of earthliness vanished as though dissipated in
the air, and he stood before the celestial virgin. He lifted the
filmy, shimmering veil and Roseblossom fell into his arms. From afar a
strain of music accompanied the mystery of the loving reunion, the
outpourings of their longing, and excluded all that was alien from
this delightful spot. After that Hyacinth lived many years with
Roseblossom near his happy parents and comrades, and innumerable
grandchildren thanked the mysterious old woman for her advice and her
fire; for at that time people got as many children as they wanted.

APHORISMS[33]

By NOVALIS

TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC H. HEDGE

Where no gods are, spectres rule.

The best thing that the French achieved by their Revolution, was a
portion of Germanity.

Germanity is genuine popularity, and therefore an ideal.

Where children are, there is the golden age.

Spirit is now active here and there: when will Spirit be active in the
whole? When will mankind, in the mass, begin to consider?

Nature is pure Past, foregone freedom; and therefore, throughout, the
soil of history.

The antithesis of body and spirit is one of the most remarkable and
dangerous of all antitheses. It has played an important part in
history.

Only by comparing ourselves, as men, with other rational beings, could
we know what we truly are, what position we occupy.

The history of Christ is as surely poetry as it is history. And, in
general, only that history is history which might also be fable.

The Bible begins gloriously with Paradise, the symbol of youth, and
ends with the everlasting kingdom, with the holy city. The history of
every man should be a Bible.

Prayer is to religion what thinking is to philosophy. To pray is to
make religion.

The more sinful man feels himself, the more Christian he is.

Christianity is opposed to science, to art, to enjoyment in the proper
sense.

It goes forth from the common man. It inspires the great majority of
the limited on earth.

It is the germ of all democracy, the highest fact in the domain of the
popular.

Light is the symbol of genuine self-possession. Therefore light,
according to analogy, is the action of the self-contact of matter.
Accordingly, day is the consciousness of the planet, and while the
sun, like a god, in eternal self-action, inspires the centre, one
planet after another closes one eye for a longer or shorter time, and
with cool sleep refreshes itself for new life and contemplation.
Accordingly, here, too, there is religion. For is the life of the
planets aught else but sun-worship?

The Holy Ghost is more than the Bible. This should be our teacher of
religion, not the dead, earthly, equivocal letter.

All faith is miraculous, and worketh miracles.

Sin is indeed the real evil in the world. All calamity proceeds from
that. He who understands sin, understands virtue and Christianity,
himself and the world.

The greatest of miracles is a virtuous act.

If a man could suddenly believe, in sincerity, that he was moral, he
would be so.

We need not fear to admit that man has a preponderating tendency to
evil. So much the better is he by nature, for only the unlike
attracts.

Everything distinguished (peculiar) deserves ostracism. Well for it if
it ostracizes itself. Everything absolute must quit the world.

A time will come, and that soon, when all men will be convinced that
there can be no king without a republic, and no republic without a
king; that both are as inseparable as body and soul. The true king
will be a republic, the true republic a king.

In cheerful souls there is no wit. Wit shows a disturbance of the
equipoise.

Most people know not how interesting they are, what interesting things
they really utter. A true representation of themselves, a record and
estimate of their sayings, would make them astonished at themselves,
would help them to discover in themselves an entirely new world.

Man is the Messiah of Nature.

The soul is the most powerful of all poisons. It is the most
penetrating and diffusible stimulus.

Every sickness is a musical problem; the cure is the musical solution.

Inoculation with death, also, will not be wanting in some future
universal therapy.

The idea of a perfect health is interesting only in a scientific point
of view. Sickness is necessary to individualization.

If God could be man, he can also be stone, plant, animal, element, and
perhaps, in this way, there is a continuous redemption in Nature.

Life is a disease of the spirit, a passionate activity. Rest is the
peculiar property of the spirit. From the spirit comes gravitation.

As nothing can be free, so, too, nothing can be forced, but spirit.

A space-filling individual is a body; a time-filling individual is a
soul.

It should be inquired whether Nature has not essentially changed with
the progress of culture.

All activity ceases when knowledge comes. The state of knowing is
_eudaemonism_, blest repose of contemplation, heavenly quietism.

Miracles, as contradictions of Nature, are _amathematical_. But there
are no miracles in this sense. What we so term, is intelligible
precisely by means of mathematics; for nothing is miraculous to
mathematics.

In music, mathematics appears formally, as revelation, as creative
idealism. All enjoyment is musical, consequently mathematical. The
highest life is mathematics.

There may be mathematicians of the first magnitude who cannot cipher.
One can be a great cipherer without a conception of mathematics.

Instinct is genius in Paradise, before the period of self-abstraction
(self-recognition).

The fate which oppresses us is the sluggishness of our spirit. By
enlargement and cultivation of our activity, we change ourselves into
fate. Everything appears to stream in upon us, because we do not
stream out. We are negative, because we choose to be so; the more
positive we become, the more negative will the world around us be,
until, at last, there is no more negative, and we are all in all. God
wills gods.

All power appears only in transition. Permanent power is stuff.

Every act of introversion--every glance into our interior--is at the
same time ascension, going up to heaven, a glance at the veritable
outward.

Only so far as a man is happily married to himself, is he fit for
married life and family life, generally.

One must never confess that one loves one's self. The secret of this
confession is the life-principle of the only true and eternal love.

We conceive God as personal, just as we conceive ourselves personal.
God is just as personal and as individual as we are; for what we call
I is not our true I, but only its off glance.

HYMN TO NIGHT (1800)

By NOVALIS

TRANSLATED BY PAUL B. THOMAS

Who, that hath life and the gift of perception, loves not more than
all the marvels seen far and wide in the space about him Light, the
all-gladdening, with its colors, with its beams and its waves, its
mild omnipresence as the arousing day? The giant world of restless
stars breathes it, as were it the innermost soul of life, and lightly
floats in its azure flood; the stone breathes it, sparkling and ever
at rest, and the dreamy, drinking plant, and the savage, ardent,
manifold-fashioned beast; but above all the glorious stranger with the
thoughtful eyes, the airy step, and the lightly-closed, melodious
lips. Like a king of terrestrial nature it calls every power to
countless transformations, it forms and dissolves innumerable
alliances and surrounds every earthly creature with its heavenly
effulgence. Its presence alone reveals the marvelous splendor of the
realms of the world.

Downward I turn my eyes to Night, the holy, ineffable, mysterious. Far
below lies the world, sunk in a deep vault; void and lonely is its
place. Deep melancholy is wafted through the chords of the breast. In
drops of dew I'd fain sink down and mingle with the ashes. Far-off
memories, desires of youth, dreams of childhood, long life's brief
joys and vain hopes appear in gray garments like the evening mist
after sunset. Light has pitched its gay tents in other regions. Will
it perchance never return to its children, who are waiting for it with
the faith of innocence?

What is it that suddenly wells up so forebodingly from beneath the
heart and smothers the gentle breath of melancholy? Dark Night, dost
thou also take pleasure in us? What hast thou beneath thy mantle which
touches my soul with invisible force? Precious balsam drops from the
bunch of poppies in thy hand. Thou raisest up the heavy wings of the
soul; vaguely and inexpressibly we feel ourselves moved. Joyously
fearful, I see an earnest face, which gently and reverently bends over
me, and amid endlessly entangled locks shows the sweet youth of the
mother. How poor and childish does Light seem to me now! How joyful
and blessed the departure of day! Only for that reason, then, because
Night turns thy servants from thee, didst thou scatter in the wide
expanse of space the shining stars, to make known thine omnipotence
and thy return, during the periods of thine absence? More heavenly
than those twinkling stars seem to us the everlasting eyes which Night
has opened within us. Farther they see than the palest of those
numberless hosts; not needing light, they fathom the depths of a
loving heart, filling a higher space with unspeakable delight.

Praise be to the queen of the world, to the high harbinger of holy
worlds, to the fostress of blissful love! She sends thee to me, gentle
sweetheart, lovely sun of the night. Now I am awake, for I am thine
and mine; thou hast proclaimed to me that night is life and made a man
of me. Consume my body with spiritual fire, that I may ethereally
blend with thee, and then the bridal night may last forever.

"THOUGH NONE THY NAME SHOULD CHERISH" [34]

Though none Thy Name should cherish,
My faith shall be the same,
Lest gratitude should perish
And earth be brought to shame.
With meekness Thou did'st suffer
The pangs of death for me,
With joy then I would offer
This heart for aye to Thee.

[Illustration: #THE QUEEN OF NIGHT# _From the painting by Moritz von
Schwind_]

I weep with strong emotion
That death has been Thy lot,
And yet that Thy devotion
Thy people have forgot.
The blessings of salvation
Thy perfect love has won,
Yet who in any nation
Regards what Thou hast done 3

With love Thou hast protected
Each man his whole life through;
Though all Thy care rejected,
No less would'st Thou be true.
Such love as Thine must vanquish
The proudest soul at last,
'Twill turn to Thee in anguish
And to Thy knees cling fast.

Thine influence hath bound me;
Oh, if it be Thy will,
Be evermore around me,
Be present with me still!
At length too shall the others
Look up and long for rest,
And all my loving brothers
Shall sink upon Thy breast.

TO THE VIRGIN[35]

A thousand hands, devoutly tender,
Have sought thy beauty to express,
But none, oh Mary, none can render,
As my soul sees, thy loveliness.

I gaze till earth's confusion fadeth
Like to a dream, and leaves behind
A heaven of sweetness which pervadeth
My whole rapt being--heart and mind.

FRIEDRICH HOeLDERLIN

* * * * *

HYPERION'S SONG OF FATE [36] (1799)

Ye wander there in the light
On flower-soft fields, ye blest immortal Spirits.
Radiant godlike zephyrs
Touch you as gently
As the hand of a master might
Touch the awed lute-string.
Free of fate as the slumbering
Infant, breathe the divine ones.
Guarded well
In the firm-sheathed bud
Blooms eternal
Each happy soul;
And their rapture-lit eyes
Shine with a tranquil
Unchanging lustre.
But we, 'tis our portion,
We never may be at rest.
They stumble, they vanish,
The suffering mortals,
Hurtling from one hard
Hour to another,
Like waves that are driven
From cliff-side to cliff-side,
Endlessly down the uncertain abyss.

EVENING PHANTASIE[36] (1799)

Before his but reposes in restful shade The ploughman; wreaths of
smoke from his hearth ascend. And sweet to wand'rers comes the tone of
Evening bells from the peaceful village.

[Illustration: #FRIEDRICH HOeLDERLIN# E. HADER]

The sailor too puts into the haven now,
In distant cities cheerily dies away
The busy tumult; in the arbor
Gleams the festal repast of friendship.

But whither I? In labor, for slight reward
We mortals live; in alternate rest and toil
Contentment dwells; but why then sleeps not
Hid in my bosom the thorn unsparing?

The ev'ning heaven blooms as with springtime's hue;
Uncounted bloom the roses, the golden world
Seems wrapt in peace; oh, bear me thither,
Purple-wrought clouds! And may for me there

Both love and grief dissolve in the joyous light!
But see, as if dispelled by the foolish prayer,
The wonder fades! 'Tis dark, and lonely
Under the heaven I stand as erstwhile.

Come then to me, soft Sleep. Overmuch requires
The heart; and yet thou too at the last shalt fade,
Oh youth, thou restless dream-pursuer!
Peaceful and happy shall age then follow.

LUDWIG TIECK

* * * * *

PUSS IN BOOTS (1797)

_A fairy-tale for children in three acts, with interludes, a
prologue and an epilogue_.

TRANSLATED BY LILLIE WINTER, B.A.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

THE KING

THE PRINCESS, _his daughter_

PRINCE NATHANIEL _of Malsinki_

LEANDER, _Court scholar_

HANSWURST, _Court fool_

_A Groom of the Chamber_

_The Cook_

LORENZ }
BARTHEL } _Peasant brothers_
GOTTLIEB }

_Hinze, a tom-cat_

_A Tavern-keeper_

KUNZ }
MICHEL } _Peasants_

_A Bugbear_

_A Peace-maker_

_The Playwright_

_A Soldier_

_Two Hussars_

_Two Lovers_

_Servants_

_Musicians_

_A Peasant_

_The Prompter_

_A Shoemaker_

_A Historian_

FISCHER

MUeLLER

BOeTTICHER

LEUTNER

WIESENER

WIESENER'S NEIGHBOR

_Elephants_

_Lions_

_Bears_

_An officer_

_Eagles and other birds_

_A rabbit_

_Partridges_

_Jupiter_

_Terkaleon_

_The Machinist_

_Spirits_

_Monkeys_

_The Public_.

[Illustration: #LUDWIG TIECK# VOGEL VON VOGELSTEIN]

PROLOGUE

_The scene is laid in the pit, the candles are already lighted, the
musicians are gathered in the orchestra. The theatre is filled, people
talking in confusion, some arriving, etc_.

FISCHER, MUeLLER, SCHLOSSER, BOeTTICHER, _in the pit_

FISCHER.

Say, but I am curious, Herr Mueller, what do you think of today's play?

MUeLLER.

I should be more likely to expect the sky to fall in than to see such
a play at our theatre.

FISCHER.

Do you know the play?

MUeLLER.

Not at all. A strange title that: _Puss in Boots_. I do hope they're
not going to present that child's play at the theatre.

SCHLOSS.

Why, is it an opera?

FISCHER.

Anything but that; the bill says: _A Fairy-tale for Children_.

SCHLOSS.

A fairy-tale? But in Heaven's name, we're not children, are we, that
they want to present such pieces for us? They certainly won't put an
actual cat on the stage, will they?

FISCHER.

It may turn out to be an imitation of the new Arcadians, a sort of
Terkaleon.

MUeLLER.

Now that wouldn't be bad, for I've been wishing this long while to see
some time such a wonderful opera without music.

FISCHER.

Without music it is absurd, for, my dear friend, we're beyond such
childish nonsense, such superstition; enlightenment has borne its
natural fruits.

MUeLLER.

It may turn out to be a regular picture of domestic life, and the cat
is only a joke, something like a jest, so to speak, a motive, if I may
call it that.

SCHLOSS.

To tell you my honest opinion, I take the whole thing to be
a trick to spread sentiment among the people, give them suggestions.
You'll see if I'm not right. A revolutionary play, as far as I can
understand.

FISCHER.

I agree with you, too, for otherwise the style would be
horribly offensive. For my part I must admit I never could believe in
witches or spirits, not to mention _Puss in Boots_.

SCHLOSS.

The age of these phantoms is past. Why, there comes Leutner; perhaps
he can tell us more.

[_Leutner pushes himself through the crowd_.]

LEUTNER.

Good evening, good evening! Well, how are you?

MUeLLER.

Do tell us, will you, what sort of play we're having tonight?

[_The music begins_.]

LEUTNER.

So late already? Why, I've come in the nick of time. About the play? I
have just been speaking with the author; he is at the theatre and
helping dress the tom-cat.

MANY VOICES.

Is helping?--The author?--The cat? So a cat will appear, after all?

LEUTNER.

Yes, indeed, why his name is even on the bill.

FISCHER.

I say, who's playing that part?

LEUTNER.

The strange actor, of course, the great man.

MUeLLER.

Indeed? But how can they possibly play such nonsense?

LEUTNER.

For a change, the author thinks.

FISCHER.

A fine change, why not Bluebeard too, and Prince Kobold? Indeed! Some
excellent subjects for the drama!

MUeLLER.

But how are they going to dress the cat?--And I wonder whether he
wears real boots?

LEUTNER.

I am just as impatient as all of you.

FISCHER.

But shall we really have such stuff played to us? We've come here out
of curiosity, to be sure, but still we have taste.

MUeLLER.

I feel like making a noise.

LEUTNER.

It's rather cold, too. I'll make a start. (_He stamps with his feet,
the others fall in_.)

WIESENER (_on the other side_).

What does this pounding mean?

LEUTNER.

That's to rescue good taste.

WIESENER.

Well, then I won't be the last, either. (_He stamps_.)

VOICES.

Be quiet, or you can't hear the music. (_All are stamping_.)

SCHLOSS.

But, I say, we really ought to let them go through the play, for,
after all, we've given our money anyhow; afterward we'll pound so
they'll hear us out doors.

ALL.

No, they'll now--taste--rules--art--otherwise everything will go to
ruin.

A CANDLE-SNUFFER.

Gentlemen, shall the police be sent in?

LEUTNER.

We have paid, we represent the public, and therefore we will have our
own good taste and no farces.

THE PLAYWRIGHT (_behind the scenes_).

The play will begin immediately.

MUeLLER.

No play--we want no play--we want good taste--

ALL.

Good taste! good taste!

PLAYWR.

I am puzzled--what do you mean, if I may ask?

SCHLOSS.

Good taste! Are you an author and don't even know what good taste
means?

PLAYWR.

Consider a young beginner--

SCHLOSS.

We want to know nothing about beginners--we want to see a decent
play-a play in good taste!

PLAYWR.

What sort? What kind?

MUeLLER.

Domestic stories--elopements--brothers and sisters from the
country--something like that.

[_The Author comes out from behind the curtain_.]

PLAYWR.

Gentlemen--

ALL.

Is that the author?

FISCHER.

He doesn't look much like an author.

SCHLOSS.

Impertinent fellow!

MUeLLER.

His hair isn't even trimmed.

PLAYWR.

Gentlemen-pardon my boldness.

FISCHER.

How can you write such plays? Why haven't you trained yourself?

PLAYWR.

Grant me just one minute's audience before you condemn me. I know that
the honorable public must pass judgment on the author, and that from
them there is no appeal, but I know the justice of an honorable
public, and I am assured they will not frighten me away from a course
in which I so need their indulgent guidance.

FISCHER.

He doesn't talk badly.

MUeLLER.

He's more courteous than I thought.

SCHLOSS.

He has respect for the public, after all.

PLAYWR.

I am ashamed to present to such illustrious judges the modest
inspiration of my Muse; it is only the skill of our actors which still
consoles me to some extent, otherwise I should be sunk in despair
without further ado.

FISCHER.

I am sorry for him.

MUeLLER.

A good fellow!

PLAYWR.

When I heard your worthy stamping--nothing has ever frightened me so,
I am still pale and trembling and do not myself comprehend how I have
attained to the courage of thus appearing before you.

LEUTNER.

Well, clap, then! (_All clap_.)

PLAYWR.

I wanted to make an attempt to furnish amusement by means of humor, by
cheerfulness and real jokes, and hope I have been successful, since
our newest plays so seldom afford us an opportunity to laugh.

[Illustration: #PUSS IN BOOTS# MORITZ VON SCHWIND]

MUeLLER.

That's certainly true!

LEUTNER.

He's right--that man.

SCHLOSS.

Bravo! Bravo!

ALL.

Bravo! Bravo! (_They clap_.)

PLAYWR.

I leave you, honored sirs, to decide now whether my attempt is to be
rejected entirely--trembling, I withdraw, and the play will begin.
(_He bows very respectfully and goes behind the curtain_.)

ALL.

Bravo! Bravo!

VOICES FROM THE GALLERY.

_Da capo!_--

[_All are laughing. The music begins again; meanwhile the curtain
rises_.]

ACT I

_Small room in a peasant's cottage_

LORENZ, BARTHEL, GOTTLIEB. The tom-cat HINZE, _is lying on a bench by
the stove_.

LORENZ.

I think that after the death of our father, our little fortune can be
divided easily. You know the deceased has left only three pieces of
property--a horse, an ox, and that cat there. I, as the eldest, will
take the horse; Barthel, second after me, gets the ox, and so the cat
is naturally left for our youngest brother.

LEUTNER (_in the pit_).

For Heaven's sake! Did any one ever see such an exposition! Just see
how far dramatic art has degenerated!

MUeLLER.

But I understand everything perfectly well.

LEUTNER.

That's just the trouble, you should give the spectator a cunning
suggestion, not throw the matter right into his teeth.

MUeLLER.

But now you know, don't you, where you are?

LEUTNER.

Yes, but you certainly mustn't know that so quickly; why, the very
best part of the fun consists in getting at it little by little.

BARTHEL.

I think, brother Gottlieb, you will also be satisfied with this
division; unfortunately you are the youngest, and so you must grant us
some privileges.

GOTTLIEB.

Yes, to be sure.

SCHLOSS.

But why doesn't the court of awards interfere in the inheritance? What
improbabilities!

LORENZ.

So then we're going now, dear Gottlieb; farewell, don't let time hang
heavy on your hands.

GOTTLIEB.

Good-bye.

[_Exit the brothers_.]

GOTTLIEB (_alone_).

They are going away--and I am alone. We all three have our lodgings.
Lorenz, of course, can till the ground with his horse, Barthel can
slaughter and pickle his ox and live on it a while--but what am I,
poor unfortunate, to do with my cat? At the most, I can have a muff
for the winter made out of his fur, but I think he is even shedding it
now. There he lies asleep quite comfortably--poor Hinze! Soon we shall
have to part. I am sorry I brought him up, I know him as I know
myself--but he will have to believe me, I cannot help myself, I must
really sell him. He looks at me as though he understood. I could
almost begin to cry.

[_He walks up and down, lost in thought_.]

MUeLLER.

Well, you see now, don't, you, that it's going to be a touching
picture of family life? The peasant is poor and without money; now, in
the direst need, he will sell his faithful pet to some susceptible
young lady, and in the end that will be the foundation of his good
fortune. Probably it is an imitation of Kotzebue's _Parrot_; here the
bird is replaced by a cat and the play runs on of itself.

FISCHER.

Now that it's working out this way, I am satisfied too.

HINZE, the tom-cat (_rises, stretches, arches his back, yawns, then
speaks_).

My dear Gottlieb--I really sympathize with you.

GOTTLIEB (_astonished_).

What, puss, you are speaking?

THE CRITICS (_in the pit_).

The cat is talking? What does that mean, pray?

FISCHER.

It's impossible for me to get the proper illusion here.

MUeLLER.

Rather than let myself be disappointed like this I never want to see
another play all my life.

HINZE.

Why should I not be able to speak, Gottlieb?

GOTTLIEB.

I should not have suspected it; I never heard a cat speak in all my
life.

HINZE.

Because we do not join in every conversation, you think we're nothing
but dogs.

GOTTLIEB.

I think your only business is to catch mice.

HINZE.

If we had not, in our intercourse with human beings, got a certain
contempt for speech, we could all speak.

GOTTLIEB.

Well, I'll own that! But why don't you give any one an opportunity to
discover you?

HINZE.

That's to avoid responsibility, for if once the power of speech were
inflicted on us so-called animals, there wouldn't be any joy left in
the world. What isn't the dog compelled to do and learn! The horse!
They are foolish animals to show their intelligence, they must give
way entirely to their vanity; we cats still continue to be the freest
race because, with all our skill, we can act so clumsily that human
beings quite give up the idea of training us.

GOTTLIEB.

But why do you disclose all this to me?

HINZE.

Because you are a good, a noble man, one of the few who take no
delight in servility and slavery; see, that is why I disclose myself
to you completely and fully.

GOTTLIEB (_gives him his hand_).

Good friend!

HINZE.

Human beings labor under the delusion that the only remarkable thing
about us is that instinctive purring which arises from a certain
feeling of comfort; for that reason they often stroke us awkwardly and
then we usually purr to secure ourselves against blows. But if they
knew how to manage us in the right way, believe me, they would
accustom our good nature to everything, and Michel, your neighbor's
tom-cat, would even at times be pleased to jump through a hoop for the
king.

GOTTLIEB.

You're right in that.

HINZE.

I love you, Master Gottlieb, very much. You have never stroked me the
wrong way, you have let me sleep when I felt like it, you have
objected whenever your brothers wanted to take me up, to go with me
into the dark, and see the so-called electrical sparks--for all this I
now want to show my gratitude.

GOTTLIEB.

Noble-hearted Hinze! Ah, how unjustly do they speak ill of you and
scornfully, doubting your loyalty and devotion! My eyes are being
opened--how my knowledge of human nature is increasing and so
unexpectedly!

FISCHER.

Friends, where has our hope for a picture of family life gone to?

LEUTNER.

Why it is almost too nonsensical.

SCHLOSS.

I feel as though I were in a dream.

HINZE.

You are a good man, Master Gottlieb; but, do not take it ill of me,
you are somewhat narrow, confined--to speak out freely, not one of the
best heads.

GOTTLIEB.

Alas, no!

HINZE.

You don't know now, for example, what you want to do.

GOTTLIEB.

You read my thoughts perfectly.

HINZE.

If you had a muff made out of my fur--

GOTTLIEB.

Do not take it amiss, comrade, that this idea just passed through my
mind.

HINZE.

Why, no, it was an altogether human thought. Can you think of no way
of managing?

GOTTLIEB.

Not a thing!

HINZE.

You might carry me around and show me for money; but that is never a
sure means of support.

GOTTLIEB.

No.

HINZE.

You might publish a journal or a German paper, with the motto, _Homo
sum_--or a novel; I should be willing to collaborate with you--but
that is too much bother.

GOTTLIEB.

Yes.

HINZE.

Well, I'll see that I take even better care of you. Depend upon it,
you are yet to become very happy through me.

GOTTLIEB.

O, best, most noble man. (_He embraces him tenderly_.)

HINZE.

But you must also trust me.

GOTTLIEB.

Entirely. Why, now I realize your honorable spirit.

HINZE.

Well, then, do me a favor and bring the shoemaker immediately to take
my measure for a pair of boots.

GOTTLIEB.

The shoemaker? Boots?

HINZE.

You are surprised, but in accomplishing what I intend to do for you, I
have to walk and run so much that I have to wear boots.

GOTTLIEB.

But why not shoes?

HINZE.

Master Gottlieb, you do not understand the matter; they must lend me
some dignity, an imposing air, in short, a certain manliness to which
one never attains in shoes.

GOTTLIEB.

Well, as you think best; but the shoemaker will be surprised.

HINZE.

Not at all; we must act only as if it were nothing remarkable that I
should wish to wear boots; one gets used to everything.

GOTTLIEB.

Yes, indeed; why, my conversation with you has actually become quite
easy! But another thing; now that we have become such good friends, do
call me by my first name, too; why do you still want to stand on
ceremony with me?

HINZE.

As you like, Gottlieb.

GOTTLIEB.

There's the shoemaker passing. Hey! Pst! Friend Leichdorn! Will you
please stop a moment?

[_The shoemaker comes in_.]

SHOEMAK.

God bless you! What's the news?

GOTTLIEB.

I have ordered no work from you for a long time.

SHOEMAK.

No, my friend, all in all, I have very little to do now.

GOTTLIEB.

I should like to have another pair of boots made--

SHOEMAK.

Please take a seat. I have a measure with me.

GOTTLIEB.

Not for myself, but for my young friend there.

SHOEMAK.

For this one here? Very well.

HINZE (_sits on a chair and holds out his right leg_).

SHOEMAK.

Now how should you like it, pussy?

HINZE.

In the first place, good soles, then brown flaps, and, above all
things, stiff.

SHOEMAK.

Very well. (_He takes the measure_.) Will you be so kind as to draw
your claws in a bit--or rather nails? I have already scratched myself.
(_He takes the measure_.)

HINZE.

And they must be finished quickly. (_As his leg is being stroked he
begins to purr involuntarily_.)

SHOEMAK.

The pussy is comfortable.

GOTTLIEB.

Yes, he's a good-humored fellow. He has just come from school, what
they usually call a "smarty."

SHOEMAK.

Well, good-bye.

[_Exit_.]

GOTTLIEB.

Wouldn't you perhaps like to have your whiskers trimmed too?

HINZE.

On no account, I look so much more respectable, and you certainly must
know that cats immediately become unmanly after that. A tom-cat
without whiskers is but a contemptible creature.

GOTTLIEB.

If I only knew what you are planning!

HINZE.

You'll find out in due time. Now I want to take a little walk on the
roofs; there's a fine, open view there and you're likely to catch a
dove too.

GOTTLIEB.

As a good friend, I want to warn you not to let yourself be caught at
it.

HINZE.

Don't worry, I'm not a novice. Meanwhile, good-bye.

[_Exit_.]

GOTTLIEB (_alone_).

Natural history always says that cats cannot be trusted and that they
belong to the lion family, and I am in such fearful dread of a lion. Now
if the cat had no conscience, he could run away from me afterward with
the boots for which I must now give my last penny and then sell them
somewhere for nothing, or it's possible that he wants to make a bid for
favor with the shoemaker and then go into his service. But he has a
tom-cat already. No, Hinze, my brothers have betrayed me, and now I
will try my luck with you. He spoke so nobly, he was so touched--there
he sits on the roof yonder, stroking his whiskers--forgive me, my fine
friend, that I could even for a moment doubt your magnanimity.

[_Exit_.]

FISCHER.

What nonsense!

MUeLLER.

What does the cat need those boots for?--to be able to walk better?
Silly stuff!

SCHLOSS.

But it seems as though I saw a cat before me.

LEUTNER.

Be still, the scene is changing.

_Hall in the royal palace_

_The_ KING _with crown and sceptre. The_ PRINCESS, _his daughter_

KING.

A thousand handsome princes, my precious daughter, have already sued
for your hand and laid their kingdoms at your feet, but you have
continued to refuse them. Tell us the reason for this, my treasure.

PRINCESS.

My most gracious father, I have always believed that my heart must
first feel certain emotions before my neck would bow under the yoke of
marriage. For a marriage without love, they say, is truly hell upon
earth.

KING.

That is right, my dear daughter. Ah, indeed, indeed, have you spoken
words of truth: a hell on earth! Alas, if only I were not qualified to
discuss it! Indeed I should have preferred to remain ignorant! But as
it is, dear treasure, I have my tale to tell, as they say. Your
mother, my consort of blessed memory--ah, Princess, see, the tears
rush to my eyes even in my old age--she was a good queen, she wore the
crown with an indescribable air of majesty--but she gave me very
little peace. Well, may her ashes rest in peace among her royal
relatives.

PRINCESS.

Your majesty excites yourself too much.

KING.

When the memory of it returns to me, O my child, on my knees I would
entreat you--do be careful in marrying! It is a great truth that linen
and a bridegroom must not be bought by candle-light, a truth which
should be found in every book. What did I suffer! No day passed
without a quarrel; I could not sleep peacefully, could not conduct my
administrative business quietly, I could not think of anything, could
not read a book--I was always interrupted. And still my spirit
sometimes yearns for you, my blessed Klothilde! My eyes smart--I am a
real old fool.

PRINCESS (_tenderly_).

My father!

KING.

I tremble to think of the dangers that face you, for, even if you do
fall in love now, my daughter, ah! you should just see what thick
books wise men have filled on this subject--see, your very passion,
then, can also make you miserable. The happiest, the most blissful
emotion can ruin us; moreover, love is, as it were, a magic cup;
instead of nectar we often drink poison; then our pillow is wet with
tears; all hope, all consolation are gone. (_The sound of a trumpet is
heard_.) Why, it isn't dinner-time yet, is it? Probably another new
prince who wants to fall in love with you. Take care, my daughter; you
are my only child, and you do not realize how near my heart your
happiness lies. (_He kisses her and leaves the hall. Applause is heard
in the pit_.)

FISCHER.

That's a scene for you, in which you can find sound common sense.

SCHLOSS.

I am also moved.

MUeLLER.

He's an excellent sovereign.

FISCHER.

Now he didn't exactly have to appear with a crown.

SCHLOSS.

It entirely spoils the sympathy one feels for him as an affectionate
father.

THE PRINCESS (_alone_).

I do not understand at all; why, not one of the princes has yet
touched my heart with love. I always keep in mind my father's
warnings; he is a great sovereign and nevertheless a good father too,
and is always thinking of my happiness; if only he did not have such a
hasty temper! But fortune and misfortune are always coupled thus. My
joy I find in the arts and sciences, for books constitute all my
happiness.

_The_ PRINCESS, LEANDER, _the court scholar_.

LEANDER.

Well, your Royal Highness! (_They sit down_.)

PRINCESS.

Here. Master Leander, is my essay. I have entitled it _Thoughts at
Night_.

LEANDER (_reads_).

Excellent! Inspired! Ah! I feel as though I hear the hour of midnight
striking. When did you write it?

PRINCESS.

Yesterday noon, after dinner.

LEANDER.

Beautifully conceived! Truly, beautifully conceived! But with your
most gracious permission! _The moon shines sadly down in the world._
If you will not take it amiss, it should read: _into the world_.

PRINCESS.

Very well, I will note that for the future; it's too stupid that
poetry should be made so hard for us; one can't write five or six
lines without making a mistake.

LEANDER.

That's the obstinacy of language, so to speak.

PRINCESS.

Are not the emotions tenderly and delicately phrased!

LEANDER.

Indescribably! It is scarcely comprehensible how a feminine mind could
write such a thing.

PRINCESS.

Now I might try my hand at moonlight descriptions. Don't you think so?

LEANDER.

Naturally you keep going farther all the time; you keep rising higher.

PRINCESS.

I have also begun a piece: _The Unhappy Misanthrope; or, Lost Peace
and Restored Innocence!_

LEANDER.

Even the title itself is fascinating.

PRINCESS.

And then I feel an incomprehensible desire within me to write some
horrible ghost story. As I said before, if it were not for those
grammatical errors!

LEANDER.

Do not worry about that, incomparable princess! They are easily
corrected.

[_Groom from the Chamber enters._]

GROOM.

The Prince of Malsinki, who has just arrived, wishes to wait on your
royal highness.

[_Exit._]

LEANDER.

Your obedient servant.

[_Exit._]

_Prince_ NATHANIEL _of Malsinki. The_ KING

KING.

Here, Prince, is my daughter, a young, simple creature, as you
see her before you. (_Aside._) Be polite, my daughter, courteous; he
is an illustrious prince from afar; his country is not even on my map,
I have already looked it up; I have an amazing amount of respect for
him.

PRINCESS.

I am glad to have the pleasure of making your acquaintance.

NATHAN.

Beautiful Princess, the report of your beauty has been spread
so widely over the whole world that I have come here from a far
distant corner for the happiness of seeing you face to face.

KING.

Indeed it is astonishing, how many countries and kingdoms there
are! You would not believe how many thousand crown-princes have been
here already, to pay their addresses to my daughter; sometimes they
arrive by dozens, especially when the weather is fine--and now you
have come all the way from--I beg your pardon, topography is such a
very extensive subject--in what region does your country lie?

NATHAN.

Mighty king, if you travel from here first down the great
highway, then you turn to the right and go on; but when you reach a
mountain, turn to the left again, then you go to the ocean and sail
directly north (if the wind is favorable, of course), and so, if the
journey is successful, you reach my dominions in a year and a half.

KING.

The deuce! I must have my court scholar explain that to me. You
are probably a neighbor of the North Pole or Zodiac, or something like
that, I suppose!

NATHAN.

Not that I know of.

KING.

Perhaps somewhere near the savages?

NATHAN.

I beg your pardon, all my subjects are very tame.

KING.

But you must live confoundedly far away. I can't get a clear
idea of it yet.

NATHAN.

The geography of my country is still not exactly fixed; I
expect to discover more every day; and then it may easily come about
that we shall even become neighbors in the end.

KING.

That will be splendid! And if, after all, a few countries still
stand in our way, I will help you in your discoveries. My neighbor is
not a good friend of mine, so to speak, and he has a fine country; all
the raisins come from there; why, I should be only too glad to have
it! But another thing; do tell me, how, living so far away, can you
speak our language so fluently!

NATHAN.

Hush!

KING.

What?

NATHAN.

Hush! hush!

KING.

I do not understand.

NATHANIEL, (_softly to him_).

Do be quiet about it, pray, for
otherwise the audience down there will surely notice that it is really
very unnatural.

KING.

It doesn't matter. They clapped before and so I can afford to
take a chance.

NATHAN.

You see, it is only for the sake of the drama that I speak your
language; for otherwise, of course, the matter is incomprehensible.

KING.

Ah, so! Well, come, Prince, the table is set!

[_The_ PRINCE _escorts the princess out, the_ KING _precedes_.]

FISCHER.

Cursed improbabilities there are in this play!

SCHLOSS.

And the king doesn't remain at all true to his character.

LEUTNER.

Why, nothing but the natural should ever be presented on the
stage! The prince should speak an altogether unknown language and have
an interpreter with him; the princess should make grammatical errors,
since she herself admits that she writes incorrectly.

MUeLLER.

Of course! Of course! The whole thing is unquestionable
nonsense; the author himself is always forgetting what he has said the
moment before.

_The scene is laid in front of a tavern._

LORENZ, KUNZ, MICHEL _are sitting on a bench. The_ HOST

LORENZ.

I shall have to be going again soon! I still have a long way

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest