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

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from the body, which falls like a weary, worn-out garment to the ground.
But when we behold the exteriors of these Gothic cathedrals, these
enormous buildings which are wrought so aerially, so finely, delicately,
transparently, cut as it were into such open work that one might take
them for Brabant lace in marble, then we feel truly the power of that
age which could so master stone itself that it seems spectrally
transfused with spiritual life, and thus even the hardest material
declares Christian spirituality.

But arts are only the mirror of life, and, as Catholicism died away, so
its sounds grew fainter and its lights dimmer in art. During the
Reformation Catholic song gradually disappeared in Europe, and in its
place we see the long-slumbering poetry of Greece re-awakening to life.
But it was only an artificial spring, a work of the gardener, not of the
sun, and the trees and flowers were in close pots, and a glass canopy
protected them from cold and northern winds.

In the world's history no event is the direct result of another; all
events rather exert a mutual influence. It was by no means due only to
the Greek scholars who emigrated to Europe after the fall of Byzantium
that a love for Grecian culture and the desire to imitate it became so
general among us; a similar Protestantism prevailed then in art as well
as in life. Leo X., that splendid Medici, was as zealous a Protestant as
Luther, and as there was a Latin prose protest in Wittenberg, so they
protested poetically in Rome in stone, color, and _ottaverime_. And do
not the mighty marble images of Michelangelo, the laughing nymphs of
Giulio Romano, and the joyous intoxication of life in the verses of
Ludovico Ariosto form a protesting opposition to the old, gloomy,
worn-out Catholicism? The painters of Italy waged a polemic against
priestdom which was perhaps more effective than that of the Saxon
theologian. The blooming rosy flesh in the pictures of Titian is all
Protestantism. The limbs of his Venus are more thorough _theses_ than
those which the German monk pasted on the church door of Wittenberg.
Then it was that men felt as if suddenly freed from the force and
pressure of a thousand years; the artists, most of all, again breathed
freely as the nightmare of Christianity seemed to spin whirling from
their breasts, and they threw themselves with enthusiasm into the sea of
Greek joyousness from whose foam rose to them goddesses of beauty.
Painters once more limned the ambrosial joys of Olympus; sculptors
carved, with the joy of yore, old heroes from the marble; poets again
sang the house of Atreus and Laius; and so the age of new classic poetry

As modern life was most perfectly developed in France under Louis XIV.,
so the new classic poetry received there its most finished perfection,
and, in a measure, an independent originality. Through the political
influence of that great king this poetry spread over Europe; in Italy,
its home, it assumed a French color, and thence the heroes of French
tragedy went with the Anjous to Spain; it passed with Henrietta Maria to
England, and we Germans, as a matter of course, built our clumsy temples
to the powdered Olympus of Versailles. The most famous high-priest of
this religion was Gottsched, that wonderful long wig whom our dear
Goethe has so admirably described in his memoirs.

Lessing was the literary Arminius who delivered our theatre from this
foreign rule. He showed us the nothingness, the laughableness, the flat
and faded folly of those imitations of the French theatre, which were in
turn imitated from the Greek. But he became the founder of modern German
literature, not only by his criticism, but by his own works of art. This
man pursued with enthusiasm and sincerity art, theology, antiquity, and
archaeology, the art of poetry, history--all with the same zeal and to
the same purpose. There lives and breathes in all his works the same
great social idea, the same progressive humanity, the same religion of
reason, whose John he was, and whose Messiah we await. This religion he
always preached, but, alas! too often alone and in the desert. And there
was one art only of which he knew nothing--that of changing stones into
bread, for he consumed the greatest part of his life in poverty and
under hard pressure--a curse which clings to nearly all great German
geniuses, and will last, it may be, till ended by political freedom.
Lessing was more inspired by political feelings than men supposed, a
peculiarity which we do not find among his contemporaries, and we can
now see for the first time what he meant in sketching the duo-despotism
in _Emilia Galotti_. He was regarded then as a champion of freedom of
thought and against clerical intolerance; for his theological writings
were better understood. The fragments _On the Education of the Human
Race_, which Eugene Rodrigue has translated into French, may give an
idea of the vast comprehensiveness of Lessing's mind. The two critical
works which exercised the most influence on art are his _Hamburg
Dramatic Art (Hamburgische Dramaturgie)_, and his _Laokoon, or the
Limits of Painting and Poetry_. His most remarkable theatrical pieces
are _Emilia Galotti, Minna von Barnhelm,_ and _Nathan the Wise_.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was born at Camenz in Lausitz, January 22,
1729, and died in Brunswick, February 15, 1781. He was a thorough-going
man who, when he destroyed something old in a battle, at the same time
always created something new and better. "He was," says a German author,
"like those pious Jews, who, during the second building of the Temple,
were often troubled by attacks of the enemy, and so fought with one hand
while with the other they worked at the house of God." This is not the
place where I can say more of Lessing, but I cannot refrain from
remarking that he is, of all who are recorded in the whole history of
literature, the writer whom I love best.

I will here mention another author who worked in the same spirit, with
the same object, as Lessing, and who may be regarded as his successor.
It is true that his eulogy is here also out of place, since he occupies
an altogether peculiar position in literature, and a unique relation to
his time and to his contemporaries. It is Johann Gottfried Herder, born
in 1744 at Mohrungen, in East Prussia, and who died at Weimar in the
year 1803.

Literary history is the great "Morgue" where every one seeks his dead,
those whom he loves or to whom he is related. When I see there, among so
many dead who were of little interest, a Lessing or a Herder, with their
noble, manly countenances, my heart throbs; I cannot pass them by
without hastily kissing their dead lips.

Yet if Lessing did so much to destroy the habit of imitating French
second-hand Greekdom, he still, by calling attention to the true works
of art of Greek antiquity, gave an impulse to a new kind of ridiculous
imitations. By his battling with religious superstition he advanced the
sober search for clearer views which spread widely in Berlin, which had
in the late blessed Nicolai its chief organ, and in the General German
Library its arsenal. The most deplorable mediocrity began to show itself
more repulsively than ever, and flatness and insipidity blew themselves
up like the frog in the fable.

It is a great mistake to suppose that Goethe, who had already come
before the world, was at once universally recognized as a writer of
commanding genius. His _Goetz von Berlichingen_ and his _Werther_ were
received with a degree of enthusiasm, to be sure; but so, too, were the
works of common bunglers, and Goethe had but a small niche in the temple
of literature. As I have said, _Goetz_ and _Werther_ had a spirited
reception, but more on account of the subject-matter than their artistic
merits, which very few appreciated in these masterworks. _Goetz_ was a
dramatized romance of chivalry, and such writings were then the rage. In
_Werther_ the world saw the reproduction of a true story, that of young
Jerusalem, who shot himself dead for love, and thereby, in those
dead-calm days, made a great noise. People read with tears his touching
letters; some shrewdly observed that the manner in which Werther had
been banished from aristocratic society had increased his weariness of
life. The discussion of suicide caused the book to be still more
discussed; it occurred to several fools on this occasion to make away
with themselves, and the book, owing to its subject, went off like a
shot. The novels of August Lafontaine were just as much read, and, as
this author wrote incessantly, he was more famous than Wolfgang von
Goethe. Wieland was the great poet then, with whom perhaps might be
classed the ode-maker, Rambler of Berlin. Wieland was honored
idolatrously, far more at that time than Goethe. Iffland ruled the
theatre with his dreary _bourgeois_ dramas, and Kotzebue with his flat
and frivolously witty jests.

It was in opposition to this literature that there sprang up in Germany,
at the end of the last century, a school which we call the Romantic, and
of which August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel have presented themselves
as managing agents. Jena, where these and many other souls in like
accord found themselves "off and on," was the centre from which the new
esthetic doctrine spread. I say doctrine, for this school began with
judgments of the art-works of the past and recipes for art-works of the
future, and in both directions the Schlegel school rendered great
service to esthetic criticism. By judging of such works of art as
already existed, either their faults and failures were indicated, or
their merits and beauties brought to light. In controversy and in
indicating artistic shortcomings, the Schlegels were entirely imitators
of old Lessing; they obtained possession of his great battle-blade, but
the arm of August William Schlegel was too tenderly weak and the eyes of
his brother Friedrich too mystically clouded for the former to strike so
strongly and the latter so keenly and accurately as Lessing. True, in
descriptive criticism, where the beauties of a work of art are to be set
forth--where it came to a delicate detection of its characteristics
and bringing them home to our intelligence--then, compared to the
Schlegels, old Lessing was nowhere. But what shall I say as to their
recipes for preparing works of art? There we find in the Schlegels a
weakness which we think may also be detected in Lessing; for the latter
is as weak in affirming as he is strong in denying. He rarely succeeds
in laying down a fundamental principle, still more seldom a correct one.
He wants the firm basis of a philosophy or of a philosophical system.
And this is still more sadly the case with the brothers Schlegel.

Much is fabled as to the influence of Fichtean Idealism and Schelling's
Philosophy of Nature on the Romantic school, which is even declared to
have sprung from it. But I see here, at the most, only the influence of
certain fragments of thoughts from Fichte and Schelling, and not at all
that of a philosophy. This may be explained on the simple ground that
Fichte's philosophy had lost its hold, and Fichte himself had made it
lose its interest by a mingling of tenets and ideas from Schelling; and
because, on the other hand, Schelling had never set forth a philosophy,
but only a vague philosophizing, an unsteady, vacillating improvisation
of poetical philosophemes. It may be that it was from the Fichtean
Idealism--that deeply ironical system, where the I is opposed to the
not--I and annihilates it--that the Romantic school took the doctrine of
irony which the late Solger especially developed, and which the
Schlegels at first regarded as the soul of art, but which they
subsequently found to be fruitless and exchanged for the more positive
axioms of the Theory of Identity of Schelling. Schelling, who then
taught in Jena, had indeed a great personal influence on the Romantic
school; he is, what is not generally known in France, also a bit of a
poet; and it is said that he was in doubt whether he should not deliver
all his philosophical doctrines in a poetic or even metrical form. This
doubt characterizes the man.


With kindly greeting, the Legend of the Rabbi of Bacharach is dedicated
to his friend HENRY LAUBE by the AUTHOR





On the Lower Rhine, where its banks begin to lose their smiling aspect,
where the hills and cliffs with their romantic ruined castles rise more
defiantly, and a wilder, sterner majesty prevails, there lies, like a
strange and fearful tale of olden times, the gloomy and ancient town of
Bacharach. But these walls, with their toothless battlements and blind
turrets, in whose nooks and niches the winds whistle and the sparrows
build their nests, were not always so decayed and fallen, and in these
poverty-stricken, repulsive muddy lanes which one sees through the
ruined gate, there did not always reign that dreary silence which only
now and then is broken by the crying of children, the scolding of women,
and the lowing of cows. These walls were once proud and strong, and
these lanes were alive with fresh, free life, power and pomp, joy and
sorrow, much love and much hate. For Bacharach once belonged to those
municipalities which were founded by the Romans during their rule on the
Rhine; and its inhabitants, though the times which came after were very
stormy, and though they had to submit first to the Hohenstaufen, and
then to the Wittelsbach authority, managed, following the example of the
other cities on the Rhine, to maintain a tolerably free commonwealth.
This consisted of an alliance of separate social elements, in which the
patrician elders and those of the guilds, who were subdivided according
to their different trades, both strove for power; so that while they
were bound in union to resist and guard against outside robber-nobles,
they were, nevertheless, constantly having domestic dissensions over
disputed interests. Consequently there was but little social
intercourse, much mistrust, and not infrequently actual outbursts of
passion. The ruling governor sat in his lofty castle of Sareck, and
swooped down like his falcon, whenever he was called, and often when not
called. The clergy ruled in darkness by darkening the souls of others.
One of the most forsaken and helpless of the social elements, which had
been gradually bound down by local laws, was the little Jewish
community. This had first settled in Bacharach in the days of the
Romans, and during the later persecution of the Jews it had taken in
many a flock of fugitive co-religionists.

The great oppression of the Jews began with the crusades, and raged most
furiously about the middle of the fourteenth century, at the end of the
great pestilence, which, like all other great public disasters, was
attributed to the Jews, because people declared they had drawn down the
wrath of God, and, with the help of the lepers, had poisoned the wells.
The enraged populace, especially the hordes of Flagellants, or
half-naked men and women, who, lashing themselves for penance and
singing a mad hymn to the Virgin, swept over South Germany and the
Rhenish provinces, murdered in those days many thousand Jews, tortured
others, or baptized them by force. There was another accusation which in
earlier times and all through the Middle Ages, even to the beginning of
the last century, cost much blood and suffering. This was the ridiculous
story, recurring with disgusting frequency in chronicle and legend, that
the Jews stole the consecrated wafer, and pierced it with knives till
blood ran from it; and to this it was added that at the feast of the
Passover the Jews slew Christian children to use their blood in the
night sacrifice.


Consequently on the day of this festival the Jews, hated for their
wealth, their religion, and the debts due to them, were entirely in the
hands of their enemies, who could easily bring about their destruction
by spreading the report of such a child-murder, and perhaps even
secretly putting a bloody infant's corpse in the house of a Jew thus
accused. Then at night they would attack the Jews at their prayers, and
murder, plunder, and baptize them; and great miracles would be wrought
by the dead child aforesaid, whom the Church would eventually canonize.
Saint Werner is one of these holy beings, and in his honor the
magnificent abbey of Oberwesel was founded. The latter is now one of the
most beautiful ruins on the Rhine, and with the Gothic grandeur of its
long ogival windows, proud and lofty pillars, and marvelous
stone-carving, it strangely enchants us when we wander by it on some
bright, green summer's day, and do not know the story of its origin. In
honor of this saint there were also three great churches built on the
Rhine, and innumerable Jews murdered and maltreated. All this happened
in the year 1287; and in Bacharach, where one of these Saint Werner's
churches stood, the Jews suffered much misery and persecution. However,
they remained there for two centuries after, protected from such
outbreaks of popular rage, though they were continually subject to spite
and threats.

Yet the more they were oppressed by hate from without, the more
earnestly and tenderly did the Jews of Bacharach cherish their domestic
life within, and the deeper was the growth among them of piety and the
fear of God. An ideal example of a life given to God was seen in their
Rabbi Abraham, who, though still a young man, was famed far and wide for
his learning. He was born in Bacharach, and his father, who had been the
rabbi there before him, had charged him in his last will to devote his
life to that office and never to leave the place unless for fear of
life. This command, except for a cabinet full of rare books, was all
that his parent, who had lived in poverty and learning, left him.
Rabbi Abraham, however, was a very rich man, for he had married the only
daughter of his father's brother, who had been a prosperous dealer in
jewelry, and whose possessions he had inherited. A few gossips in the
community hinted now and then that the Rabbi had married for money. But
the women all denied this, declaring that the Rabbi, long ere he went to
Spain, had been in love with "Beautiful Sara," and recalling how she had
awaited his return for seven years, while, as a matter of fact, he had
already wedded her against the will of her father, and even without her
own consent, by the betrothal-ring. For every Jew can make a Jewish girl
his lawful wife, if he can succeed in putting a ring on her finger, and
say at the same time: "I take thee for my wife, according to the law of
Moses and Israel." And when Spain was mentioned, the same gossips were
wont to smile in the same significant manner, all because of a vague
rumor that Rabbi Abraham, though he had studied the holy law
industriously enough at the theological school in Toledo, had
nevertheless followed Christian customs and become imbued with habits of
free thinking, like many of the Spanish Jews who at that time had
attained a very remarkable degree of culture.

And yet in the bottom of their hearts these gossips put no faith in such
reports; for ever since his return from Spain the daily life of the
Rabbi had been pure, pious, and earnest in every way. He performed every
detail of all religious customs and ceremonies with painstaking
conscientiousness; he fasted every Monday and Thursday--only on
Sabbaths and feast days did he indulge in meat or wine; his time was
passed in prayer and study; by day he taught the Law to students, whom
his fame had drawn to Bacharach; and by night he gazed on the stars in
heaven, or into the eyes of Beautiful Sara. His married life was
childless, yet there was no lack of life or gaiety in his home. The
great hall in his house, which stood near the synagogue, was open to the
whole community, so that people went in and out without ceremony, some
to offer short prayers, others to gather news, or to hold a consultation
when in trouble. Here the children played on Sabbath mornings while the
weekly "section" was being read; here people met for wedding and funeral
processions, and quarreled or were reconciled; here, too, those who were
cold found a warm stove, and those who were hungry, a well-spread table.
And, moreover, the Rabbi, as well as his wife, had a multitude of
relatives, brothers and sisters, with their wives and children, and an
endless array of uncles and cousins, all of whom looked up to the Rabbi
as the head of the family, and so made themselves at home in his house,
never failing to dine with him on all great festivals.

Special among these grand gatherings in the Rabbi's house was the annual
celebration of the Passover, a very ancient and remarkable feast which
the Jews all over the world still hold every year in the month Nissen,
in eternal remembrance of their deliverance from Egyptian servitude.
This takes place as follows:

As soon as it is dark the matron of the family lights the lamps, spreads
the table-cloth, places in its midst three flat loaves of unleavened
bread, covers them with a napkin, and places on them six little dishes
containing symbolical food, that is, an egg, lettuce, horse-radish, the
bone of a lamb, and a brown mixture of raisins, cinnamon, and nuts. At
this table the father of the family sits with all his relatives and
friends, and reads to them from a very curious book called the _Agade_,
whose contents are a strange mixture of legends of their forefathers,
wondrous tales of Egypt, disputed questions of theology, prayers, and
festival songs. During this feast there is a grand supper, and even
during the reading there is at specified times tasting of the symbolical
food and nibbling of Passover bread, while four cups of red wine are
drunk. Mournfully merry, seriously gay, and mysteriously secret as some
old dark legend, is the character of this nocturnal festival, and the
traditional singing intonation with which the _Agade_ is read by the
father, and now and then reechoed in chorus by the hearers, first
thrills the inmost soul as with a shudder, then calms it as mother's
lullaby, and again startles it so suddenly into waking that even those
Jews who have long fallen away from the faith of their fathers and run
after strange joys and honors, are moved to their very hearts, when by
chance the old, well-known tones of the Passover songs ring in their

And so Rabbi Abraham once sat in his great hall surrounded by relatives,
disciples, and many other guests, to celebrate the great feast of the
Passover. Everything was unusually brilliant; over the table hung the
gaily embroidered silk canopy, whose gold fringes touched the floor; the
plates of symbolic food shone invitingly, as did the tall wine goblets,
adorned with embossed pictures of scenes in holy legends. The men sat in
their black cloaks and black low hats, and white collars, the women, in
wonderful glittering garments of Lombard stuffs, wore on their heads and
necks ornaments of gold and pearls, while the silver Sabbath lamp cast
its festive light on the cheerful, devout faces of parents and children.
On the purple velvet cushions of a chair, higher than the others,
reclined, as custom requires, Rabbi Abraham, who read and sang the
_Agade_, while the gay assembly joined in, or answered in the appointed
places. The Rabbi also wore the prescribed black festival garment, his
nobly-formed, but somewhat severe features had a milder expression than
usual, his lips smiled through his dark-brown beard as if they would
fain say something kind, while in his eyes one could see happy
remembrances combined with some strange foreboding. Beautiful Sara, who
sat on the high velvet cushion with her husband, as hostess, had on none
of her jewelry--nothing but white linen enveloped her slender form and
innocent face. This face was touchingly beautiful, even as all Jewish
beauty is of a peculiarly moving kind; for the consciousness of the deep
wretchedness, the bitter ignominy, and the evil dangers amid which their
kindred and friends dwell, imparts to their lovely features an
expression of soulful sadness and watchful, loving anxiety, which
particularly charms our hearts. So on this evening Beautiful Sara sat
looking into the eyes of her husband, yet glancing ever and anon at the
beautiful parchment book of the _Agade_ which lay before her, bound in
gold and velvet.

[Illustration: HOUSE IN BACHARACH]

It was an old heirloom, with ancient wine stains on it, and had come
down from the days of her grandfather; and in it there were many boldly
and brightly-colored pictures, which as a little girl she had often
looked at so eagerly on Passover evenings. They represented all kinds of
Bible incidents--Abraham breaking with a hammer the idols of his father
and the angels appearing to him; Moses slaying Mizri; Pharaoh sitting in
state on his throne, and the frogs giving him no peace even at the
table; his death by drowning--the Lord be praised!--the children of
Israel cautiously crossing the Red Sea, and then standing open-mouthed,
with their sheep, cows, and oxen, before Mount Sinai; pious King David
playing the harp; and, finally, Jerusalem, with its towers and
battlements, shining in the splendor of the setting sun.

The second wine-cup had been served, the faces and voices of the guests
were growing merrier, and the Rabbi, as he took a loaf of unleavened
bread and raised it with a cheerful smile, read these words from the
_Agade_: "Behold! This is the food which our fathers ate in Egypt! Let
every one who is hungry come and enjoy it! Let every one who is
sorrowful come and share the joy of our Passover! This year we celebrate
it here, but in years to come in the land of Israel. This year we
celebrate it as servants, but in the years to come as sons of freedom!"

Then the hall door opened, and two tall, pale men, wrapped in very loose
cloaks, entered and said:

"Peace be with you. We are men of your faith on a journey, and wish to
share the Passover-feast with you!" And the Rabbi replied promptly and

"Peace be with you! Sit ye down near me!" The two strangers immediately
sat down at the table, and the Rabbi read on. Several times while the
others were repeating a sentence after him, he said an endearing word to
his wife; once, alluding to the old humorous saying that on this evening
a Hebrew father of a family regards himself as a king, he said to her,
"Rejoice, oh my Queen!" But she replied with a sad smile, "The Prince is
wanting," meaning by that a son, who, as a passage in the _Agade_
requires, has to ask his father, with a certain formula of words, what
the meaning of the festival is? The Rabbi said nothing, but pointed with
his finger to an opened page of the _Agade_, on which was a pretty
picture, showing how the three angels came to Abraham, announcing that
he would have a son by his wife Sara, who, meanwhile, urged by feminine
curiosity, is slyly listening to it all behind the tent-door. This
little sign caused a threefold blush to color the cheeks of Beautiful
Sara, who first looked down, and then glanced pleasantly at her husband,
who went on chanting the wonderful story how Rabbi Jesua, Rabbi Eliezer,
Rabbi Asaria, Rabbi Akiba, and Rabbi Tarphen sat reclining in Bona-Brak,
and conversed all night long of the Exodus from Egypt, till their
disciples came to tell them that it was daylight, and that the great
morning prayer was being read in the synagogue.

While Beautiful Sara sat devoutly listening to and looking at her
husband, she saw his face suddenly assume an expression of agony or
horror, his cheeks and lips become deathly pale, and his eyes harden
like two balls of ice; but almost immediately he regained his previous
composure and cheerfulness, his cheeks and lips grew ruddy, and he
looked about him gaily--nay, it seemed as if a strange, wild humor, such
as was foreign to his nature, had seized him. Beautiful Sara was
frightened as she had never been before in all her life, and a cold
shudder went through her--due less to the momentary manifestation of
dumb horror which she had seen in her husband's face, than to the
cheerfulness which followed it, and which was now gradually developing
into jubilant hilarity. The Rabbi cocked his cap comically, first on one
ear, then on the other, pulled and twisted his beard ludicrously, and
sang the _Agade_ texts as if they were tavern-songs; and in the
enumeration of the Egyptian plagues, where it is usual to dip the
forefinger in the full wine-cup and flip off the drops that adhere, he
sprinkled the young girls near him with the red wine, so that there was
great wailing over spoiled collars, combined with loud laughter. Every
moment Beautiful Sara was becoming more amazed by this convulsive
merriment of her husband, and she was oppressed with nameless fears as
she gazed on the buzzing swarm of gaily glittering guests who were
comfortably enjoying themselves here and there, nibbling the thin
Passover cakes, drinking wine, gossiping, or joyfully singing aloud.

Then came the time for supper. All rose to wash, and Beautiful Sara
brought the large silver basin, richly adorned with embossed gold
figures, which was held before all the guests in turn, while water was
poured over their hands. As she was doing this for the Rabbi, he gave
her a significant glance, and quietly slipped out of the door. When
Beautiful Sara walked out after him, he grasped her hand, and in the
greatest haste hurried her through the dark lanes of Bacharach, out of
the city gate to the highway which leads along the Rhine to Bingen.

It was one of those spring nights which, to be sure, are mild and starry
enough, yet which inspire the soul with strange, uncanny feelings. There
was something funereal in the odor of the flowers, the birds chirped
spitefully and at the same time apprehensively, the moon cast malicious
yellow stripes of light over the dark murmuring stream, the lofty banks
of the Rhine looked like vague, threatening giants' heads. The watchman
on the tower of Castle Strahleck blew a melancholy blast, and with it
rang in jarring discord the funeral bell of Saint Werner's.

Beautiful Sara still had the silver basin in her right hand, while the
Rabbi held her left, and she felt that his fingers were ice-cold, and
that his arm was trembling; but still she went on with him in silence,
perhaps because she had become accustomed to obey her husband blindly
and unquestioningly--perhaps, too, because her lips were mute with
fear and anxiety.

Below Castle Sonneck, opposite Lorch, about the place where the hamlet
of Nieder Rheinbach now lies, there rises a cliff which arches out over
the Rhine bank. The Rabbi ascended this with his wife, looked around on
every side, and gazed on the stars. Trembling and shivering, as with the
pain of death, Beautiful Sara looked at his pale face, which seemed
ghastly in the moonlight, and seemed to express by turns pain, terror,
piety, and rage. But when the Rabbi suddenly snatched from her hands the
silver basin and threw it far out into the Rhine, she could no longer
endure the agony of uncertainty, and crying out "_Schadai_, be
merciful!" threw herself at his feet and conjured him to explain the
dark mystery.

At first unable to speak, the Rabbi moved his lips without uttering a
sound; but finally he cried, "Dost thou see the Angel of Death? There
below he sweeps over Bacharach. But we have escaped his sword. God be
praised!" Then, in a voice still trembling with excitement, he told her
that, while he was happily and comfortably singing the _Agade_, he
happened to glance under the table, and saw at his feet the bloody
corpse of a little child. "Then I knew," continued the Rabbi, "that our
two guests were not of the community of Israel, but of the army of the
godless, who had plotted to bring that corpse into the house by stealth
so as to accuse us of child-murder, and stir up the people to plunder
and murder us. Had I given a sign that I saw through that work of
darkness I should have brought destruction on the instant down upon me
and mine, and only by craft did I save our lives. Praised be God! Grieve
not, Beautiful Sara. Our relatives and friends shall also be saved; it
was only my blood which the wretches wanted. I have escaped them, and
they will be satisfied with my silver and gold. Come with me, Beautiful
Sara, to another land. We will leave misfortune behind us, and so that
it may not follow us I have thrown to it the silver ewer, the last of my
possessions, as an offering. The God of our fathers will not forsake us.
Come down, thou art weary. There is Dumb William standing by his boat;
he will row us up the Rhine."

Speechless, and as if every limb were broken, Beautiful Sara sank into
the arms of the Rabbi, who slowly bore her to the bank. There stood
William, a deaf and dumb but very handsome youth, who, to support his
old foster-mother, a neighbor of the Rabbi, caught and sold fish, and
kept his boat in this place. It seemed as if he had divined the
intention of Abraham, and was waiting for him, for on his silent lips
there was an expression of tender sympathy, and his large blue eyes
rested as with deep meaning on Beautiful Sara, as he lifted her
carefully into the boat.

The glance of the silent youth roused Beautiful Sara from her lethargy,
and she realized at once that all which her husband had told her was not
a mere dream. A stream of bitter tears poured over her cheeks, which
were as white as her garment. Thus she sat in the boat, a weeping image
of white marble, and beside her sat her husband and Dumb William, who
was busily rowing.

Whether it is due to the measured beat of the oars, or to the rocking of
the boat, or to the fresh perfume from those steep banks whereon joy
grows, it ever happens that even the most sorrowful heart is marvelously
relieved when on a night in spring it is lightly borne along in a small
boat on the dear, limpid waters of the Rhine. For, in truth,
kind-hearted, old Father Rhine cannot bear to see his children weep, and
so, drying their tears, he rocks them on his trusty arm, and tells them
his most beautiful stories, and promises them his most golden treasures,
perhaps even the old, old, long-sunk Nibelungen hoard. Gradually the
tears of Beautiful Sara ceased to flow; her extreme sorrow seemed to be
washed away by the whispering waves, while the hills about her home bade
her the tenderest farewell. But especially cordial seemed the farewell
greeting of Kedrich, her favorite mountain; and far up on its summit, in
the strange moonlight, she imagined she saw a lady with outstretched.
arms, while active little dwarfs swarmed out of their caverns in the
rocks, and a rider came rushing down the side in full gallop. Beautiful
Sara felt as if she were a child again, and were sitting once more in
the lap of her aunt from Lorch, who was telling her brave tales of the
bold knight who freed the stolen damsel from the dwarfs, and many other
true stories of the wonderful Wisperthal over there, where the birds
talk as sensibly as men, and of Gingerbread Land, where good, obedient
children go, and of enchanted princesses, singing trees, crystal
castles, golden bridges, laughing water-fairies.... But suddenly in the
midst of these pleasant tales, which began to send forth notes of music
and to gleam with lovely light, Beautiful Sara heard the voice of her
father, scolding the poor aunt for putting such nonsense into the
child's head. Then it seemed to her as if they set her on the little
stool before her father's velvet-covered chair, and that he with a soft
hand smoothed her long hair, smiling as if well pleased, while he rocked
himself comfortably in his loose, Sabbath dressing-gown of blue silk.
Yes, it must be the Sabbath, for the flowered cover was spread on the
table, all the utensils in the room were polished like looking-glasses,
the white-bearded usher sat beside her father, eating raisins and
talking in Hebrew; even little Abraham came in with a very large book,
and modestly begged leave of his uncle to expound a portion of the Holy
Scripture, that he might prove that he had learned much during the past
week, and therefore deserved much praise--and a corresponding quantity of
cakes.... Then the lad laid the book on the broad arm of the chair, and
set forth the history of Jacob and Rachel--how Jacob raised his voice
and wept when he first saw his cousin Rachel, how he talked so
confidingly with her by the well, how he had to serve seven years for
her, and how quickly the time passed, and how he at last married and
loved her for ever and ever.... Then all at once Beautiful Sara
remembered how her father cried with merry voice, "Wilt thou not also
marry thy cousin Sara like that?" To which little Abraham gravely
replied, "That I will, and she shall wait seven years too." These
memories stole like twilight shadows through the soul of the young
wife, and she recalled how she and her little cousin--now so great a man
and her husband--played together as children in the leafy tabernacle; how
delighted they were with the gay carpets, flowers, mirrors, and gilded
apples; how little Abraham caressed her more and more tenderly, till
little by little he began to grow larger and more self-interested, and
at last became a man and scarcely noticed her at all.... And now she
sits in her room alone on a Saturday evening; the moon shines in
brightly. Suddenly the door flies open, and cousin Abraham, in traveling
garb, and as pale as death, enters, grasps her hand, puts a gold ring on
her finger, and says, solemnly, "I hereby take thee to be my wife,
according to the laws of God and of Israel." "But now," he adds, with a
trembling voice, "now I must go to Spain. Farewell! For seven years thou
must wait for me." With that he hurried away, and Sara, weeping, told
the tale to her father, who roared and raged, "Cut off thy hair, for
thou art now a married woman." Then he wanted to ride after Abraham to
compel him to write a letter of divorce; but Abraham was over the hills
and far away, and the father silently returned to his house. And when
Beautiful Sara was helping him to draw off his boots, and trying to
soothe him, saying that Abraham would return in seven years, he cursed,
and cried, "Seven years shalt thou be a beggar," and shortly after he

And so old memories swept through her soul like a hurried play of
shadows, the images intermixing and blending strangely, while between
them came and went half-familiar, half-strange bearded faces, and large
flowers with marvelously spreading foliage. Then the Rhine seemed to
murmur the melodies of the _Agade_, and from its waters the pictures, as
large as life, but wild and distorted, came forth one by one. There was
Father Abraham anxiously breaking the idols into pieces which
immediately flew together again; Mizri defending himself fiercely
against the maddened Moses; Mount Sinai flashing and flaming; King
Pharaoh swimming in the Red Sea, holding his pointed gold crown tightly
in his teeth, while frogs with human faces swam along behind, in the
foaming, roaring waves, and a dark giant-hand rose up threatening from

Yonder was the Mouse Tower of Bishop Hatto, and the boat was just
shooting through the Bingen Eddy. By this time Beautiful Sara had
somewhat awakened from her dreams, and she gazed at the hills on the
shore, on the summits of which lights of castles were gleaming, and at
the foot of which the mist, shimmering in the moonlight, was beginning
to rise. Suddenly she seemed to see her friends and relatives, as they,
with corpse-like faces and flowing shrouds, passed in awful procession
along the Rhine.... The world grew dark before her eyes, an icy current
ran through her soul, and, as if in sleep, she only heard the Rabbi
repeating the night-prayer slowly and painfully, as if at a deathbed.
Dreamily she stammered the words, "Ten thousand to the right, ten
thousand to the left, to protect the king from the terrors of the

Then all at once the oppressive gloom and terror passed away, the dark
curtain was torn from heaven, and far above there appeared the holy city
Jerusalem, with its towers and gates; the Temple gleamed in golden
splendor, and in its fore-court Sara saw her father in his yellow
Sabbath dressing-gown, smiling as if well pleased. All her friends and
relatives were looking out from the round windows of the Temple,
cordially greeting her; in the Holy of Holies knelt pious King David,
with his purple mantle and golden crown; sweetly rang his song and the
tones of his harp, and smiling happily, Beautiful Sara awoke.


As Beautiful Sara opened her eyes they were almost dazzled by the rays
of the sun. The high towers of a great city rose before her, and Dumb
William, with his oar upright, was standing in the boat, pushing and
guiding it through the lively confusion of many vessels, gay with their
pennons and streamers, whose crews were either gazing idly at
passers-by, or else were busily loading with chests, bales, and casks
the lighters which were to bear them to the shore. And with it all was a
deafening noise, the constant halloh cry of steersmen, the calling of
traders from the shore, and the scolding of the custom-house officials
who, in their red coats and with their white maces and white faces,
jumped from boat to boat.

"Yes, Beautiful Sara," said the Rabbi, cheerfully smiling to his wife,
"this is the famous, free, imperial, and commercial city of
Frankfort-on-the-Main, and we are now passing along the river Main. Do
you see those pleasant-looking houses up there, surrounded by green
hills? That is Sachsenhausen, from which our lame Gumpert brings us the
fine myrrh for the Feast of the Tabernacles. Here you see the strong
Main Bridge with its thirteen arches, over which many men, wagons, and
horses can safely pass. In the middle of it stands the little house
where Aunty Taeubchen says there lives a baptized Jew, who pays six
farthings, on account of the Jewish community, to every man who brings
him a dead rat; for the Jews are obliged to deliver annually to the
State council five thousand rats' tails for tribute."

At the thought of this war, which the Frankfort Jews were obliged to
wage with the rats, Beautiful Sara burst out laughing. The bright
sunlight, and the new gay world now before her, had driven all the
terrors and horrors of the past night from her soul, and as she was
helped ashore from the boat by Dumb William and her husband, she felt
inspired as with a sense of joyful safety. Dumb William for a long time
fixed his beautiful, deep-blue eyes on hers, half sadly, half
cheerfully, and then, casting a significant glance at the Rabbi, sprang
back into his boat and was soon out of sight.

"Dumb William much resembles my brother who died," said Beautiful Sara.
"All the angels are alike," answered the Rabbi; and, taking his wife by
the hand, led her through the dense crowd on the shore, where, as it was
the time of the Easter Fair, a great number of wooden booths had been
erected by traders. Then passing through the gloomy Main Gate, they
found themselves in quite as noisy a crowd. Here, in a narrow street,
the shops stood close beside one another, every house, as was usual in
Frankfort, being specially adapted to trade. There were no windows on
the ground floor, but broad, open arches, so that the passer-by, looking
in, could see at a glance all there was for sale. And how astonished
Beautiful Sara was at the mass of magnificent wares, and at the
splendor, such as she had never seen before! Here stood Venetians, who
offered cheaply all the luxuries of the Orient and Italy, and Beautiful
Sara was enchanted by the sight of the ornaments and jewels, the gay
caps and bodices, the gold bangles and necklaces, and the whole display
of finery which women so admire and love to wear. The richly embroidered
stuffs of velvet and silk seemed fairly to speak to Beautiful Sara, and
to flash and sparkle strange wonders back into her memory, and she
really felt as if she were a little girl again, and as if Aunty Taeubchen
had kept her promise and taken her to the Frankfort Fair, and as if she
were now at last standing before the beautiful garments of which she had
heard so much. With a secret joy she reflected what she should take back
with her to Bacharach, and which of her two little cousins, Posy and
Birdy, would prefer that blue silk girdle, and whether the green
stockings would suit little Gottschalk. But all at once it flashed on
her, "Ah, Lord! they are all grown up now, and yesterday they were
slain!" She shuddered, and the pictures of the previous night filled her
soul with all their horror again. But the gold-embroidered cloths
glittered once more with a thousand roguish eyes, and drove the gloomy
thoughts from her mind, and when she looked into her husband's face she
saw that it was free from clouds, and bore its habitual, serious
gentleness. "Shut your eyes, Sara!" said the Rabbi, and he led his wife
on through the crowd.

What a gay, active throng! Most prominent were the tradesmen, who were
loudly vying one another in offering bargains, or talking together and
summing on their fingers, or, following heavily loaded porters, who at a
dog-trot were leading the way to their lodgings. By the faces of others
one could see that they came from curiosity. The stout councilman was
recognizable by his scarlet cloak and golden chain; a black,
expensive-looking, swelling waistcoat betrayed the honorable and proud
citizen. An iron spike-helmet, a yellow leather jerkin, and rattling
spurs, weighing a pound, indicated the heavy cavalry-man. Under little
black velvet caps, which came together in a point over the brow, there
was many a rosy girl-face, and the young fellows who ran along after
them, like hunting-dogs on the scent, showed that they were finished
dandies by their saucily feathered caps, their squeaking peaked shoes,
and their colored silk garments, some of which were green on one side
and red on the other, or else striped like a rainbow on the right and
checkered with harlequin squares of many colors on the left, so that the
mad youths looked as if they were divided in the middle.

Carried along by the crowd, the Rabbi and his wife arrived at the Roemer.
This is the great market-place of the city, surrounded by houses with
high gables, and takes its name from an immense building, "the Roemer,"
which was bought by the magistracy and dedicated as the town-hall. In it
the German Emperor was elected, and before it tournaments were often
held. King Maximilian, who was passionately fond of this sport, was then
in Frankfort, and in his honor the day before there had been great
tilting in the Roemer. Many idle men still stood on or about the
scaffolding, which was being removed by carpenters, telling how the Duke
of Brunswick and the Margrave of Brandenburg had charged one another
amid the sound of drums and of trumpets, and how Lord Walter the
Vagabond had knocked the Knight of the Bear out of his saddle so
violently that the splinters of the lances flew high into the air, while
the tall, fair-haired King Max, standing among his courtiers upon the
balcony, rubbed his hands for joy. The golden banners were still to be
seen on the balconies and in the Gothic windows of the town-hall. The
other houses of the market-place were still likewise festively bedecked
and adorned with shields, especially the Limburg house, on whose banner
was painted a maiden with a sparrow-hawk in her hand, and a monkey
holding out to her a mirror. Many knights and ladies standing on the
balcony were engaged in animated conversation, or looking at the crowd
below, which, in wild groups and processions, surged back and forth.
What a multitude of idlers of all ages and ranks were crowded together
here to gratify their curiosity! There was laughing, grumbling,
stealing, rib-poking, hurrahing, while every now and then blared the
trumpet of the mountebank, who, in a red cloak and with his clown and
monkey, stood on a high stand loudly boasting of his own skill, and
sounding the praises of his marvelous tinctures and salves, ere he
solemnly examined the glass of urine brought by some old woman, or
applied himself to pull a poor peasant's tooth. Two fencing-masters,
dancing about in gay ribbons and brandishing their rapiers, met as if by
accident and began to cut and pass with great apparent anger; but after
a long bout each declared that the other was invincible, and took up a
collection. Then the newly-organized guild of archers marched by with
drummers and pipers, and these were followed by the constable, who was
carrying a red flag at the head of a flock of traveling strumpets,
hailing from the brothel known as "The Ass," in Wuerzburg, and bound for
Rosendale, where the highly honorable authorities had assigned them
quarters during the fair. "Shut your eyes, Sara," said the Rabbi. For
indeed these fantastic, and altogether too scantily clad women, among
whom were a few really beautiful girls, behaved in a most immodest
manner, baring their bold, white breasts, chaffing those who went by
with shameless words, and swinging their long walking sticks; and using
the latter as hobby-horses, they rode down toward the gate of St.
Katherine, singing in shrill tones the witch-song--

"Where is the goat? the hellish beast;
Where is the goat? Oh bring him quick!
And if there is no goat, at least
We'll ride upon the stick."

This wild sing-song, which rang afar, was finally drowned
out by the long-drawn, sacred tones of a church procession.
It was a solemn train of bare-headed and bare-footed monks,
who carried burning wax tapers, banners with pictures of
the saints, and large silver crucifixes. Before it ran boys
clad in red and white gowns, bearing censers of smoking
frankincense. In the middle of the procession, under a
beautiful canopy, marched priests in white robes adorned
with costly lace, or in bright-colored, silk stoles; one of
them held in his hand a sun-like, golden vessel, which, on
arriving at a shrine by the market-corner, he raised on high,
while he half-sang, half-spoke in Latin--when all at once
a little bell rang, and all the people around, becoming silent,
fell to their knees and made the sign of the cross. "Shut
your eyes, Sara!" cried the Rabbi again, and he hastily
drew her away through a labyrinth of narrow, crooked
streets, and at last over the desolate, empty place which
separated the new Jewish quarter from the rest of the city.

Before that time the Jews dwelt between the Cathedral and the bank of
the Main, that is, from the bridge down as far as the Lumpenbrunnen, and
from the Mehlwage as far as Saint Bartholomew's. But the Catholic
priests obtained a Papal bull forbidding the Jews to live so near the
high church, for which reason the magistrates assigned them a place on
the Wollgraben, where they built their present quarter. This was
surrounded by high walls, the gate of which was held by iron chains to
keep out the rabble. For here, too, the Jews lived in misery and
anxiety, and with far more vivid memories of previous suffering than
they have at present. In 1240 the unrestrained populace had caused awful
bloodshed among them, which people called the first Jewish massacre. In
1349, when the Flagellants, in passing through the town, set fire to it,
and accused the Jews of the deed, the latter were nearly all murdered or
burned alive in their own houses; this was called the second Jewish
massacre. After this the Jews were often threatened with similar
slaughter, and during the internal dissensions of Frankfort, especially
during a dispute between the council and the guilds, the mob was often
on the point of breaking into the Jewish quarter, which, as has been
said, was surrounded by a wall. The latter had two gates in it, which on
Catholic holidays were closed from without and on Jewish holidays from
within, and before each gate was a watch-house with city soldiers.

When the Rabbi with his wife came to the entrance to the Jewish quarter,
the soldiers, as one could see through the open windows, lay on the
wooden bench inside the watch-house, while out before the door in the
sunshine sat the drummer beating capriciously on his large drum. He was
a heavy, fat fellow, wearing a jerkin and hose of fiery yellow, greatly
puffed out at his arms and thighs, and profusely dotted with small red
tufts, sewed on, which looked as if innumerable tongues were protruding
from him. His breast and back were padded with cushions of black cloth,
against which hung his drum. He had on his head a flat, round black cap,
which in roundness and flatness was equaled by his face, and the latter
was also in keeping with his dress, being an orange-yellow, spotted with
red pimples, and distorted into a gaping grin. So the fellow sat and
drummed to the melody of a song which the Flagellants had sung at the
Jewish massacre, while he gurgled, in a coarse, beery voice--

"Our dear Lady true
Walked in the morning dew,
Kyrie eleison!"

"Hans, that is a terrible tune," cried a voice from behind the closed
gate of the Jewish quarter. "Yes, Hans, and a bad song too-doesn't suit
the drum; doesn't suit it at all--by my soul--not the day of the fair
and on Easter morning--bad song--dangerous song--Jack, Jacky, little
drum--Jacky boy--I'm a lone man--and if thou lovest me, the Star, the
tall Star, the tall Nose Star--then stop it!"

These words were uttered by the unseen speaker, now in hasty anxiety,
now in a sighing drawl, with a tone which alternated between mild
softness and harsh hoarseness, such as one hears in consumptive people.
The drummer was not moved, and went on drumming and singing--

"There came a little youth,
His beard had run away, in truth,

"Jack," again cried the voice of the invisible speaker, "Jack, I'm a
lone man, and that is a dangerous song, and I don't like it; I have my
reasons for it, and if you love me, sing something else, and tomorrow we
will drink together."

At the word "drink" Jack ceased his drumming and singing, and said in
friendly tone, "The devil take the Jews! But thou, dear Nose Star, art
my friend, I protect thee; and if we drink together often enough I shall
have thee converted. Yea, I shall be thy godfather, and when thou art
baptized thou shalt be eternally happy; and if thou hast genius and wilt
study industriously under me, thou mayest even become a drummer. Yes,
Nose Star, thou mayest yet become something great. I will drum the whole
catechism into thee when we drink together tomorrow. But now open the
gate, for here are two strangers who wish to enter."

"Open the gate?" cried Nose Star, and his voice almost deserted him.
"That can't be done in such a hurry, my dear Jack; one can't tell--one
can never tell, you know--and I'm a lone man. Veitel Oxhead has the
key, and he is now standing in the corner mumbling his eighteen-prayer,
and he must not be interrupted. And Jaekel the Fool is here too, but he
is making water; I'm a lone man."

"The devil take the Jews!" cried the drummer, and, laughing loudly at
this, his one and only joke, he trudged off to the guard-room and lay
down on the bench.

While the Rabbi stood with his wife before the locked gate, there rose
from behind it a snarling, nasal, somewhat mocking voice. "Starry--don't
groan so much. Take the keys from Oxheady's coat pockets, or else go
stick your nose in the keyhole, and so unlock the gate. The people have
been standing and waiting a long time." "People!" cried the anxious
voice of the man called Nose Star, "I thought there was only one! I beg
you, Fool--dear Jaekel Fool--look out and see who is there."

A small, well-grated window in the gate opened, and there appeared in
it a yellow cap with two horns, and the funny, wrinkled, and twisted
jest-maker's face of Jaekel the Fool. The window was immediately shut
again, and he cried angrily, "Open the gate--it is only a man and a

"A man and a woman!" groaned Nose Star. "Yes, but when the gate's opened
the woman will take her skirt off, and become a man; and then there'll
be two men, and there are only three of us!"

"Don't be a hare," replied Jaekel the Fool. "Be a man and show courage!"

"Courage!" cried Nose Star, laughing with bitter vexation. "Hare! Hare
is a bad comparison. The hare is an unclean animal. Courage! I was not
put here to be courageous, but cautious. When too many come I am to give
the alarm. But I alone cannot keep them back. My arm is weak, I have a
seton, and I'm a lone man. If one were to shoot at me, I should be a
dead man. Then that rich man, Mendel Reiss, would sit on the Sabbath at
his table, and wipe the raisin-sauce from his mouth, and rub his belly,
and perhaps say, 'Tall Nose Star was a brave fellow after all; if it had
not been for him, perhaps they would have burst open the gate. He let
himself be shot for us. He was a brave fellow; too bad that he's dead!'"

Here the voice became tender and tearful, but all at once it rose to a
hasty and almost angry tone. "Courage! and so that the rich Mendel Reiss
may wipe away the raisin-sauce from his mouth, and rub his belly, and
call me a brave fellow, I'm to let myself be shot! Courage! Be a man!
Little Strauss was a man, and yesterday went to the Roemer to see the
tilting, thinking they would not know him because he wore a frock of
violet velvet--three florins a yard-covered with fox-tails and
embroidered with gold--quite magnificent; and they dusted his violet
frock for him till it lost its color, and his own back became violet and
did not look human. Courage, indeed! The crippled Leser was courageous,
and called our scoundrel of a magistrate a blackguard, and they hung him
up by the feet between two dogs, while Jack drummed. Courage! Don't be
a hare! Among many dogs the hare is helpless. I'm a lone man, and I am
really afraid."

"That I'll swear to," cried Jaekel.

"Yes; I _have_ fear," replied Nose Star, sighing. "I know that it runs
in my blood, and I got it from my dear mother"--

"Yes, yes," interrupted Jaekel, "and your mother got it from her father,
and he from his, and so all thy ancestors one from the other, back to
the forefather who marched under King Saul against the Philistines, and
was the first to take to his heels. But look! Oxheady is all ready--he
has bowed his head for the fourth time; now he is jumping like a flea at
the Holy, Holy, Holy, and feeling cautiously in his pocket."

In fact the keys rattled, the gate grated and creaked and opened, and
the Rabbi led his wife into the empty Jews' Street. The man who opened
it was a little fellow with a good-naturedly sour face, who nodded
dreamily, like one who did not like to be disturbed in his thoughts, and
after he had carefully closed the gate again, without saying a word he
sank into a corner, constantly mumbling his prayers. Less taciturn was
Jaekel the Fool, a short, somewhat bow-legged fellow, with a large, red,
laughing face, and an enormous leg-of-mutton hand, which he now
stretched out of the wide sleeve of his gaily-chequered jacket in
welcome. Behind him a tall, lean figure showed, or rather, hid
itself--the slender neck feathered with a fine white cambric ruff, and
the thin, pale face strangely adorned with an incredibly long nose,
which peered with anxious curiosity in every direction.

"God's welcome to a pleasant feast-day!" cried Jaekel the Fool. "Do not
be astonished that our street is so empty and quiet just now. All our
people are in the synagogue, and you have come just in time to hear the
history of the sacrifice of Isaac read. I know it--'tis an interesting
story, and if I had not already heard it thirty-three times, I would
willingly listen to it again this year. And it is an important history,
too, for if Abraham had really killed Isaac and not the goat, then there
would be more goats in the world now--and fewer Jews." And then with
mad, merry grimaces, Jaekel began to sing the following song from the

"A kid, a kid, which my father bought for two pieces of money. A kid!
A kid!

There came a cat which ate the kid, which my father
bought for two pieces of money. A kid!

There came a dog, who bit the cat, who ate the kid, which my father
bought for two pieces of money. A kid!

There came a stick, which beat the dog, who bit the cat, who ate the
kid, which my father bought for two pieces of money. A kid! A kid!

There came a fire, which burnt the stick, which beat the dog, who bit
the cat, who ate the kid, which my father bought for two pieces of money.
A kid! A kid!

There came the water, which quenched the fire, which burnt the stick,
which beat the dog, who bit the cat, who ate the kid, which my father
bought for two pieces of money. A kid! A kid!

There came an ox, who drank the water, which quenched the fire, which
burnt the stick, which beat the dog, who bit the cat, who ate the kid,
which my father bought for two pieces of money. A kid! A kid!

There came the butcher, who slew the ox, who drank the water, which
quenched the fire, which burnt the stick, which beat the dog, who bit the
cat, that ate the kid, which my father bought for two pieces of money.
A kid! A kid!

"Then came the Angel of Death, who slew the butcher, who killed the
ox, who drank the water, which quenched the fire, which burnt the stick,
which beat the dog, who bit the cat, who ate the kid, which my father
bought for two pieces of money. A kid! A kid!"[61]

"Yes, beautiful lady," added the singer, "and the day will come when
the Angel of Death will slay the slayer, and all our blood come over
Edom, for God is a God of vengeance."

But all at once, casting aside with a violent effort the seriousness
into which he had involuntarily fallen, Jaekel plunged again into his mad
buffoonery, and went on in his harsh jester tones, "Don't be afraid,
beautiful lady, Nose Star will not harm you. He is only dangerous to old
Schnapper-Elle. She has fallen in love with his nose--which, faith!
deserves it. Yea, for it is as beautiful as the tower which looketh
forth toward Damascus, and as lofty as a cedar of Lebanon. Outwardly it
gleameth like gold loaf and syrup, and inwardly it is all music and
loveliness. It bloometh in summer and in winter it is frozen up--but in
summer and winter it is petted and pulled by the white hands of
Schnapper-Elle. Yes, she is madly in love with him. She nurses him, and
feeds him, and for her age she is young enough. When he is fat enough,
she means to marry him; and whoever comes to Frankfort, three hundred
years hence, will not be able to see the heavens for Nose Stars."

"Ah, you are Jaekel the Fool," exclaimed the Rabbi, laughing. "I mark it
by your words. I have often heard of you."

"Yes--yes," replied Jaekel, with comical modesty. "Yes, that is what
reputation does. A man is often known far and wide as a bigger fool than
he himself has any idea of. However, I take great pains to be a fool,
and jump and shake myself to make the bells ring; others have an easier
time. But tell me, Rabbi, why do you journey on a holiday?"

"My justification," replied the Rabbi, "is in the Talmud, where it says,
'Danger drives away the Sabbath.'"

"Danger!" screamed the tall Nose Star, in mortal terror. "Danger!
danger! Drummer Jack!--drum, drum. Danger! danger! Drummer Jack!" From
without resounded the deep, beery voice of Drummer Jack, "Death and
destruction! The devil take the Jews. That's the third time today that
you've roused me out of a sound sleep, Nose Star! Don't make me mad! For
when I am mad I'm the very devil himself; and then as sure as I'm a
Christian, I'll up with my gun and shoot through the grated window in
your gate--and then fellow, let everybody look out for his nose!"

"Don't shoot! don't shoot! I'm a lonely man," wailed Nose Star
piteously, pressing his face against the wall, and trembling and
murmuring prayers in this position.

"But say, what has happened?" cried Jaekel the Fool, with all the
impatient curiosity which was even then characteristic of the Frankfort

But the Rabbi impatiently broke loose from them, and went his way along
the Jews' Street. "See, Sara!" he exclaimed, "how badly guarded is our
Israel. False friends guard its gates without, and within its watchers
are Folly and Fear."

They wandered slowly through the long empty street, where only here and
there the head of some young girl showed itself in a window, against the
polished panes of which the sun was brilliantly reflected. At that time
the houses in the Jewish quarter were still neat and new, and much lower
than they now are, since it was only later on that the Jews, as their
number greatly increased, while they could not enlarge their quarter,
built one story over another, squeezed themselves together like
sardines, and were thus stunted both in body and soul. That part of the
Jewish quarter which remained standing after the great fire, and which
is called the Old Lane, those high blackened houses, where a grinning,
sweaty race of people bargains and chaffers, is a horrible relic of the
Middle Ages. The older synagogue exists no more; it was less capacious
than the present one, which was built later, after the Nuremberg exiles
were taken into the community, and lay more to the north.

The Rabbi had no need to ask where it was. He recognized it from afar by
the buzz of many loud voices. In the court of the House of God he parted
from his wife, and after washing his hands at the fountain there, he
entered the lower part of the synagogue where the men pray, while Sara
ascended a flight of stairs and entered the place reserved for women.
The latter was a kind of gallery with three rows of seats painted a
reddish brown, whose backs were fitted with a hanging board, which held
the prayer-books, and which could be raised and lowered. Here the women
either sat gossiping or stood up in deep prayer. They often went and
peered with curiosity through the large grating on the eastern side,
through the thin, green lattice of which one could look down on the
lower floor of the synagogue. There, behind high praying-desks, stood
the men in their black cloaks, their pointed beards shooting out over
white ruffs, and their skull-capped heads more or less concealed by a
four-cornered scarf of white wool or silk, furnished with the prescribed
tassels, and in some instances also adorned with gold lace. The walls of
the synagogue were uniformly white-washed, and no ornament was to be
seen other than the gilded iron grating around the square stage, where
extracts from the Law were read, and the holy ark, a costly embossed
chest, apparently supported by marble columns with gorgeous capitals,
whose flower-and leaf-work shot up in beautiful profusion, and covered
with a curtain of purple velvet, on which a pious inscription was worked
in gold spangles, pearls, and many colored gems. Here hung the silver
memorial-lamp, and there also rose a trellised dais, on whose crossed
iron bars were all kinds of sacred utensils, among them the
seven-branched candlestick. Before the latter, his countenance toward
the ark, stood the choir-leader, whose song was accompanied, as if
instrumentally, by the voices of his two assistants, the bass and the
treble. The Jews have banished all instrumental music from their church,
maintaining that hymns in praise of God are more edifying when they
rise from the warm breast of man, than from the cold pipes of an organ.

Beautiful Sara felt a childish delight when the choir-leader, an
admirable tenor, raised his voice and sounded forth the ancient, solemn
melodies, which she knew so well, in a fresher loveliness than she had
ever dreamed of, while the bass sang in harmony the deep, dark notes,
and, in the pauses, the treble's voice trilled sweetly and daintily.
Such singing Beautiful Sara had never heard in the synagogue of
Bacharach, where the presiding elder, David Levi, was the leader; for
when this elderly, trembling man, with his broken, bleating voice, tried
to trill like a young girl, and in his forced effort to do so, shook his
limp and drooping arm feverishly, it inspired laughter rather than

A sense of pious satisfaction, not unmingled with feminine curiosity,
drew Beautiful Sara to the grating, where she could look down on the
lower floor, or the so-called men's division. She had never before seen
so many of her faith together, and it cheered her heart to be in such a
multitude of those so closely allied by race, thought, and sufferings.
And her soul was still more deeply moved when three old men
reverentially approached the sacred ark, drew aside the glittering
curtain, raised the lid, and very carefully brought forth the Book which
God wrote with His own hand, and for the maintenance of which Jews have
suffered so much--so much misery and hate, disgrace and death--a
thousand years' martyrdom. This Book--a great roll of parchment--was
wrapped like a princely child in a gaily embroidered scarlet cloak of
velvet; above, on both wooden rollers, were two little silver shrines,
in which many pomegranates and small bells jingled and rang prettily,
while before, on a silver chain, hung gold shields with many colored
gems. The choir-leader took the Book, and, as if it really were a
child--a child for whom one has greatly suffered, and whom one loves all
the more on that account--he rocked it in his arms, skipped about with
it here and there, pressed it to his breast, and, thrilled by its holy
touch, broke forth into such a devout hymn of praise and thanksgiving,
that it seemed to Beautiful Sara as if the pillars under the holy ark
began to bloom; and the strange and lovely flowers and leaves on the
capitals shot ever higher, the tones of the treble were converted into
the notes of the nightingale, the vaulted ceiling of the synagogue
resounded with the tremendous tones of the bass singer, while the glory
of God shone down from the blue heavens. Yes, it was a beautiful psalm.
The congregation sang in chorus the concluding verse, and then the
choir-leader walked slowly to the raised platform in the middle of the
synagogue bearing the holy Book, while men and boys crowded about him,
eager to kiss its velvet covering, or even to touch it. On the platform,
the velvet cover, as well as the wrappings covered with illuminated
letters, were removed, and the choir-leader, in the peculiar intonation
which in the Passover service is still more peculiarly modulated, read
the edifying narrative of the temptation of Abraham.

Beautiful Sara had modestly withdrawn from the grating, and a stout,
much ornamented woman of middle age, with a forward, but benevolent
manner, had with a nod invited her to share her prayer-book. This lady
was evidently no great scholar, for as she mumbled to herself the
prayers as the women do, not being allowed to take part in the singing,
Sara observed that she made the best she could of many words, and
skipped several good lines altogether. But after a while the watery blue
eyes of the good woman were languidly raised, an insipid smile spread
over her red and white porcelain face, and in a voice which she strove
to make as genteel as possible, she said to Beautiful Sara, "He sings
very well. But I have heard far better singing in Holland. You are a
stranger, and perhaps do not know that the choir-leader is from Worms,
and that they will keep him here if he will be content with four hundred
florins a year. He is a charming man, and his hands are as white as
alabaster. I admire beautiful hands; they make one altogether
beautiful." Having said this, the good lady laid her own hand, which
was really a fine one, on the shelf before her, and with a polite nod
which intimated that she did not like to be interrupted while speaking,
she added, "The little singer is a mere child, and looks very much worn
out. The basso is too ugly for anything; our Star once made the witty
remark: 'The bass singer is a bigger fool than even a basso is expected
to be!' All three eat in my restaurant--perhaps you don't know that I'm
Elle Schnapper?"

Beautiful Sara expressed thanks for this information, whereupon
Schnapper-Elle proceeded to narrate in detail how she had once been in
Amsterdam, how she had been subjected to the advances of men on account
of her beauty, how she had come to Frankfort three days before
Whit-suntide and married Schnapper, how he had died, and what touching
things he had finally said on his deathbed, and how hard it was to carry
on the restaurant business and keep one's hands nice. Several times she
glanced aside with a contemptuous air, apparently at some giggling
girls, who seemed to be eyeing her clothes. And the latter were indeed
remarkable enough--a very loose skirt of white satin, on which all the
animals of Noah's Ark were embroidered in gaudy colors; a jacket of gold
cloth, like a cuirass, with sleeves of red velvet, yellow slashed; a
very high cap on her head, with a mighty ruff of stiff white linen
around her neck, which also had around it a silver chain hung with all
kinds of coins, cameos, and curiosities, among them a large picture of
the city of Amsterdam, which rested on her bosom.

But the dresses of the other women were no less remarkable. They
consisted of a variety of fashions of different ages, and many a woman
there was so covered with gold and diamonds as to look like a wandering
jeweler's shop. It is true that there was at that time a fashion of
dress prescribed by law to the Frankfort Jews, and to distinguish them
from Christians the men had to wear yellow rings on their cloaks, and
the women very stiff, blue-striped veils on their caps. However, in the
Jewish quarter the law was little observed, and there, in the synagogue,
especially on festival days, the women put on as much magnificent
apparel as they could--partly to arouse envy of others, and partly to
advertise the wealth and credit of their husbands.

While passages from the Books of Moses are being read on the lower floor
of the synagogue, the devotion is usually somewhat lulled. Many make
themselves comfortable and sit down, whispering perhaps business affairs
with a friend, or go out into the court to get a little fresh air. Small
boys take the liberty of visiting their mothers in the women's balcony;
and here worship is still more loosely observed, as there is gossiping,
chattering, and laughing, while, as always happens, the young quizz the
old, and the latter censure the light-headedness of the girls and the
general degeneracy of the age.

And just as there was a choir-leader on the floor below, so was there a
gossip-leader in the balcony above. This was Puppy Reiss, a vulgar,
greenish woman, who found out about everybody's troubles, and always had
a scandal on her tongue. The usual butt of her pointed sayings was poor
Schnapper-Elle, and she could mock right well the affected genteel airs
and languishing manner with which the latter accepted the insincere
compliments of young men.

"Do you know," cried Puppy Reiss, "Schnapper-Elle said yesterday, 'If I
were not beautiful and clever, and beloved, I had rather not be alive.'"

Then there was loud tittering, and Schnapper-Elle, who was not far
distant, noting that this was all at her expense, lifted her nose in
scorn, and sailed away, like a proud galley, to some remote corner. Then
Birdie Ochs, a plump and somewhat awkward lady, remarked compassionately
that Schnapper-Elle might be a little vain and small of mind, but that
she was an honest, generous soul, and did much good to many folk in

"Particularly to Nose Star," snapped Puppy Reiss. And all who knew of
this tender relation laughed all the louder.

"Don't you know," added Puppy spitefully, "that Nose Star now sleeps in
Schnapper-Elle's house! But just look at Susy Floersheim down there,
wearing the necklace which Daniel Flaesch pawned to her husband! Flaesch's
wife is vexed about it--_that_ is plain. And now she is talking to Mrs.
Floersheim. _How_ amiably they shake hands!--and hate each other like
Midian and Moab! How sweetly they smile on each other! Oh, you dear
souls, _don't_ eat each other up out of pure love! I'll just steal up
and listen to them!"

And so, like a sneaking wildcat, Puppy Reiss crept up and listened to
the two women bewailing to each other how they had worked all the past
week to clean up the house and scour the kitchen things, and complaining
about all they had to do before Passover, so that not a crumb of
leavened bread should stick to anything. And such troubles as they had
baking the unleavened bread! Mrs. Flaesch had special cause for
complaint--for she had had no end of trouble over it in the public
bakery, where, according to the ticket she drew, she could not bake till
the afternoon of the very last day, just before Passover Eve; and then
old Hannah had kneaded the dough badly, and the maids had rolled it too
thin, and half of it was scorched in baking, and worst of all, rain came
pouring through the bake-house roof; and so, wet and weary, they had had
to work till late in the night.

"And, my dear Mrs. Floersheim," said Mrs. Flaesch, with gracious
friendliness most insincere, "you were a little to blame for that,
because you did not send your people to help me in baking."

"Ah! pardon," replied the other. "My servants were so busy--the goods
for the fair had to be packed--my husband"--

"Yes, I know," interrupted Mrs. Flaesch, with cutting irony in her
speech. "I know that you have much to do--many pledges and a good
business, and necklaces"--

And a bitter word was just about to slip from the lips of the speaker,
and Dame Floersheim had turned as red as a lobster, when Puppy Reiss
cried out loudly, "For God's sake!--the strange lady lies dying--water!

Beautiful Sara lay in a faint, as pale as death, while a swarm of
excited women crowded around her, one holding her head, another her arm,
while some old women sprinkled her with the glasses of water which hung
behind their prayer desks for washing the hands in case they should by
accident touch their own bodies. Others held under her nose an old lemon
full of spices, which was left over from the last feast-day, when it had
served for smelling and strengthening the nerves. Exhausted and sighing
deeply, Beautiful Sara at last opened her eyes, and with mute glances
thanked them for their kind care. But now the eighteen-prayer, which no
one dared neglect, was being solemnly chanted below, and the busy women
hurried back to their places and offered the prayer as the rite ordains,
that is, standing up with their faces turned toward the east, which is
that part of the heavens where Jerusalem lies. Birdie Ochs,
Schnapper-Elle, and Puppy Reiss stayed to the last with Beautiful
Sara--the first two to aid her as much as possible, the other two to
find out why she had fainted so suddenly.

Beautiful Sara had swooned from a singular cause. It is a custom in the
synagogue that any one who has escaped a great danger shall, after the
reading of the extracts from the Law, appear in public and return thanks
for his divine deliverance. As Rabbi Abraham rose to his feet to make
his prayer, and Beautiful Sara recognized her husband's voice, she
noticed that his voice gradually subsided into the mournful murmur of a
prayer for the dead. She heard the names of her dear kinsfolk,
accompanied by the words which convey the blessing on the departed; and
the last hope vanished from her soul, for it was torn by the certainty
that those dear ones had really been slain, that her little niece was
dead, that her little cousins Posy and Birdy were dead, that little
Gottschalk too was dead--all murdered and dead! And she, too, would have
succumbed to the agony of this realization, had not a kind swoon poured
forgetfulness over her senses.


When Beautiful Sara, after divine service was ended, went down into the
courtyard of the synagogue, the Rabbi stood there waiting for her. He
nodded to her with a cheerful expression, and accompanied her out into
the street, where there was no longer silence but a noisy multitude. It
was like a swarm of ants--bearded men in black coats, women gleaming and
fluttering like gold-chafers, boys in new clothes carrying prayer-books
after their parents, young girls who, because they could not enter the
synagogue, now came bounding to their parents, bowing their curly heads
to receive their blessing--all gay and merry, and walking up and down
the street in the happy anticipation of a good dinner, the savory odor
of which--causing their mouths to water--rose from many black pots,
marked with chalk, and carried by smiling girls from the large community

In this multitude particularly conspicuous was the form of a Spanish
cavalier, whose youthful features bore that fascinating pallor which
ladies generally attribute to an unfortunate--and men, on the contrary,
to a very fortunate--love affair. His gait, although naturally carefree,
had in it, however, a somewhat affected daintiness. The feathers in his
cap were agitated more by the aristocratic motion of his head than by
the wind; and his golden spurs, and the jeweled hilt of his sword, which
he bore on his arm, rattled rather more than was necessary. A white
cavalier's cloak enveloped his slender limbs in an apparently careless
manner, but, in reality, betrayed the most careful arrangement of the
folds. Passing and repassing, partly with curiosity, partly with an air
of a connoisseur, he approached the women walking by, looked calmly at
them, paused when he thought a face was worth the trouble, gave to many
a pretty girl a passing compliment, and went his way heedless as to its
effect. He had met Beautiful Sara more than once, but every time had
seemed to be repelled by her commanding look, or else by the enigmatical
smile of her husband. Finally, however, proudly conquering all
diffidence, he boldly faced both, and with foppish confidence made, in a
tenderly gallant tone, the following speech: "Senora!--list to me!--I
swear--by the roses of both the kingdoms of Castile, by the Aragonese
hyacinths and the pomegranate blossoms of Andalusia! by the sun which
illumines all Spain, with its flowers, onions, pea-soups, forests,
mountains, mules, he-goats, and Old Christians! by the canopy of heaven,
on which this sun is merely a golden tassel! and by the God who abides
in heaven and meditates day and night over the creation of new forms of
lovely women!--I swear that you, Senora, are the fairest dame whom I
have seen in all the German realm, and if you please to accept my
service, then I pray of you the favor, grace, and leave to call myself
your knight and bear your colors henceforth in jest or earnest!"

A flush of pain rose in the face of Beautiful Sara, and with one of
those glances which cut the deeper when they come from gentle eyes, and
with a tone such as is bitterest coming from a beautiful voice, the lady
answered, as one deeply hurt:

"My noble lord, if you will be my knight you must fight whole races, and
in the battle there will be little thanks to win and less honor; and if
you will wear my colors, then you must sew yellow rings on your cloak,
or bind yourself with a blue-striped scarf, for such are my colors--the
colors of my house, the House of Israel, which is wretched indeed, one
mocked in the streets by the sons of fortune."

A sudden purple red shot into the cheeks of the Spaniard; an
inexpressible confusion seemed to have seized him as he stammered--

"Senora, you misunderstood me--an innocent jest--but, by God, no
mockery, no scorn of Israel. I myself am sprung from that house; my
grandfather was a Jew, perhaps even my father."

"And it is very certain, Senor, that your uncle is one," suddenly
exclaimed the Rabbi, who had calmly witnessed this scene; and with a
merry, quizzical glance, he added, "And I myself will vouch that Don
Isaac Abarbanel, nephew of the great Rabbi, is sprung from the best
blood of Israel, if not from the royal race of David!"

The chain of the sword rattled under the Spaniard's cloak, his cheeks
became deadly white, his upper lip twitched as with scorn in which there
was pain, and angry death grinned in his eyes, as in an utterly changed,
ice-cold, keen voice he said:

"Senor Rabbi, you know me. Well, then, you know also who I am. And if
the fox knows that I belong to the blood of the lion, let him beware and
not bring his fox-beard into danger of death, nor provoke my anger. Only
he who feels like the lion can understand his weakness."

"Oh, I understand it well," answered the Rabbi, and a melancholy
seriousness came over his brow. "I understand it well, how the proud
lion, out of pride, casts aside his princely coat and goes about
disguised in the scaly armor of the crocodile, because it is the fashion
to be a grinning, cunning, greedy crocodile! What can you expect the
lesser beasts to be when the lion denies his nature? But beware, Don
Isaac, _thou_ wert not made for the element of the crocodile. For
water--thou knowest well what I mean--is thy evil fortune, and thou
shalt drown. Water is not thy element; the weakest trout can live in it
better than the king of the forest. Hast thou forgotten how the current
of the Tagus was about to draw thee under--?"

Bursting into loud laughter, Don Isaac suddenly threw his arms round the
Rabbi's neck, covered his mouth with kisses, leapt with jingling spurs
high into the air, so that the passing Jews shrank back in alarm, and in
his own natural hearty and joyous voice cried--

"Truly thou art Abraham of Bacharach! And it was a good joke, and more
than that, a friendly act, when thou, in Toledo, didst leap from the
Alcantara bridge into the water, and grasp by the hair thy friend, who
could drink better than he could swim, and drew him to dry land. I came
very near making a really deep investigation as to whether there is
actually gold in the bed of the Tagus, and whether the Romans were right
in calling it the golden river. I assure you that I shiver even now at
the mere thought of that water-party."

Saying this the Spaniard made a gesture as if he were shaking water
from his garments. The countenance of the Rabbi expressed great joy as
he again and again pressed his friend's hand, saying every time--

"I am indeed glad."

"And so, indeed, am I," answered the other. "It is seven years now since
we met, and when we parted I was as yet a mere greenhorn, and thou--thou
wert already a staid and serious man. But whatever became of the
beautiful Dona who in those days cost thee so many sighs, which thou
didst accompany with the lute?"

"Hush, hush! the Dona hears us--she is my wife, and thou thyself hast
given her today proof of thy taste and poetic skill."

It was not without some trace of his former embarrassment that the
Spaniard greeted the beautiful lady, who amiably regretted that she, by
expressing herself so plainly, had pained a friend of her husband.

"Ah, Senora," replied Don Isaac, "he who grasps too clumsily at a rose
must not complain if the thorns scratch. When the star of evening
reflects its golden light in the azure flood"--

"I beg of you!" interrupted the Rabbi, "to cease! If we wait till the
star of evening reflects its golden light in the azure flood, my wife
will starve, for she has eaten nothing since yesterday, and suffered
much in the mean-while."

"Well, then, I will take you to the best restaurant of Israel," said Don
Isaac, "to the house of my friend Schnapper-Elle, which is not far away.
I already smell the savory odors from the kitchen! Oh, didst thou but
know, O Abraham, how this odor appeals to me. This it is which, since I
have dwelt in this city, has so often lured me to the tents of Jacob.
Intercourse with God's people is not a hobby of mine, and truly it is
not to pray, but to eat, that I visit the Jews' Street."

"Thou hast never loved us, Don Isaac."

"Well," continued the Spaniard, "I like your food much better than your
creed--which wants the right sauce. I never could rightly digest you.
Even in your best days, under the rule of my ancestor David, who was
king over Judah and Israel, I never could have held out, and certainly I
should some fine morning have run away from Mount Zion and emigrated to
Phoenicia or Babylon, where the joys of life foamed in the temple of
the gods."

"Thou blasphemest, Isaac, blasphemest the one God," murmured the Rabbi
grimly. "Thou art much worse than a Christian--thou art a heathen, a
servant of idols."

"Yes, I am a heathen, and the melancholy, self-tormenting Nazarenes are
quite as little to my taste as the dry and joyless Hebrews. May our dear
Lady of Sidon, holy Astarte, forgive me, that I kneel before the many
sorrowed Mother of the Crucified and pray. Only my knee and my tongue
worship death--my heart remains true to life. But do not look so
sourly," continued the Spaniard, as he saw what little gratification his
words seemed to give the Rabbi. "Do not look at me with disdain. My nose
is not a renegade. When once by chance I came into this street at dinner
time, and the well-known savory odors of the Jewish kitchen rose to my
nose, I was seized with the same yearning which our fathers felt for the
fleshpots of Egypt--pleasant tasting memories of youth came back to me.
In imagination I saw again the carp with brown raisin sauce which my
aunt prepared so sustainingly for Friday eve; I saw once more the
steamed mutton with garlic and horseradish, which might have raised
the dead, and the soup with dreamily swimming dumplings in it--and my
soul melted like the notes of an enamored nightingale--and since then I
have been eating in the restaurant of my friend Dona Schnapper-Elle."

Meanwhile they had arrived at this highly lauded place, where
Schnapper-Elle stood at the door cordially greeting the strangers who
had come to the fair, and who, led by hunger, were now streaming in.
Behind her, sticking his head out over her shoulder, was the tall Nose
Star, anxiously and inquisitively observing them. Don Isaac with an
exaggerated air of dignity approached the landlady, who returned his
satirical reverence with endless curtsies. Thereupon he drew the glove
from his right hand, wrapped it, the hand, in the fold of his cloak, and
grasping Schnapper-Elle's hand, slowly drew it over his moustache,

"Senora! your eyes rival the brilliancy of the sun! But as eggs, the
longer they are boiled the harder they become, so _vice versa_ my heart
grows softer the longer it is cooked in the flaming flashes of your
eyes. From the yolk of my heart flies up the winged god Amor and seeks a
confiding nest in your bosom. And oh, Senora, wherewith shall I compare
that bosom? For in all the world there is no flower, no fruit, which is
like to it! It is the one thing of its kind! Though the wind tears away
the leaves from the tenderest rose, your bosom is still a winter rose
which defies all storms. Though the sour lemon, the older it grows the
yellower and more wrinkled it becomes, your bosom rivals in color and
softness the sweetest pineapple. Oh, Senora, if the city of Amsterdam be
as beautiful as you told me yesterday, and the day before, and every
day, the ground on which it rests is far lovelier still."

The cavalier spoke these last words with affected earnestness, and
squinted longingly at the large medallion which hung from
Schnapper-Elle's neck. Nose Star looked down with inquisitive eyes, and
the much-bepraised bosom heaved so that the whole city of Amsterdam
rocked from side to side.

"Ah!" sighed Schnapper-Elle, "virtue is worth more than beauty. What use
is my beauty to me? My youth is passing away, and since Schnapper is
gone--anyhow, he had handsome hands--what avails beauty?"

With that she sighed again, and like an echo, all but inaudible, Nose
Star sighed behind her. "Of what avail is your beauty?" cried Don Isaac.
"Oh, Dona Schnapper-Elle, do not sin against the goodness of creative
Nature! Do not scorn her most charming gifts, or she will reap most
terrible revenge. Those blessed, blessing eyes will become glassy balls,
those winsome lips grow flat and unattractive, that chaste and charming
form be changed into an unwieldy barrel of tallow, and the city of
Amsterdam at last rest on a spongy bog." Thus he sketched piece by
piece the appearance of Schnapper-Elle, so that the poor woman was
bewildered, and sought to escape the uncanny compliments of the
cavalier. She was delighted to see Beautiful Sara appear at this
instant, as it gave her an opportunity to inquire whether she had quite
recovered from her swoon. Thereupon she plunged into lively chatter, in
which she fully developed her sham gentility, mingled with real kindness
of heart, and related with more prolixity than discretion the awful
story of how she herself had almost fainted with horror when she, as
innocent and inexperienced as could be, arrived in a canal boat at
Amsterdam, and the rascally porter, who carried her trunk, led her--not
to a respectable hotel, but oh, horrors!--to an infamous brothel! She
could tell what it was the moment she entered, by the brandy-drinking,
and by the immoral sights! And she would, as she said, really have
swooned, if it had not been that during the six weeks she stayed in the
disorderly house she only once ventured to close her eyes.

"I dared not," she added, "on account of my virtue. And all that was
owing to my beauty! But virtue will stay--when good looks pass away."

Don Isaac was on the point of throwing some critical light on the
details of this story when, fortunately, Squinting Aaron Hirschkuh from
Homburg-on-the-Lahn came with a white napkin on his arm, and bitterly
bewailed that the soup was already served, and that the boarders were
seated at table, but that the landlady was missing.

(The conclusion and the chapters which follow are lost, not from any
fault of the author.)



Assistant Professor of German, Harvard University

Franz Grillparzer is the greatest poet and dramatist among the
Austrians. Corresponding to the Goethe Society at Weimar, the
Grillparzer Society at Vienna holds its meetings and issues its annual;
and the edition of Goethe's works instituted by the Grand Duchess Sophie
of Weimar is paralleled by an edition of Grillparzer's works now in
process of publication by the city of Vienna. Not without a sense of
local pride and jealousy do the Viennese extol their fellow-countryman
and hold him up to their kinsmen of the north as worthy to stand beside
Goethe and Schiller. They would be ungrateful if they did not cherish
the memory of a man who during his life-time was wont to prefer them,
with all their imperfections upon their heads, to the keener and more
enterprising North Germans, and who on many occasions sang the praises
of their sociability, their wholesome naturalness, and their sound
instinct. But even from the point of view of the critical North German
or of the non-German foreigner, Grillparzer abundantly deserves his
local fame--and more than local fame; for a dozen dramas of the first
class, two eminently characteristic short stories, numerous lyrical
poems, and innumerable studies and autobiographical papers are a man's
work entitling their author to a high place in European, not merely
German, literature.

It is, however, as an Austrian that Grillparzer is primarily to be
judged. Again and again he insisted upon his national quality as a man
and as a poet, upon the Viennese atmosphere of his plays and his poems.
He was never happy when away from his native city, and though his pieces
are now acceptably performed wherever German is spoken, they are most
successful in Vienna, and some of them are to be seen only on the
Viennese stage.

What are, then, the distinguishing features of the Austrians, and of
Grillparzer as one of them? Grillparzer said these features are an open
heart and a single mind, good sense and reliable intuition, frankness,
naivete, generosity, modest contentment with being while others are up
and doing. The Austrians are of mixed blood, and partake of South
European characteristics less prominent among the purer blooded Teutons
of the north. They have life on easier terms, are less intellectual, are
more sensuous, emotional, more fanciful, fonder of artistic enjoyment,
more sensitive to color and to those effects called "color," by contrast
to form, in other arts than that of painting. The art of music is most
germane to the Austrian spirit; and we have a ready key to the
peculiarities of the Austrian disposition in the difference between
Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Johann Strauss, on the one hand, and
Haendel, Beethoven, Schumann, and Wagner on the other. Moreover, the
Austrians are in all respects conservative, in literary taste no less
than in politics and religion. The pseudo-classicism of Gottsched
maintained its authority in Austria not merely after the time of
Lessing, but also after the time of Schiller. Wieland was a favorite
long before Goethe began to be appreciated; and as to the romantic
movement, only the gentle tendencies of such a congenial spirit as
Eichendorff found a sympathetic echo on the shores of the Danube.
Romance influences, however, more particularly Spanish, were manifest
there even before the time when they became strong upon Grillparzer.

Franz Grillparzer was born in Vienna on the fifteenth of January, 1791.
His father, Wenzel Grillparzer, a self-made man, was a lawyer of the
strictest probity, who occupied a respectable position in his
profession; but, too scrupulous to seize the opportunities for profit
that lawyers easily come upon, he lived a comparatively poor man and in
1809 died in straitened circumstances. At home he was stern and


Both his legal habit of mind and also his true discipleship of the age
of enlightenment in which he grew up disposed him to intellectual
tyranny over everything that looked like sentimentality or foolish
fantasy in wife or children. His own hobbies, however, such as long
walks in the country and the cultivation of flowers or--strangely
enough--the reading of highly romantic novels, he indulged in as matters
of course. It is with some surprise that we find him married to a woman
of abnormal nervousness, who was given to mysticism and was feverishly
devoted to music. Marianne Grillparzer, born Sonnleithner, belonged to a
substantial middle-class family. Her father was a friend of Haydn and
Mozart and was himself a composer of music; her brothers became men of
note in the history of the Viennese operatic stage; and she herself
shared in the artistic temperament of the family, but with ominously
pathological over-development in one direction. She took her own life in
1819 and transmitted to her sons a tendency to moodiness and melancholy
which led to the suicide of one and the haunting fear of insanity in
that other who is the subject of this sketch.

That Franz Grillparzer was destined to no happy childhood is obvious,
and it is equally clear that he needed a strong will to overcome not
merely material obstacles to progress but also inherited dispositions of
such antithetical sort. The father and the mother were at war in his
breast. Like the mother in sensitiveness and imaginativeness, he was the
son of his father in a stern censoriousness that was quick to ridicule
what appeared to be nonsense in others and in himself; but he was the
son of his father also in clearness of understanding and devotion to
duty as he saw it.

Grillparzer once said that his works were detached fragments of his
life; and though many of their themes seem remote from him in time and
place, character and incident in them are unmistakably enriched by being
often conceived in the light of personal experience. Outwardly,
however, his life was comparatively uneventful. After irregular studies
with private tutors and at school, Grillparzer studied law from 1807 to
1811 at the University of Vienna, gave instruction from 1810 to 1813 to
the sons of various noblemen, and in 1813 began in the Austrian civil
service the humdrum career which, full of disappointments and undeserved
setbacks, culminated in his appointment in 1832 to the directorship of
the _Hofkammerarchiv,_ and lasted until his honorable retirement in
1856. He was a conscientious official; but throughout this time he was
regarded, and regarded himself, primarily as Grillparzer the poet; and
in spite of loyalty to the monarchy, he was entirely out of sympathy
with the antediluvian administration of Metternich and his successors.
Little things, magnified by pusillanimous apprehension, stood in his
way. In 1819 he expressed in a poem _The Ruins of Campo Vaccino_
esthetic abhorrence of the cross most inappropriately placed over the
portal of the Coliseum in Rome, and was thereafter never free of the
suspicion of heresy. In 1825 membership in a social club raided by the
police subjected him to the absurd suspicion of plotting treason. Only
once do we find him, during the first half of the century, _persona
gratissima_ with the powers that be. Grillparzer firmly disapproved the
disintegrating tendencies of the revolution of 1848, and uttered his
sense of the duty of loyal cooeperation under the Habsburgs in a spirited
poem, _To Field-Marshal Count Radetzky_. For the moment he became a
national hero, especially in the army. His latter years were indeed
years of honor; but the honor came too late. He was given the cross of
the order of Leopold in 1849, was made _Hofrat_ and a member of the
House of Lords in 1856, and received the grand cross of the order of
Franz Josef upon the celebration of his eightieth birthday in 1871. He
died on the twenty-first of January, 1872.

Grillparzer led for the most part a solitary life--for the last third of
his life he was almost a hermit--and he was rather an observer than an
actor in the affairs of men; but nevertheless he saw more of the world
than a mere dreamer would have cared to see, and the circle of his
friends was not inconsiderable. Besides making the trip to Italy,
already alluded to, in 1819, he journeyed in 1826 to North Germany,
seeing Goethe in Weimar, in 1836 to Paris, in 1837 to London, in 1843
down the Danube to Athens, and in 1847 again to Berlin and to Hamburg.
No one of these trips gave him any particular poetic impetus, except
perhaps the first, on which he found in the classical atmosphere of Rome
a refreshing antidote to the romantic miasma which he hated. Nor did he
derive much profit from the men of letters whom he visited in various
places, such as Fouque, Chamisso, and Heine. He dined with Goethe, but
was too bashful to accept an indirect invitation to spend an evening
with Goethe alone. He paid his respects to Uhland, whom he esteemed as
the greatest German poet of that time (1837); but Uhland was then no
longer productive and was never a magnetic personality. Indeed, there
was hardly more than one man, even in Vienna, who exerted a strong
personal influence upon Grillparzer, and this was Josef Schreyvogel,
journalist, critic, playwright, from 1814 to 1831 secretary of the
_Burgtheater_. A happy chance gained for Grillparzer in 1816 the
friendship of this practical theatre manager, and under Schreyvogel's
auspices he prepared his first drama for the stage.

On another side, Grillparzer's character is illumined for us by the
strange story of his relations with four Viennese women. He was not a
handsome man, but tall, with an abundance of blond hair, and bewitching
blue eyes that made him very attractive to the other sex. He, too, was
exceedingly sensitive to sexual attraction and in early youth suffered
torments from the pangs of unsatisfied longing. From the days when he
knew that he was in love, but did not yet know with whom, to the time of
final renunciation we find him irresolute, ardent, but apparently
selfish in the inability to hazard the discovery that the real might
prove inferior to his ideal. Thus his critical disposition invaded
even the realm of his affections and embroiled him not merely with the
object of them, but also with himself. Charlotte von Paumgarten, the
wife of a cousin of Grillparzer's, Marie Daeffinger, the wife of a
painter, loved him not wisely, but too well; and a young Prussian girl,
Marie Piquot, confessed in her last will and testament to such a
devotion to him as she was sure no other woman could ever attain,
wherefore she commended "her Tasso" to the fostering care of her mother.
Grillparzer had experienced only a fleeting interest in Marie Piquot; so
much the more lasting was the attachment which bound him to her
successful rival, Katharina Froehlich. Katharina, one of four daughters
of a Viennese manufacturer who had seen better days, and, like her
sisters, endowed with great artistic talent and practical energy, might
have proved the salvation of Grillparzer's existence as a man if he had
been more capable of manly resolution, and she had been less like him in
impetuosity and stubbornness. They became engaged, they made
preparations for a marriage which was never consummated and for years
was never definitely abandoned; mutual devotion is ever and anon
interrupted by serious or trivial quarrels, and the imperfect relation
drags on to the vexation of both, until Grillparzer as an old man of
sixty takes lodgings with the Froehlich sisters and, finally, makes
Katharina his sole heir.

Grillparzer's development as a poet and dramatist follows the bent of
his Austrian genius. One of the first books that he ever read was the
text to Mozart's _Magic Flute_. Music, opera, operetta, and fairy drama
gave the earliest impulse to his juvenile imagination. Even as a boy he
began the voluminous reading which, continued throughout his life, made
him one of the best informed men of his time in European literature.
History, natural history, and books of travel are followed by the plays
of Shakespeare, Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller, while Gesner's idyls
charm him, and he absorbs the stories and romances of Wieland. In 1808
he reads the early works of Schiller and admires the ideal enthusiasm of
_Don Carlos_.


In 1810 he revolts from Schiller and swears allegiance to Goethe. In
the ensuing years he learns English, Greek, and Spanish; Shakespeare
supplants Goethe in his esteem, and he is attracted first to Calderon
and then to Lope de Vega in whom, ere long, he discovers the dramatic
spirit most closely akin to his.

We read of Grillparzer, as of Goethe, that as a child he was fond of
improvising dramatic performances with his playmates. Occasionally he
was privileged to attend an operetta or a spectacular play at one of the
minor theatres. When he reached adolescence he experimented with a large
number of historical and fantastic subjects, and he left plans and
fragments that, unoriginal as most of them are, give earnest of a talent
for scenic manipulation and for the representation of character. These
juvenile pieces are full of reminiscences of Schiller and Shakespeare.
Grillparzer's first completed drama of any magnitude, _Blanca of
Castile_ (1807-09), is almost to be called Schiller's _Don Carlos_ over
again, both as to the plot and as to the literary style--though of
course the young man's imitation seems like a caricature. The fragments
_Spartacus_ (1810) and _Alfred the Great_ (1812), inspired by patriotic
grief for Austria humiliated by Napoleon, are Shakespearean in many
scenes, but are in their general disposition strongly influenced by
Schiller's _Robbers and Maid of Orleans_. In all three of these pieces,
the constant reference to inscrutable fate proves that Grillparzer is a
disciple of Schiller and a son of his time.

There is, therefore, a double significance in the earliest play of
Grillparzer's to be performed on the stage, _The Ancestress_
(1816)--first, in that, continuing in the direction foreshadowed by its
predecessors, it takes its place beside the popular dramas of fate
written by Werner and Muellner; and secondly, because at the same time
the poet, now yielding more to the congenial impulse of Spanish
influences, establishes his independence even in the treatment of a more
or less conventional theme. Furthermore, _The Ancestress_ marks the
beginning of Grillparzer's friendship with Schreyvogel. Grillparzer had
translated some scenes of Calderon's _Life is a Dream_ which, published
in 1816 by an enemy of Schreyvogel's who wished to discredit the
adaptation which Schreyvogel had made for the _Burgtheater,_ served only
to bring the two men together; for Schreyvogel was generous and
Grillparzer innocent of any hostile intention. As early as 1813
Grillparzer had thought of _The Ancestress_. Schreyvogel encouraged him
to complete the play, and his interest once again aroused and soon
mounting to enthusiasm, he wrote in less than a month the torrent of
Spanish short trochaic verses which sweeps through the four acts of this
romantic drama. Schreyvogel was delighted; but he criticized the
dramatic structure; and in a revised version in five acts Grillparzer so
far adopted his suggestions as to knit up the plot more closely and thus
to give greater prominence to the idea of fate and retribution. The play
was performed on the thirty-first of January, 1817, and scored a
tremendous success.

Critics, to be sure, were not slow to point out that the effectiveness
of _The Ancestress_ was due less to poetical qualities than to
theatrical--unjustly; for even though we regard the play as but the
scenic representation of the incidents of a night, the representation is
of absorbing interest and is entirely free from the crudities which make
Muellner's dramas more gruesome than dramatic. But Grillparzer
nevertheless resolved that his next play should dispense with all
adventitious aids and should take as simple a form and style as he could
give it. A friend chanced to suggest to him that the story of Sappho
would furnish a text for an opera. Grillparzer replied that the subject
would perhaps yield a tragedy. The idea took hold of him; without delay
or pause for investigation he made his plan; and in three weeks his
second play was ready for the stage. Written in July, 1817, _Sappho_ was
produced at the _Hofburgtheater_ on April 21, 1818. Grillparzer said
that in creating _Sappho_ he had plowed pretty much with Goethe's steer.
In form his play resembles _Iphigenia_ and in substance it is not unlike
_Tasso;_ but upon closer examination _Sappho_ appears to be neither a
classical play of the serene, typical quality of _Iphigenia_ nor a
_Kuenstlerdrama_ in the sense in which _Tasso_ is one. Grillparzer was
not inspired by the meagre tradition of the Lesbian poetess, nor yet by
anything more than the example of Goethe; he took only the outline of
the story of Sappho and Phaon; his play is almost to be called a
romantic love story, and the influence strongest upon him in the writing
of it was that of Wieland. The situation out of which the tragedy of
Sappho develops is that of a young man who deceives himself into
believing that admiration for a superior woman is love, and who is
undeceived when a _naive_ maiden awakens in him sentiments that really
are those of love. This situation occurs again and again in the
voluminous works of Wieland--most obviously perhaps in the novelette
_Menander and Glycerion_ (1803), but also in the novel _Agathon_
(1766-1767), and in the epistolary novel _Aristippus_ (1800-1802).
Moreover, it is the essential situation in Mme. de Stael's _Corinne_
(1807). In the third place, this situation was Grillparzer's own, and it
is so constantly found in his dramas that it may be called the
characteristic situation for the dramatist as well as for the man. In
this drama, finally, we have a demonstration of Grillparzer's profound
conviction that the artistic temperament is ill suited to the demands of
practical life, and in the solitary sphere to which it is doomed must
fail to find that contentment which only life can afford. Sappho is not
assailed by life on all sides as Tasso is; but she makes an egregious
mistake in her search for the satisfactions of womanhood, thereby
unfitting herself for the priesthood of poetry as well as forfeiting her

_Sappho_ was as successful on the stage as _The Ancestress_ had been,
and the dramatist became the lion of the hour. He was received in
audience by Prince Metternich, was lauded in high social circles in
Vienna, and was granted an annual pension of 1000 florins for five
years, on condition that the _Hofburgtheater_ should have the right
to first production of his forthcoming plays. It was, therefore, with
great enthusiasm and confidence that he set to work upon his next
subject, _The Golden Fleece._ The story of Jason and Medea had long been
familiar to him, not only in the tragedies of Euripides and Seneca, but
also in German dramas and operas of the eighteenth century which during
his youth were frequently produced in Vienna. The immediate impulse to
treat this story came to him when, in the summer of 1818, he chanced
upon the article _Medea_ in a mythological lexicon. His plan was soon
formed and was made to embrace the whole history of the relations of
Jason and Medea. For so comprehensive a matter Grillparzer, like
Schiller in _Wallenstein,_ found the limits of a single drama too
narrow; and as Schiller said of _Wallenstein--_

"His camp alone explains his fault and crime,"

so Grillparzer rightly perceived that the explanation to modern minds of
so incredible a crime as Medea's must be sought and presented in the
untoward circumstances under which her relations with Jason began.
Accordingly, he showed in _The Guest Friend_ how Phryxus, obedient to
what he believed to be the will of the gods, bore the Golden Fleece to
Colchis, only to meet death at the hands of AEetes, the king of that
land, who coveted the precious token. Medea, the king's daughter, vainly
tries to prevent the crime, but sees herself included in the dying man's
curse; for she shares her father's desire for the treasure and is
appalled only by the sense of outraged hospitality, even to a haughty
intruder. When, in _The Argonauts,_ Jason comes to recover the Fleece,
Medea, still an Amazon and an enchantress, is determined with all her
arts to aid her father in repulsing the invaders. But the sight of the
handsome stranger soon touches her with an unwonted feeling. Against her
will she saves the life and furthers the enterprise of Jason; they
become partners in the theft of the Fleece; whereupon Jason, fascinated
by the dark-eyed barbarian and gratified with the sense of subjugating
an Amazon, assures her of his love and takes her and the Fleece in
triumph away from Colchis.


Four years elapse before the action of _Medea_ commences. Medea has
borne two sons to Jason; as a husband and father he returns to Greece
with the object of his quest. But he is now received rather as the
husband of a sorceress than as the winner of the Fleece. Ostracism and
banishment accentuate the humiliation of marriage to a barbarian. Medea
has sacrificed all to serve him; without her aid his expedition would
have been fruitless, but with her he cannot live in the civilized
community where she has no place. She frantically endeavors to become a
Greek, but to no purpose. Jason strives to overcome a growing repugnance
and loyally makes common cause with her; but he cannot follow her in
banishment from Corinth, nor appreciate the feelings of the wife who
sees him about to marry Creusa, and of the mother who sees her children
prefer Creusa to herself. Then the barbarian in Medea reasserts herself
and the passion of a just revenge, stifling all other feeling, moves her
to the destruction of all her enemies and a final divorce from her
heartless husband. To Jason she can give no other words of comfort than
that he may be stronger in suffering than he has been in acting.

Such an eminently personal tragedy Grillparzer constructed on the basis
of a mythological story. The Fleece, like the hoard of the Nibelungen,
is the occasion, but the curse attached to it is not the cause, of
crimes; this cause is the cupidity of human nature and the helplessness
of the individual who allows the forces of evil to gain sway over him.
Jason, in overweening self-indulgence, attaches himself to a woman to
whom he cannot be true. Medea, in too confident self-sufficiency, is not
proof against the blandishments of an unscrupulous adventurer and
progresses from crime to crime, doing from beginning to end what it is
not her will to do. An unnatural and unholy bond cannot be severed even
to make way for a natural and holy one. And the paths of glory lead not
to the grave but to a living death in the consciousness of guilt and the
remorse for misdeeds.

Grillparzer never again wrote with such tumultuous passion as swayed him
at the time of his work on the first half of _The Golden Fleece._ His
illicit love of Charlotte Paumgarten gave him many a tone which thrills
in the narrative of Jason and Medea; the death of his mother brought
home to him the tragedy of violence and interrupted his work in the
midst of _The Argonauts;_ his visit to Rome enabled him to regain
composure and increase his sense of the local color of ancient
civilization; so that when he completed _Medea,_ in the fall and early
winter of 1819-20, he wrote with the mastery of one who had ventured,
suffered, observed, and recovered. In his own person he had experienced
the dangers of the _vita activa_ against which _The Golden Fleece_ is a

Mention has already been made of Grillparzer's pride in the history of
Austria. In 1809 he wrote in his diary, "I am going to write an
historical drama on Frederick the Warlike, Duke of Austria." A few
stanzas of a ballad on this hero were written, probably at this time;
dramatic fragments have survived from 1818 and 1821. In the first two
decades of the nineteenth century vigorous efforts were made, especially
by Baron von Hormayr and his collaborators, to stir up Austrian poets to
emulate their North-German colleagues in the treatment of Austrian
subjects. With these efforts Grillparzer was in hearty sympathy. The
Hanoverian A.W. Schlegel declared in a lecture delivered at Vienna in
1808 that the worthiest form of the romantic drama was the historical;
and made special mention of the house of Habsburg. In 1817 Matthaeus von
Collin's play _Frederick the Warlike_ was published, as one of three
(_Leopold the Glorious, Frederick the Warlike_, and _Ottocar_) planned
as a cycle on the house of Babenberg. Collin's _Frederick_ interested
Grillparzer; Ottocar, who married Frederick's sister and whose fate
closely resembled Frederick's, appealed to him as a promising character
for dramatic treatment; a performance of Kleist's _Prince Frederick of
Homburg,_ which Grillparzer witnessed in 1821, may well have stimulated
him to do for the first of the Habsburgs, Ottocar's successful rival,
what Kleist had done for the greatest of the early Hohenzollerns; and
particularly the likeness of Ottocar's career to that of Napoleon gave
him the point of view for _King Ottocar's Fortune and Fall,_ composed in

_Ottocar_ is remarkable for the amount of matter included in the space
of a single drama, and it gives an impressive picture of the dawn of the
Habsburg monarchy; but only in the first two acts can it be said to be
dramatic. The middle and end, though spectacular, are rather epic than
dramatic, and our interest centres more in Rudolf the triumphant than in
Ottocar the defeated and penitent. The play is essentially the tragedy
of a personality. Ottocar is a _parvenu,_ a strong man whom success
makes too sure of the adequacy of his individual strength, ruthless when
he should be politic, indulgent when stern measures are requisite, an
egotist even when he acts for the public weal. Grillparzer treated his
case with great fulness of sensuous detail, but without superabundance
of antiquarian minutiae, in spite of careful study of historical sources
of information. "Pride goeth before destruction," is the theme, but
Grillparzer was far from wishing either to demonstrate or illustrate
that truth. _Ottocar_ is the tragedy of an individual unequal to
superhuman tasks; it does not represent an idea, but a man.

After having been retained by the censors for two years, lest Bohemian
sensibilities should be offended, _Ottocar_ was finally freed by order
of the emperor himself, and was performed amid great enthusiasm on
February nineteenth, 1825. In September of that year the empress was to
be crowned as queen of Hungary, and the imperial court suggested to
Grillparzer that he write a play on a Hungarian subject in celebration
of this event. He did not immediately find a suitable subject; but his
attention was attracted to the story of the palatin Bancbanus, a

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