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The Youth of Goethe
by Peter Hume Brown
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[Footnote 195: Max Morris, op. cit. iv. 370-1. About the same date as Knebel's letter, Goethe wrote to Sophie von la Roche: "Das ist was Verfluchtes dass ich anfange mich mit niemand mehr misszuverstehen." In his 49th year Goethe said of himself: "Opposition ist mir immer noetig."]

On Goethe's return to Frankfort sad news awaited him; during his absence the Fraeulein von Klettenberg, whom he had left on her sick-bed, had died. It was the severest personal loss he had yet sustained by death. After his sister she had been the chief confidant of all his troubles, his hopes, and ambitions, and he never left her presence without feeling that for the time he had been lifted out of himself. The relations between Goethe and her, indeed, show him in his most attractive light. He had never disguised from her the fact that he could not share the faith by which she lived; he was, as we have seen, even in the habit of jesting at her most cherished beliefs; but there was never a shade of alienation between them. "Bid him adieu," was her last message to him through his mother; "I have held him very dear."[196] Take it as we may, it is the singular fact that by none was Goethe regarded with more affectionate esteem than by the two pious mystics, Jung Stilling and Fraeulein von Klettenberg.

[Footnote 196: Ib. p. 370.]



CHAPTER XIII

LILI SCHOeNEMANN

1775

To the year 1775 belongs the third critical period of Goethe's last years in Frankfort. The autumn of 1771 following his return from Strassburg had been the first of these periods, and was signalised by Goetz von Berlichingen, the product of his contrition for Friederike and of the inspiration of Shakespeare. In the summer and autumn of 1772 came the Wetzlar episode, which found expression in Werther; and in the opening weeks of 1775 begins the third period of crisis, the issue of which was to be his final leave-taking of Frankfort.

On an evening near the close of 1774 or at the beginning of 1775, a friend introduced Goethe to a house in Frankfort which during the next nine months was to be the centre of his thoughts and emotions. There was a crowd of guests, but Goethe's attention became fixed on a girl seated at a piano, and playing, as he informs us, with grace and facility. The house was that of Frau Schoenemann, the widow of a rich banker, and the girl who had excited Goethe's interest was her only daughter, Anna Elisabeth, known by the pet name of Lili—the name by which she is designated in Goethe's own references to her. The musician having risen, Goethe exchanged a few polite compliments with her, and when he took his leave for the evening, the mother expressed the wish that he would soon repeat his visit, the daughter at the same time indicating that his presence would not be disagreeable to her.

The houses of the Goethes and the Schoenemanns were only some hundred paces apart, but there had hitherto been no intercourse between the two families, and the reason for this isolation is a significant fact in the relations between Goethe and Lili that were to follow. The Schoenemanns moved in a social circle which was rigidly closed to the burgher element in the city, and, when Frau Schoenemann gave Goethe the entree to her house, it was because he was an exceptional member of the class to which he belonged. In making the acquaintance of the Schoenemanns, therefore, he had already to a certain degree compromised himself.[197] In his own account of his relations to Lili he does not disguise the fact that her mother and the friends of the family hardly concealed their feeling that the Goethes were not of their order. In seeking further intercourse with the Schoenemanns he was thus putting himself in a delicate position, and the fact that he deliberately chose to do so is proof that his first sight of Lili must have touched his inflammable heart.

[Footnote 197: In a letter written to Johanna Fahlmer from Weimar (April 10th, 1776) Goethe vehemently expresses his dislike of the Schoenemann kin. "I have long hated them," he says; "from the bottom of my heart.... I pity the poor creature [Lili] that she was born into such a race."]

During the month of January Goethe became a frequent visitor at the Schoenemanns, and there began those relations with Lili which, according to his own later testimony, were to give a new direction to his life, as being the immediate cause of his leaving Frankfort and settling in Weimar. If we are to accept his own averment two years before his death, Lili was the first whom he had really loved, all his other affairs of the heart being "inclinations of no importance."[198] So he spoke in the retrospect under the influence of an immediate emotion, but his own contemporary testimony proves that his love for Lili was at least not unmingled bliss. Make what reserves we may for the artificial working up of sentiment which was the fashion of the time, that testimony presents us with the picture of a lover who has not only to contend with obstacles which circumstances put in his way, but with the haunting conviction that his passion was leading him astray and that its gratification involved the surrender of his deepest self. As in the case of others of his love passages, his relations with Lili evoked a series of literary productions of which they are the inspiration and the commentary, and which exhibit new developments of his genius. We have lyrics addressed to her which, though differently inspired from those addressed to Friederike, take their place with the choicest he has written; we have plays more or less directly bearing on the situation in which he found himself; and, finally, we have his letters to various correspondents in which every phase of his passion is recorded at the moment.

[Footnote 198: Eckermann, March 5th, 1830. What has been said of Chateaubriand, who made use of a similar expression, may probably be said with greater truth of Goethe, "Il ment a ses propres souvenirs et a son coeur." In a letter to Frau von Stein (May 24th, 1776) Goethe describes his relation to Friederike Brion as "das reinste, schoenste, wahrste, das ich ausser meiner Schwester je zu einem Weibe gehabt."]

In Lili Schoenemann Goethe had a different object from any of his previous loves. Kaethchen Schoenkopf, Friederike, Lotte Buff had all been socially his inferiors, and he could play "the conquering lord" with them. Lili, on the other hand, was his superior socially—a fact of which her relatives and friends seem to have made him fully conscious. Moreover, though he was in his twenty-sixth year, and she only in her sixteenth, her personal character and her upbringing had given her a maturity beyond that of any of his previous loves. She was clever and accomplished, and already, as a desirable partie, she had a considerable experience of masculine arts. As she is represented in her portraits, the firm poise of her head and her clear-cut features suggest the dignity, decision, and self-control of which her subsequent life was to give proof.[199]

[Footnote 199: She is described as a pretty blonde, with blue eyes and fair hair. In a letter (March 30th, 1801) addressed to Lili, then a widow, Goethe writes: "Sie haben in den vergangenen Jahren viel ausgestanden und dabei, wie ich weiss, einen entschlossenen Mut bewiesen, der Ihnen Ehre macht."]

The first two lyrics he addressed to Lili reveal all the difference between his relations to her and to Friederike. Those addressed to Friederike breathe the confidence of returned affection unalloyed by any disturbing reserves; in the case of his effusions to Lili there is always a cloud in his heaven which seems to menace a possible storm. In the first of these two lyrics, Neue Liebe, neues Leben ("New Love, New Life"), there is even a suggestion of regret to find that he is entangled in a new passion. What is noteworthy in connection with all his poems inspired by Lili, however, is that they are completely free from the sentimentality of those he had written under the influence of the ladies of Darmstadt. Though differing in tone from the lyrics addressed to Friederike, they have all their directness, simplicity, and economy of expression. In his Autobiography he tells us that there could be no doubt that Lili ruled him, and in Neue Liebe, neues Leben, he acknowledges the spell she has laid upon him with a highly-wrought art without previous example in German literature.

Herz, mein Herz, was soll das geben? Was bedraenget dich so sehr? Welch ein fremdes neues Leben! Ich erkenne dich nicht mehr. Weg ist alles, was du liebtest, Weg, warum du dich betruebtest, Weg dein Fleiss und deine Ruh'— Ach, wie kamst du nur dazu!

Fesselt dich die Jugendbluete, Diese liebliche Gestalt, Dieser Blick voll Treu' und Guete Mit unendlicher Gewalt? Will ich rasch mich ihr entziehen, Mich ermannen, ihr entfliehen, Fuehret mich im Augenblick Ach, mein Weg zu ihr zurueck.

Und an diesem Zauberfaedchen, Das sich nicht zerreissen laesst, Haelt das liebe, lose Maedchen Mich so wider Willen fest; Muss in ihrem Zauberkreise Leben nun auf ihre Weise. Die Veraend'rung, ach, wie gross! Liebe! Liebe, lass mich los!

Say, heart of me, what this importeth; What distresseth thee so sore? New and strange all life and living; Thee I recognise no more. Gone is everything thou loved'st; All for which thyself thou troubled'st; Gone thy toil, and gone thy peace; Ah! how cam'st thou in such case?

Fetters thee that youthful freshness? Fetters thee that lovely mien? That glance so full of truth and goodness, With an adamantine chain? Vain the hardy wish to tear me From those meshes that ensnare me; For the moment I would flee, Straight my path leads back to thee.

By these slender threads enchanted, Which to rend no power avails, That dear wanton maiden holds me Thus relentless in her spells. Thus within her charmed round Must I live as one spellbound; Heart! what mighty change in thee; Love, O love, ah, set me free!

In the second lyric, An Belinden, he pictures in the same tone of half regret the case in which he finds himself, and the picture has an eloquent commentary in his letters of the time. He who had lately spent his peaceful evenings in the solitude of his own chamber dreaming of her image had through her been irresistibly drawn into an alien and uncongenial world. Is he the same being who now sits at the card-table amid the glaring lights of a fashionable drawing-room in the presence of hateful faces? For her, however, he will gladly endure what he loathes with his whole soul.

Reizender ist mir des Fruehlings Bluete Nun nicht auf der Flur; Wo du, Engel, bist, ist Lieb' and Guete, Wo du bist, Natur.

Now the blooms of springtide on the meadow Touch no more my heart; Where thou, angel, art, is truth and goodness; Nature, where thou art.

So he sang in tones befitting the true lover, but, as it happens, we have a prose commentary from his own hand which gives perhaps a truer picture of his real state of mind. Towards the end of January, when he was already deep in his passion for Lili, he received a letter which opened a new channel for his emotions. The letter came from an anonymous lady who, as she explained, had been so profoundly moved by the tale of Werther that she could not resist the impulse to express her gratitude to its author. The fair unknown, as he was subsequently to discover, was no less distinguished a person than an Imperial Countess—the Countess Stolberg, sister of two equally fervid youths, of whom we shall presently hear in connection with Goethe. It was quite in keeping with the spirit of the time that two persons of different sexes, who had never seen each other, should proceed mutually to unbosom themselves with a freedom of self-revelation which an age, habituated to greater reticence, finds it difficult to understand; and there began a correspondence between Goethe and his adorer in which we have the astonishing spectacle of her becoming the confidant of all his emotions with regard to another woman, while he is using the language of passion towards herself.[200] Here is the opening sentence of his first letter to her, and it strikes the note of all that was to follow: "My dear, I will give you no name, for what are the names—Friend, Sister, Beloved, Bride, Wife, or any word that is a complex of all these, compared with the direct feeling—with the—— I cannot write further. Your letter has taken possession of me at a wonderful time."[201]

[Footnote 200: It may be regarded as significant that Goethe makes no reference to the Countess in his Autobiography.]

[Footnote 201: Werke, Briefe, ii. 230.]

In his second letter to her, while she was still unknown to him, written about three weeks later (February 13th), he depicts the condition in which we are to imagine him at the time it was penned. It will be seen that it is a prose rendering of the lines An Belinden, to which reference has just been made. "If, my dear one, you can picture to yourself a Goethe who, in a laced coat, and otherwise clad from head to foot with finery in tolerable keeping, in the idle glare of sconces and lustres, amid a motley throng of people, is held a prisoner at a card-table by a pair of beautiful eyes; who in alternating distraction is driven from company to concert and from concert to ball, and with all the interest of frivolity pays his court to a pretty blonde, you have the present carnival-Goethe.... But there is another Goethe—one in grey beaver coat with brown silk necktie and boots—who already divines the approach of spring in the caressing February breezes, to whom his dear wide world will again be shortly opened up, who, ever living his own life, striving and working, according to the measure of his powers, seeks to express now the innocent feelings of youth in little poems, and the strong spice of life in various dramas; now the images of his friends, of his neighbourhood and his beloved household goods, with chalk upon grey paper; never asking the question how much of what he has done will endure, because in toiling he is always ascending a step higher, because he will spring after no ideal, but, in play or strenuous effort, will let his feelings spontaneously develop into capacities."[202]

[Footnote 202: Ib. pp. 233-4.]

The plays to which Goethe refers in this letter form part of his intellectual and emotional history during the period of his relations to Lili. In themselves these plays have little merit, and, had they come from the hand of some minor poet, they would deservedly have passed into oblivion, but as part of his biography they call for some notice. The first of them, Erwin und Elmire, is a sufficiently trivial vaudeville, and appears to have been begun in the autumn of 1773.[203] He must have retouched it in January—February (1775), however, as it contains distinct suggestions of his experiences with the Schoenemann family. As he himself tells us in his Autobiography, the piece was suggested by Goldsmith's ballad, Edwin and Angelina, and both the choice and handling of the subject illustrate his remark in the foregoing letter regarding the fugitive nature of the various things which he threw off at this time.[204] There are four characters,—Olimpia and her daughter Elmire, Bernardo, a friend of the family, and Erwin, Elmire's lover. Elmire plays the part of capricious coquette with such effect that she drives her despairing lover to hide himself from the world and to retreat to a hermitage which he constructs for himself in the neighbouring wilds. Elmire now realises her hard-heartedness, and exhibits such symptoms of distress as to waken the concern of her mother and Bernardo. Bernardo, however, is in Erwin's secret, and contrives to bring the two lovers together and to effect a happy reconciliation, to the satisfaction of all parties—the mother included. The play was dedicated to Lili in the following lines:—

Den kleinen Strauss, den ich dir binde, Pflueckt' ich aus diesem Herzen hier; Nimm ihn gefaellig auf, Belinde! Der kleine Strauss, er ist von mir.

This posy that I bind for thee I cull'd it from my very heart; This little posy, 'tis from me; Take it, Belinda, in good part.

[Footnote 203: Ib. p. 113.]

[Footnote 204: He says of the piece that it cost him "little expenditure of mind and feeling." Ib.]

There was a sufficient reason for Goethe's praying Lili to take the piece "in good part." In the cruel coquette Elmire Lili could not but see a portrait of herself, and there are expressions in the play which she could not but regard as home-thrusts. "To be entertained, to be amused," says Erwin to Bernardo, "that is all they (the maidens) desire. They value a man who spends an odious evening with them at cards as highly as the man who gives his body and soul for them." In another remark of Erwin's there is a reference to Goethe's own relations to Lili and her family which she could not misunderstand. "I loved her with an enduring love. To that love I gave my whole heart. But because I am poor, I was scorned. And yet I hoped through my diligence to make as suitable a provision for her as any of the beplastered wind-bags." Trivial as the play is, it was acted in Frankfort during Goethe's absence,[205] and at a later date he considered it worth his while to recast it in another form.

[Footnote 205: Goethe was not known to be the author. In a letter to Johanna Fahlmer, he expresses his curiosity to know if Lili was present at its performance. Erwin und Elmire, it should be said, contains two of Goethe's most beautiful songs, the one beginning "Ein Veilchen auf der Wiese stand," and the other "Ihr verbluehet, suesse Rosen."]

Erwin und Elmire was followed by another play, more remarkable from its contents, but by general agreement of as little importance from a literary point of view. This was Stella, significantly designated in its original form as A Play for Lovers. Unlike Erwin und Elmire, it was wholly the production of this period—the end of February and the beginning of March being the probable date of its composition. Though written at the height of his passion for Lili, however, it contains fewer direct references to his experiences of the moment than Erwin und Elmire. Any interest that attaches to Stella lies in the fact of its being a lively presentment of a phase of Goethe's own experience and of the world of factitious sentiment which made that experience possible. No other of Goethe's youthful productions, indeed, better illustrates the literary emotionalism of the time when it was written, and some notion of its character and scope is desirable in view of all his relations to Lili.

The drama opens in a posting-house, where two travellers, Madame Sommer (Caecilie) and her daughter Lucie, have alighted. The object of their journey is to place Lucie as a companion with a lady living on an estate in the neighbourhood. From the conversation of the mother and daughter we learn that Caecilie had been deserted by her husband, and was now in such reduced circumstances as to necessitate her daughter's finding some employment. On inquiring of the postmistress they gain some information regarding the lady they are in search of. She also had been deserted by one who was her reputed husband, and since then had spent her days in mournful solitude and good works. Fatigued by her journey, Caecilie retires to rest, and Lucie, carefully instructed not to reveal the position of herself and her mother, sets out to interview the strange lady. During her absence there arrives at the posting-house a gentleman in military dress, who presently falls into a tearful soliloquy, from which we learn that he is no other than Fernando, the husband of Caecilie, and that the strange lady is Stella, whom he had also deserted and with whom he now proposes to renew his former relations. Lucie returns delighted with her visit to Stella, and there ensues a bantering conversation between the father and daughter, both, of course, equally ignorant of their relation to each other. So ends the first Act; with the second begin the embarrassments of the difficult situation. Caecilie and Lucie repair to Stella, and, after an effusive exchange of memories between the two deserted ones, Stella invites both mother and daughter to make their home with her. Unfortunately Stella brings forth the portrait of her former lover, in whom to her horror Caecilie recognises her husband, and Lucie to her surprise recognises the officer at the posting-house—a fact which she makes known to Stella. In an ecstasy of excited expectation Stella dispatches a servant with the order to fetch the long-lost one, and Caecilie, retiring to the garden, communicates to Lucie the discovery of her father. In the rapidly succeeding Scenes that follow the three chief persons experience alternations of agony and bliss which find facile expression in many sighs, tears, and embraces. Fernando and Stella, lost in the present and oblivious of the past, melt in their new-found bliss, but are interrupted in their raptures by the announcement that Caecilie and Lucie are preparing to take their departure. At Stella's request Fernando finds Caecilie, whom he at first does not recognise. Mutual recognition follows, however, when Fernando vows that he will never again leave her, and proposes that he and she and Lucie should make off at once. Meanwhile, Stella is pouring forth her bliss over the grave which, like one of the Darmstadt ladies, she has had dug for herself in her garden. Here she is joined by Fernando, whose altered mood fills her with a vague dread which is converted into horror when, on the entrance of Caecilie and Lucie, Fernando acknowledges them as his wife and daughter. After paroxysms of emotion all the parties separate, and Stella prepares to take her flight after a vain attempt to cut Fernando's portrait out of its frame. She is interrupted in her intention of flight by the appearance of Fernando, and there follows a dialogue in which we are to look for the drift of the play. Caecilie insists on departing and leaving the two lovers to their happiness. "I feel," she says, "that my love for thee is not selfish, is not the passion of a lover, which would give up all to possess its longed-for object ... it is the feeling of a wife, who out of love itself can give up love." Fernando, however, passionately declares that he will never abandon her, and Caecilie makes a happy suggestion that will solve all difficulties. Was it not recorded of a German Count that he brought home a maiden from the Holy Land and that she and his wife happily shared his affections between them? And such is the solution which commends itself to all parties. Fernando impartially embraces both ladies, and Caecilie's concluding remark is: "We are thine!"[206]

[Footnote 206: In deference to the general opinion that this ending was immoral, Goethe, in a later form of the play, makes Fernando shoot himself.]

Such is the play which, in a bad English translation that did not mitigate its absurdities, provoked the wit of the Anti-Jacobin.[207] In Fernando, the central figure of the play, we are, of course, to recognise Goethe himself,[208] and in no other of his dramas has he presented a less attractive character. Weislingen, Clavigo, and Werther have all their redeeming qualities, but Fernando is an emotional egotist incapable of any worthy motive, and it is the most serious blemish in the play, even in view of the factitious world in which it moves, that he is made the adored idol of two such different women as Caecilie and Stella. The situation, as Goethe himself tells us, was suggested by the relations of Swift to Stella and Vanessa, but he did not need to go so far afield for a motive. In the world around him he was familiar both with the creed and the practice which the conclusion of the play approves. As we have seen, it was openly held by enlightened and moral persons that marriage, as being a mere contract, was incompatible with a true union of souls, and that such a union was only to be found in irresponsible relations. In the case of his friend Fritz Jacobi, whose character and talents had all his admiration, he had a practical illustration of the creed; for Jacobi had a wife and also a friend (his step-aunt Johanna Fahlmer) in whom he found a more responsive recipient of his emotions. But it is rather in Goethe's own character and experience that we are to look for the origin of Stella; it is in truth an analytic presentment of what he had himself known and felt. As we have seen, one object was incapable of engrossing all his affections; while he was paying court to Lili, his wandering desires went out to the fair correspondent who had evinced such interest in his troubles and aspirations. It would seem that he required two types of woman such as he has depicted in Stella to satisfy at once his mind and heart: a Caecilie who inspired him with respect as well as affection, and a Stella whose self-abandonment left his passions their free course.

[Footnote 207: Stella and other German plays are wittily parodied in The Rovers; or, The Double Arrangement.]

[Footnote 208: Goethe gives Fernando his own brown eyes and black hair.]

Nauseous as Stella must appear to the modern reader, it found wide acceptance at the period it was written, though its moral was generally condemned. Herder was enthusiastic in its praise, and on its publication at the end of January, 1776, it passed through four editions in a single week. In 1805, with its altered denouement, in which the hero shoots himself, it was performed with applause in Berlin, and was afterwards frequently produced. Goethe himself continued to retain a singular affection for the most sickly sentimental of all his literary offspring, and he subsequently sent a copy of his work to Lili, accompanied by some lines which were worthy of a better gift.[209]

[Footnote 209: After he had broken with her, and was settled in Weimar.]

Im holden Thal, auf schneebedeckten Hoehen War stets dein Bild mir nah! Ich sah's um mich in lichten Wolken wehen; Im Herzen war mir's da. Empfinde hier, wie mit allmaecht'gem Triebe Ein Herz das andre zieht, Und dass vergebens Liebe Vor Liebe flieht.

In the dear vale, on heights the snow had covered, Still was thine image near; I saw it round me in the bright clouds hover; My heart beheld it there. Here learn to feel with what resistless power One heart the other ties; That vain it is when lover From lover flies.

Still another piece belongs to the first months of Goethe's relations to Lili—Claudine von Villa Bella, which appears to have been written intermittently in April and May. Like Erwin und Elmire it is in operatic form—the prose dialogue being diversified with outbursts of song. Entirely trivial as a work of art, it calls for passing notice only on account of certain characteristics which distinguish it as a product of the period when it was written. The intention of the play, Goethe wrote at a later time, was to exhibit "noble sentiments in association with adventurous actions," and the conduct of his hero and heroine is certainly unconventional, if their feelings are exalted. Claudine is the only daughter of a fond and widowed father, and her dreamy emotionalism would have made her a welcome member of the Darmstadt circle of ladies. She is in love with Pedro, but Pedro is not the hero of the piece. That place is assigned to his eldest brother Crugantino, a scapegrace, with a noble heart, who, finding the ordinary bonds of society too confined for him, has taken to highway robbery. "Your burgher life," he says—and we know that he is here uttering Goethe's own sentiments—"your burgher life is to me intolerable. There, whether I give myself to work or enjoyment, slavery is my lot. Is it not a better choice for one of decent merit to plunge into the world? Pardon me! I don't give a ready ear to the opinion of other people, but pardon me if I let you know mine. I will grant you that if once one takes to a roving life, no goal and no restraints exist for him; for our heart—ah! it is infinite in its desires so long as its strength remains to it." Crugantino, who with his band is housed at a wretched inn in the neighbourhood, catches sight of Claudine, is bewitched by her beauty, and resolves to gain possession of her. On a beautiful moonlight night, attended by only one companion, he makes his adventurous attempt. Of the charivari that follows it is only necessary to say that Pedro is wounded in a hand-to-hand encounter by his unknown brother Crugantino, and is conveyed to the inn where the band have their quarters. And now comes the turn of Claudine to show her disregard of conventionalities. In agonies for her wounded lover, she dons male attire, and in the middle of the night sets out for the inn where he is lying. She encounters Crugantino at the door, and their dialogue is overheard by the wounded Pedro who rushes forth to rescue her. A duel ensues between Pedro and Crugantino; the watch appears, and all parties are conveyed to the village prison. Here they are found by the distracted father and his friend Sebastian, and a general explanation follows—Pedro being made secure of Claudine, and Crugantino showing himself a repentant sinner. With this fantastic production, which, beginning in an atmosphere of pure sentiment, ends in broad farce, Goethe was even in middle life so satisfied that he recast it in verse, and made other alterations which in the opinion of most critics did not improve the original.[210]

[Footnote 210: During his residence in Rome in 1787. He recast Erwin und Elmire at the same time.]

The triviality of these successive performances, so void of the mind and heart displayed in the fragmentary Prometheus and Der Ewige Jude, have their commentary in his continued relations to Lili Schoenemann. They even raise the question whether his passion for her were really so consuming as in his old age he declared it to have been. They at least speak a very different language from that of the simple lyrics in which he expressed his love for Friederike Brion. Yet when we turn to his correspondence, written on the inspiration of the moment, we find all the indications of a genuinely distracted lover.

During the month of March we are to believe that he underwent all the pangs of a passionate wooer. Surrounded by numerous admirers, Lili was difficult of access, and apparently took some pleasure in reminding him that he was only one among others.[211] "Oh! if I did not compose dramas," he wrote on the 6th to his confidant the Countess, "I should be shipwrecked." A few days of unalloyed bliss he did enjoy, and the length at which he records them in his Autobiography shows that they remained a vivid memory with him. In the course of the month Lili spent some time with an uncle at Offenbach on the Main, and, joining her there, Goethe found her all that his heart could wish. "Take the girl to your heart; it will be good for you both," he wrote out of his bliss to his other female confidant, Johanna Fahlmer.[212]

[Footnote 211: To this period probably belongs Lilis Park, the most playfully humorous of Goethe's poems, in which he banters Lili on her capricious treatment of himself (represented as a bear) as one of her menagerie—the motley crowd of her suitors.]

[Footnote 212: Certain pranks played by Goethe during his stay in Offenbach show that he was not wholly given up to "lover's melancholy." On a moonlight night, robed in a white sheet, and mounted on stilts (a form of exercise to which he was addicted), he went through the town and created a panic among the inhabitants by looking into their windows. On another occasion, at a baptism, he secretly deposited the baby in a dish, and covering it with a towel, placed the dish on a table where the company were assembled. It was only after some time that the contents of the dish were revealed.]

On their return to Frankfort, however, his former griefs were renewed, and a new distraction was added to them. "I am delighted that you are so enamoured of my Stella," he writes to Fritz Jacobi on March 21st, immediately after his return; "my heart and mind are now turned in such entirely different directions that my own flesh and blood is almost indifferent to me. I can tell you nothing, for what is there that can be said? I will not even think either of to-morrow or of the day after to-morrow."[213] The truth is that, as he tells us in his Autobiography, he was now in an embarrassing position. His relations to Lili had become such that a decisive step was necessary in the interests of both. During the last fortnight of March his mood was certainly not that of a happy lover. To break with Lili was a step which circumstances as well as his own attachment to her made a dire alternative. On the other hand, from the bond of marriage, as we know, he shrank with every instinct of his nature. Only a few weeks before, doubtless with his own possible fate in front of him, he had put these words in the mouth of Fernando in his Stella: "I would be a fool to allow myself to be shackled. That state [marriage] smothers all my powers; that state robs me of all my spirits, cramps my whole being. I must forth into the free world."[214] Goethe did eventually take the decision of Fernando, but not just yet. On March 25th he wrote to Herder: "It seems as if the twisted threads on which my fate hangs, and which I have so long shaken to and fro in oscillating rotation, would at last unite."[215] On the 29th, Klopstock, who had come on a few days' visit to Frankfort, found him in "strange agitation." As so often happened in Goethe's life, it was an accident that determined his wavering purpose. In the beginning of April there came to Frankfort a Mademoiselle Delf, an old friend of the Schoenemann family, whom Goethe made acquainted with his father and mother. A person of strenuous character, she took it upon her to bring matters to a point between the two households. With the consent of Lili's mother, she brought Lili one evening to the Goethe house. "Take each other by the hand," she said in commanding tones; and the two lovers obeyed and embraced. "It was a remarkable decree of the powers that rule us," is the characteristic reflection of the aged Goethe, "that in the course of my singular career I should also experience the feelings of one betrothed."

[Footnote 213: Werke, Briefe, ii. 246.]

[Footnote 214: Werke, Briefe, ii. 249.]

[Footnote 215: Ib. p. 255.]

Goethe's feelings as a betrothed were from the first of a mingled nature. No sooner had he given his pledge than all the complications which must result from his union with Lili stared him in the face. Even after the betrothal the relations between the two families did not become more cordial. Not only were they divided by difference of social standing; a deeper ground of mutual antagonism lay in their religion. The Schoenemanns belonged to the Reformed persuasion, the Protestantism of the higher classes, while the Goethes were Lutheran, as were the majority of the class to which they belonged; and between the two denominations there was bitter and permanent estrangement.[216] And there was still another stumbling-block in the way of a probable happy union. Goethe was not earning an independent income, and, in the event of his marriage, he and his bride would have to take up their quarters under his parental roof. But, accustomed to the gay pleasures of a fashionable circle, how would Lili accommodate herself to the homely ways and surroundings of the Goethe household? Moreover, we have it from Goethe himself that Lili was distasteful equally to his father and mother—the former sarcastically speaking of her as "Die Stadtdame." Such, he realised, was the future before him as the husband of Lili; and he had no sooner bound himself to her than he was reduced to distraction by conflicting desires. In some words he wrote to Herder within a fortnight after his betrothal we have a glimpse of his state of mind. "A short time ago," he wrote, "I was under the delusion that I was approaching the haven of domestic bliss and a sure footing in the realities of earthly joy and sorrow, but I am again in unhappy wise cast forth on the wide sea."[217] He was already, in fact, contemplating the desirability of bursting his bond; and an opportunity came to assist him in his resolve.

[Footnote 216: Frau Schoenemann is recorded to have said that the different religion of the two families was the cause of the match being broken off.]

[Footnote 217: Werke, Briefe, ii. 261-2.]

In the second week of May there came to Frankfort three youths whose rank and personal character created a flutter in the Goethe household. Two of them were the brothers of the Countess Stolberg,[218] with whom Goethe had been carrying on his platonic correspondence during the previous months, and were on their way to a tour in Switzerland. All were enthusiastic adherents of the Sturm und Drang movement, and Goethe had long been the object of their distant adoration. They were not disappointed in their idol, and the first meeting, according to both Stolbergs, sufficed to establish a general union of hearts. "Goethe," wrote the elder, "is a delightful fellow. The fulness of fervid sensibility streams out of his every word and feature."[219] During the few days they spent in Frankfort the three scions of nobility were frequent guests in the Goethe house, and their talk must have been enlivening if we may judge from the specimen of it recorded by Goethe himself. The conversation had turned on the ill-deeds of tyrants, a favourite theme with the youth of the time, and, heated with wine, the three youths expressed a vehement desire for the blood of all such. The Herr Rath smiled and shook his head, but his helpmate hastily ran to the wine-cellar and produced a bottle of her best, exclaiming, "Here is the true tyrant's blood. Feast on it, but let no murderous thoughts go forth from my house."

[Footnote 218: The third was Count Haugnitz, of more subdued temper than his companions.]

[Footnote 219: Biedermann, op. cit. i. 55.]

In the company of these choice spirits Goethe decided to leave Frankfort for a time, and with the set resolve, if possible, to efface all thoughts of Lili. Characteristically he did not take a formal leave of her, a proceeding which was naturally resented both by herself and her relatives. The quartette started on May 14th, and from the first they made it appear that they meant to travel as four geniuses who set at naught all accepted conventions.[220] Before departing they all procured Werther costume—blue coat, yellow waistcoat and hose and round grey hat; and in this array they disported themselves throughout their travels. Darmstadt was their first halting-place, and at the Court there they conducted themselves with some regard to decorum. Outside its precincts, however, they gave full rein to their eccentricities, and so scandalised the Darmstadters by publicly bathing in a pond in the neighbourhood that they found it advisable to beat a hasty retreat from the town. In Darmstadt Goethe had met his old mentor, Merck, who with his usual caustic frankness told him that he was making a fool of himself in keeping company with such madcaps.[221] At Mannheim, their next stage, the whole party signalised themselves by smashing the wine-glasses from which they had drunk to the ladylove of the younger Stolberg. The presence of distinguished personages at Carlsruhe, their next stage, kept their vivacity within bounds so long as they remained there. Just at this moment the young Duke of Weimar had come to Carlsruhe to betroth himself to the Princess Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, and from both Goethe received a cordial invitation to visit them at Weimar. Another distinguished person then in the town was Klopstock, who received Goethe with such undisguised kindness that he was induced to read aloud to him the latest scenes of a work of which we shall hear presently.[222] At Carlsruhe Goethe parted company from his fellow-travellers with the intention of visiting his sister at Emmendingen. On May 22nd he was at Strassburg, where he spent several days, renewing old acquaintances, especially with his former monitor, Salzmann, but, for reasons we can appreciate, did not present himself at Sesenheim.

[Footnote 220: According to Goethe, Count Haugnitz was the only one of the four who showed any sense of propriety.]

[Footnote 221: It was at this time that Merck gave his famous definition of Goethe's genius. See above, p. 135.]

[Footnote 222: The Urfaust.]

From Strassburg he proceeded to Emmendingen, where he spent the first week of June with his sister, whom he had not seen since her marriage with Schlosser. For various reasons he had looked forward to their meeting with painful feelings. He knew that she had been unhappy in her marriage, and must expect to find her naturally depressed temper soured by her conjugal experience. Their main theme of conversation was his betrothal to Lili, and it was with a vehemence born of her own bitter experience that Cornelia urged him to break off a connection which the relations of all immediately concerned too surely foreboded must end in disaster. The warning of Cornelia, we might have expected, should have been welcome as confirming his own struggling attempts to break loose from his bonds, but, if his later memories did not betray him, it only laid a heavier load on his heart. His real state of mind at the time we have in a letter to Johanna Fahlmer, written while he was still with his sister. "I feel," he wrote, "that the chief aim of my journey has failed, and when I return it will be worse for the Bear[223] than before. I know well that I am a fool, but for that very reason I am I."[224] The parting of the brother and sister—and the parting was to be for ever[225]—must have been with heavy misgivings for both. To her brother alone had Cornelia been bound by any tender tie; he alone of her family had understood and sympathised with her singular temperament, and her greatest happiness had been derived from following his career of brilliant promise and achievement. It must, therefore, have been with dark forebodings that she saw before him the possibility of a union which in her eyes must be fatal alike to his peace of mind and the development of his genius. On his side, also, Goethe must have parted from his sister with the sad conviction that the gloom that lay upon her life could never be lifted. She had been the one never-failing confidant equally of the troubles of his heart and of his intellectual ambitions, and it was from her that in his present distraction he had naturally sought sympathy and counsel. It is with the tenderest touch that in his reminiscent record of this their last meeting he depicts her "problematical" nature, and pays his tribute to all that she had been to him.[226]

[Footnote 223: Goethe was known as the "Bear" or the "Huron" among his friends.]

[Footnote 224: Werke, Briefe, ii. 266.]

[Footnote 225: Cornelia died in June, 1777, when Goethe was settled in Weimar.]

[Footnote 226: On Cornelia's death he wrote to his mother: "Mit meiner Schwester ist mir so eine starcke Wurzel die mich an der Erde hielt abgehauen worden, dass die Aeste von oben, die davon Nahrung haben, auch absterben muessen."]

It had been Goethe's original intention to end his travels with the visit to his sister, but, as their main object was as far off as ever, he decided to rejoin his late companions and to accompany them to Switzerland. By way of Schaffhausen they proceeded to Zurich, where Goethe's first act was to seek Lavater. Their talk during his stay in Zurich mainly turned on Lavater's great work on Physiognomy, to which Goethe had continuously contributed by help and counsel, though from the first he was sceptical of its scientific value. Their intercourse was as cordial as it had been in the previous year, and Lavater was subjugated more than ever by the personality of Goethe. "Who can think more differently than Goethe and I," he wrote to Wieland, who was still suspicious of his youthful adversary, "and yet we are devoted to each other.... You will be astonished at the man who unites the fury of the lion with the gentleness of the lamb. I have seen no one at once firmer in purpose and more easily led.... Goethe is the most lovable, most affable, most charming of fellows."[227]

[Footnote 227: Biedermann, op. cit. i. 59. Goethe made Lavater the victim of one of the practical jokes which he was in the habit of playing on his friends. Seeing an unfinished sermon of Lavater on his desk, he completed it during the absence of Lavater, who, in ignorance of the addition, preached the whole sermon as his own.—Ib. p. 58.]

In Zurich happened what Merck had foreseen. Goethe had grown tired of his over-exuberant fellow-travellers, whose ways, moreover, did not commend them to the sensitive Lavater. Goethe himself indeed was capable of wild enough pranks, but behind his wild humours lay ever the "serious striving" which was the regulative force of his nature, and which Lavater had recognised from the beginning of their intercourse. A lucky accident gave Goethe the opportunity of escaping from his late comrades without an open breach. In Zurich he found a friend whom he had looked forward to meeting there. This was a native of Frankfort, Passavant by name, who was settled in Switzerland as a Reformed pastor. Passavant was a man of intelligence and attractive character, and when he proposed that they should make a tour together through the smaller Swiss Cantons, Goethe jumped at the suggestion.

From Goethe's own narrative of his tour with Passavant we are to infer that the distracting image of Lili was never absent from his mind, and that all the glories of the scenery through which they passed were only its background seen through the haze of his wandering imaginations. And the testimony of the prose narrative in his Autobiography is confirmed by the successive lyrics, prompted by the intrusive image of Lili, which fell from him by the way. In the following lines, composed on the Lake of Zurich on the first morning of their journey, he clothes in poetical form the confession he had made to Johanna Fahlmer from Emmendingen:—

Und frische Nahrung, neues Blut Saug' ich aus freier Welt; Wie ist Natur so hold und gut, Die mich am Busen haelt!

Die Welle wieget unsern Kahn Im Rudertakt hinauf, Und Berge, wolkig himmelan, Begegnen unserm Lauf.

Aug', mein Aug', was sinkst du nieder? Goldne Traeume, kommt ihr wieder? Weg, du Traum! so Gold du bist; Hier auch Lieb' und Leben ist.

Auf der Welle blinken Tausend schwebende Sterne; Weiche Nebel trinken Rings die tuermende Ferne;

Morgenwind umfluegelt Die beschattete Bucht, Und im See bespiegelt Sich die reifende Frucht.

Fresh cheer and quickened blood I suck From this wide world and free; How dear is Nature and how good! A mother unto me!

Rocked by the wavelets speeds our skiff To the oar's measured beat; Cloudclapt, the heaven-aspiring hills Appear our course to meet.

Why sink my eyelids as I gaze? Ye golden dreams of other days, Come ye again? Though ne'er so dear, Begone! Are life and love not here?

The o'erhanging stars are twinkling In myriads on the mere; In floating mists enfolded The far heights disappear.

The morning breeze is coursing Round the deep-shadowed cove; And in its depths are imaged The ripening fruits above.

Looking down on the same lake from its southern ridge, he writes these lines, the concentrated expression of distracted emotions:—

Wenn ich, liebe Lili, dich nicht liebte, Welche Wonne gaeb' mir dieser Blick! Und doch, wenn ich, Lili, dich nicht liebte, Faend' ich hier und faend' ich dort mein Glueck?

If I, loved Lili, loved thee not, In this prospect, ah! what bliss; Yet, Lili, if I loved thee not, Where should I find my happiness?

In the cloister of the church at Einsiedeln he saw a beautiful gold crown, and his first thought was how it would become the brows of Lili. On the night of June 21st the two travellers reached the hospice in the pass of St. Gothard—the term of their journey. Next morning they saw the path that led down to Italy, and, according to Goethe's account, Passavant vehemently urged that they should make the descent together. For a few moments he was undecided, but the memories of Lili conquered. Drawing forth a golden heart, her gift, which he wore round his neck, he kissed it, and his resolution was taken. Hastily turning from the tempting path, he began his homeward descent, his companion reluctantly following him.[228]

[Footnote 228: According to a tradition in the Passavant family, it was Goethe, not Passavant, who was so eager to descend into Italy.—Biedermann, op. cit. i. 58.]

On July 22nd, after a leisurely journey homewards, he was again in Frankfort, and in a state of mind as undecided as ever regarding his future course. Fortunately or unfortunately for himself and the world, circumstances independent of his own will were to decide between the alternatives that lay before him.



CHAPTER XIV

LAST MONTHS IN FRANKFORT—THE URFAUST

1775

As he represents it in his Autobiography, this was the situation in which Goethe found himself on his return to Frankfort. All his personal friends warmly welcomed him back, though his father did not conceal his disappointment that he had not continued his travels into Italy. As for Lili, she had taken it for granted that the departure of her betrothed without a word of leave-taking could only imply his intention to break with her. Yet it was reported to him that in the face of all obstacles to their union she had declared herself ready to leave her past behind her and share his fortunes in America. Their intercourse was resumed, but they avoided seeing each other alone, as if conscious of some ground of mutual estrangement. "It was an accursed state, in some ways resembling Hades, the meeting-place of the sadly-happy dead." In view of these relations between Lili and himself, he further adds, all their common friends were decidedly opposed to their union.

Such is the account which, in his retrospect, Goethe gives of his situation after his return to Frankfort, but his correspondence at the time shows that it cannot be accepted as strictly accurate. During the three remaining months he spent in Frankfort he on four different occasions visited Offenbach, where he must often have seen her alone. What his letters indeed prove is that he was characteristically content to let each day bring its own happiness or misery, and to leave events to decide the final issue. On August 1st, a few days after his return, he writes to Knebel: "I am here again ... and find myself a good deal better, quite content with the past and full of hope for the future."[229] Two days later he was in Offenbach, and from Lili's own room he writes as follows to the Countess: "Oh! that I could tell you all. Here in the room of the girl who is the cause of my misery—without her fault, with the soul of an angel, over whose cheerful days I cast a gloom, I.... In vain that for three months I have wandered under the open sky and drunk in a thousand new objects at every pore."[230] To Lavater on the following day he writes that he has been riding with Lili, and adds these words with an N.B.: "For some time I have been pious again; my desire is for the Lord, and I sing psalms to him, a vibration of which shall soon reach you. Adieu. I am in a sore state of strain; I might say over-strain. Yet I wish you were with me, for then it goes well in my surroundings."[231] A letter addressed to Merck later in the same month would seem to show that he had at least no intention of seeking an immediate union with Lili. By the end of the year at the latest, he says, he must be off to Italy, and he prays Merck to prevail with his father to grant his consent.

[Footnote 229: Werke, Briefe, ii. 272.]

[Footnote 230: Ib. p. 273.]

[Footnote 231: Ib. pp. 277-8.]

A crisis in the relations between the lovers came on the occasion of the Frankfort fair in the second week of September. The fair brought a crowd of males, young, middle-aged, and old, all on more or less intimate terms with the Schoenemann family, and their familiarities with Lili were gall and wormwood to Goethe, though he testifies that, as occasion offered, she did not fail to show who lay nearest her heart. Even in his old age the experience of these days recalled unpleasant memories. "But let us turn," he exclaims, "from this torture, almost intolerable even in the recollection, to the poems which brought some relief to my mind and heart."[232] A remarkable contemporary document from his hand proves that his memory did not exaggerate his state of mind at the time.[233] In the form of a Diary, expressly meant for his Countess, he notes day by day the alternating feelings which were distracting him. The Countess had urged him once for all to break his bonds, and in these words we have his reply: "I saw Lili after dinner, saw her at the play. I had not a word to say to her, and said nothing! Would I were free! O Gustchen! and yet I tremble for the moment when she could become indifferent to me, and I become hopeless. But I abide true to myself, and let things go as they will."[234]

[Footnote 232: The two poems, Lilis Park and the song beginning "Ihr verbluehet, suesse Rosen," which Goethe refers to this period, were really written at an earlier date. The latter, we have seen, appears in Erwin und Elmire.]

[Footnote 233: It was at this time that he translated the Song of Solomon, which he calls "the most glorious collection of love-songs God ever made."]

[Footnote 234: Werke, Briefe, ii. 294. In a letter to the Countess's brothers about the same date, Goethe writes: "Gustchen [the Countess] is an angel. The devil that she is an Imperial Countess."—Ib. p. 298.]

In all this tumultuous effusion we see the side of Goethe's nature which he has depicted in Werther, in Clavigo, and Fernando. Yet all the while he was completely master of his own genius. Throughout all his alternating raptures and despairs he was assiduously practising the arts to which his genius called him. He diligently contributed both text and drawings to Lavater's Physiognomy; he worked at art on his own account, making a special study of Rembrandt; and, as we shall see, even at the time when his relations to Lili were at the breaking-point he was producing poetical work which he never surpassed at any period of his life. From two distinguished contemporaries, both men of mature age, who visited him during this time of his intensest preoccupation with Lili, we have interesting characterisations of him which complement the impressions we receive from his own self-portraiture. The one is from J.G. Sulzer, an author of repute on matters of art. "This young scholar," Sulzer writes, "is a real original genius, untrammelled in his manner of thinking, equally in the sphere of politics and learning.... In intercourse I found him pleasant and amiable.... I am greatly mistaken if this young man in his ripe years will not turn out a man of integrity. At present he has not as yet regarded man and human life from many sides. But his insight is keen."[235] The other writer is J.G. Zimmermann, one of the remarkable men of his time, whose book on Solitude, published in 1755, had brought him a European reputation. "I have been staying in Frankfort with Monsieur Goethe," he writes, "one of the most extraordinary and most powerful geniuses who has ever appeared in this world.... Ah! my friend, if you had seen him in his paternal home, if you had seen how this great man in the presence of his father and mother is the best conducted and most amiable of sons, you would have found it difficult not to regard him through the medium of love."[236]

[Footnote 235: Biedermann, op. cit. i. p. 60.]

[Footnote 236: Max Morris, op. cit. v. 470.]

On October 12th, 1775, happened an event which was to be the decisive turning-point in Goethe's life. On that day the young Duke of Weimar and his bride arrived in Frankfort on their way home from Carlsruhe, where they had just celebrated their marriage, and again both warmly urged him to visit them at Weimar.[237] We have it on Goethe's own word that he had decided on a second flight from Frankfort as the only escape from his unendurable situation, but the invitation of the ducal pair brought his decision to a point. He accepted the invitation, announced his resolve to all his friends, and made the necessary preparations for his journey. The arrangement was that a gentleman of the Duke's suite, then at Carlsruhe, was to call for him on an appointed day and convey him to Weimar. The appointed day came, but no representative of the Duke appeared. To avoid the embarrassment of meeting friends of whom he had formally taken leave, he kept within doors, working off his impatience in the composition of a play which the world was afterwards to know as Egmont. More than another week passed, and, weary of his imprisonment, he stole out in the darkness enveloped in a long cloak to avoid recognition by chance friends. In his memory there lived one of these night-wanderings when he stood beneath Lili's window, heard her sing the song, beginning Warum ziehst du mich unwiderstehlich, in which, in the first freshness of his love, he had described the witchery with which she had bound him, and, the song ended, saw from her moving shadow that she paced up and down the room, evidently deep in thoughts which he leaves us to divine. Only his fixed resolve to renounce her, he adds in his narrative of the incident, prevented him from making his presence known to her.

[Footnote 237: The Duke had previously passed through Frankfort on his way to Carlsruhe. On that occasion, also, Goethe had been in intercourse with him.]

There was one member of the Goethe household who was not displeased at the non-appearance of the ducal representative. The father had from the first been strenuously opposed to his son's going to Weimar, and in his opinion the apparent breach of the appointment was only an illustration of what a commoner was to expect in his intercourse with the great. His own desire was that his son should proceed to Italy with the double object of breaking his connection with Lili, and of enlarging his experience by an acquaintance with that country and its treasures. The embarrassing predicament of his son offered the opportunity of realising his desire, and he now proposed to him that he should at once start for Italy and leave his cares behind him. In the circumstances there appeared to be no other alternative, and on October 30th Goethe left Frankfort with Italy as his intended goal. Heidelberg was to be his first stage, and on the way thither he began the Journal in which he meant to record the narrative of his travels. The two pages he wrote are the intense expression of the mental strain in which he set forth on a journey which was to have such a different issue from what he dreamt. The parting from Lili was uppermost in his thoughts. "Adieu, Lili," he wrote, "adieu for the second time! The first time we parted I was full of hope that our lots should one day be united.[238] Fate has decided that we must play our roles apart."

[Footnote 238: This, as we have seen, is not consistent with certain of his former statements.—In June of 1776 Lili was betrothed to another, but, owing to his bankruptcy, marriage did not follow. In 1778, however, she was married to a Strassburg banker. Like all Goethe's loves, she retained a kindly memory of him. She is reported to have said that she regarded herself as owing her best self to him.—Max Morris, op. cit. v. 468.]

At Heidelberg he spent a few days in the house of a lady of whom we have already heard—that Mademoiselle Delf who had so effectually brought matters to a point between Goethe and Lili. She was now convinced that the betrothal had been a mistake, but, undismayed, she now suggested to him that there was a lady in Heidelberg who would be a satisfactory substitute for the lost one. One night he had retired to rest after listening to a protracted exposition of the Fraeulein's projects for his future, when he was roused by the sound of a postilion's horn. The postilion brought a letter which cleared up the mystery of the delayed messenger. Hastily dressing, Goethe ordered a post-chaise, and, amid the vehement expostulations of his hostess, began the first stage of the journey which was to lead him not to Italy but to the Court of Weimar. It was the most momentous hour of his life, and, as he took his place in the carriage, he called aloud, in mock heroics, to the excited Fraeulein words which he may have recently written in Egmont, and which had even more significance as bearing on his own future than he could have dreamed at the moment: "Child! Child! Forbear! As if goaded by invisible spirits, the sun-steeds of time bear onward the light car of our destiny; and nothing remains for us but, with calm self-possession, firmly to grasp the reins, and now right, now left, to steer the wheels here from the precipice and there from the rock. Whither he is hasting, who knows? Does anyone consider whence he came?"[239]

[Footnote 239: Miss Swanwick's translation. Goethe concludes his Autobiography with these words.]

With him to Weimar Goethe bore two manuscripts to which, during his last years in Frankfort, he had, at one time and another, committed his deepest feelings as a man, his profoundest thoughts as a thinker, and his finest imaginations as a poet. The one contained the first draft of the drama which, as we have seen, was written in those days of torturing suspense preceding his final departure from his paternal home, and which, subsequently recast, was to take its place among the best known of his works—the tragedy of Egmont. Of far higher moment for the world, however, was the matter contained in the other of these manuscripts. Therein were set down the original portions of a poem which was eventually to fructify into one of the great imaginative products of all time—the drama of Faust.

Beyond all other of Goethe's productions previous to his settling in Weimar, these original scenes of Faust bring before us his deepest and truest self. In all the other longer works of that period, in Goetz, in Werther, in Clavigo, and the rest, one side—the emotional side—of his nature had been predominantly represented; but in what he wrote of Faust we have all his mind and heart as he had them from nature, and as they had been schooled by time. It is one of the fortunate incidents in literary history that we now possess these fragments in which the genius of Goethe expressed itself with an intensity of imaginative force which he never again exemplified in the same degree. The original text was unknown till 1887, when Erich Schmidt found it in the possession of a grandnephew of a lady of the Court of Weimar,[240] who had copied it from the manuscript received by her from Goethe. It is uncertain whether the manuscript thus discovered exactly corresponds to the manuscript which Goethe took with him to Weimar, but the probability is that their contents are virtually identical.

[Footnote 240: Fraeulein Luise von Goechhausen.]

As in the case of Der Ewige Jude, Prometheus, and other fragments of the Frankfort period, the successive scenes of the Urfaust were thrown off at different times on the inspiration of the moment, and the exact date of their production can only be a matter of conjecture. What we do know is that the figure of the legendary Faust had early attracted his attention. As a boy he had read at least one of the chap-books which recorded the wondrous history of the scholar who had sold himself to the devil, and, as a common spectacle in Germany, he must have seen the puppet-show in which the story of Faust was dramatised for the people. According to his own statement, it was in 1769 that the conception of a poem, based on the Faust legend, first suggested itself to him, but it was during the years 1774 and 1775 that most of the scenes of the Urfaust were written. Both by himself and others there are references during these years to his work on Faust, and as late as the middle of September, 1775, he tells the Countess Stolberg that, while at Offenbach with Lili, he had composed another scene.

What attracted Goethe to the legend of Faust was that it presented a framework into which he could dramatically work his own life's experience, equally in the world of thought and feeling. The story that depicted a passionate searcher for truth, rebelling against the limits imposed by the place assigned to man in the nature of things, who at all costs dared to burst these limits in order to enjoy life in all its fulness—this story had a suggestiveness that appealed to Goethe's profoundest consciousness. "I also," he says in his Autobiography, "had wandered at large through all the fields of knowledge, and its futility had early enough been shown to me. In life also I had experimented in all manner of ways, and always returned more dissatisfied and distracted than ever." Of this correspondence which Goethe recognised between the legendary Faust and his own being, the final proof is that on the basis of the legend he eventually constructed the work in which he embodied all that life had taught him of the conditions under which it has to be lived.

When Goethe first put his hand to the Urfaust, he had no definite conception of an artistic whole in which the suggestions of the legend should be focussed in view of a determinate end. As we have it, the Urfaust consists of twenty-two scenes—those that relate the Gretchen tragedy alone having any necessary connection with each other. All the successive parts, including the Gretchen tragedy, suggest improvisation under a compelling immediate impulse with no reference to what had gone before or what might come after. Apart from its poetic value, therefore, the Urfaust is the concentrated expression of what had most intensely engaged Goethe's mind and heart previous to the period when it was produced.

In the Urfaust we have neither the Prologue in the Theatre nor the Prologue in Heaven, but, with the exception of some verbal changes, the opening scene which introduces us to Faust is identical with that of the poem in its final form. Seated at his desk in a dusty Gothic chamber, furnished with all the apparatus for scientific experiment, Faust reviews his past life, and finds that he has been mocked from the beginning. In every department of boasted knowledge he has made himself a master, but it has brought satisfaction neither to his intellect nor his heart, and he has turned to magic in the hope that it would reveal to him the secrets that would make life worth living. As in the completed Faust, he opens the book of Nostradamus and finds the signs of the Macrocosmus and of the Earth-Spirit, by both of which he is baffled in his attempt to enter the arcana of being.

In the Urfaust, also, we have, with a few verbal alterations, the Scene in which Faust communicates to his famulus Wagner his cynical view of the value of human knowledge. In the Urfaust, however, are lacking the Scenes that follow in the completed poem—Faust's soliloquy and meditated suicide, the Easter walk, the appearance of Mephistopheles in the shape of a poodle, and the compact that follows. In place of these scenes we have but one, in which Mephistopheles, without previous introduction, is represented as a professor giving advice to a raw student who has come to consult him as to his future course of conduct and study. Of all the Scenes in the Urfaust this is the feeblest, and its immaturity, as well as its evident references to Goethe's own experiences at Leipzig, suggest that it was the earliest written. This Scene is followed by another reminiscent of Leipzig—the Scene in Auerbach's cellar, which mainly differs from the later form in being written in prose and not in verse—Faust and not Mephistopheles playing the conjuror in drawing wine from a table. In the completed poem we are next introduced to the Witches' Kitchen, where Faust is rejuvenated, and where he sees Margaret's image in a mirror—the reader being thus prepared for the tragedy that is to follow. In the Urfaust we pass with no connecting link from the Scene in Auerbach's Cellar to Faust's meeting with Margaret and the successive Scenes which depict her self-abandonment to Faust and her consequent misery and ruin. The content of these Scenes is virtually the same in both forms—the most important difference being that, while the concluding Prison Scene is in prose in the Urfaust, it is in verse in the later form. Of the three songs which Margaret sings, only the first, "There was a King in Thule," was retouched. In the Urfaust the duel between Valentin and Mephistopheles does not occur, and we have only Valentin's soliloquy on the ruin of his sister; and the scenes, Wald und Hoehle, the Walpurgis Nacht, the Walpurgisnachtstraum, generally condemned by critics as inartistic irrelevancies, are likewise lacking.[241]

[Footnote 241: The words "[Sie] ist gerettet" are not in the Urfaust.]

The Urfaust is the crowning poetic achievement of the youthful Goethe, and by general consent, as has already been said, he never again achieved a similar intense fusion of thought, feeling, and imagination. Apart from the opening Scenes, which have no dramatic connection with it, the Gretchen tragedy constitutes an artistic whole which by its perfection of detail and overwhelming tragic effect must ever remain one of the marvels of creative genius. Not less astonishing as a manifestation of Goethe's youthful power is the creation in all their essential lineaments of the three figures, Faust, Mephistopheles, and Margaret—figures stamped ineffaceably on the imagination of educated humanity. Be it said also that from the Urfaust mainly come those single lines and passages which are among the memorable words recorded in universal literature. Such, to specify only a few, are the Song of the Earth-Spirit; the lines commenting on man's vain endeavour to comprehend the past, and on the dreariness of all theory,[242] contrasted with the freshness and colour of life; Faust's confession of his religious faith, and Margaret's songs. To have added in this measure to the intellectual inheritance of the race assures the testator his rank among the great spirits of all time.

[Footnote 242:

Grau, theurer Freund, ist alle Theorie, Und gruen des Lebens goldner Baum.]

With the Urfaust, marking as it does the highest development which Goethe attained in the years of his youth, this record of these years may fitly close. His characteristics as they present themselves during that period are certainly in strange contrast to the conception of the matured Goethe which holds general possession of the public mind, at least in this country. In that conception the world was for the later Goethe "a palace of art," in which he moved—

"as God holding no form of creed But contemplating all."[243]

[Footnote 243: Tennyson disclaimed having Goethe in his mind when he wrote The Palace of Art.]

But such transformations of human character are not in the order of nature, and, due allowance made for the numbing hand of time, the youthful Goethe remained essentially the same Goethe to the end. Behind the mask of impassivity which chilled the casually curious who sought him in his last years there was ever that etwas weibliches which Schiller noted in him in his middle age. In the critical moments of life he was in his maturity as in his youth subject to emotions which for the time seemed to be beyond his control. On the death of his wife his behaviour was that of one distracted. He described himself at the age of fifteen as "something of a chameleon," and, as already remarked, Felix Mendelssohn, who saw him a year before his death, declared that the world would one day come to believe that there had not been one but many Goethes. We have seen that throughout the period of his youth some external impulse to production was a necessity of his nature, and so it was to the close. What Behrisch and Merck and his sister Cornelia did for him in these early years, had to be done for him in later life by similar friends and counsellors. If, like Plato and Dante, he was "a great lover" in his youth, "a great lover" he remained even into time-stricken age; when past his seventieth year he was moved by a passion from which, as in youth, he found deliverance by giving vent to it in passionate verse. It is in the youthful Goethe, before time and circumstance had dulled the spontaneous play of feeling, that we see the man as he came from nature's hand, with all his manifold gifts, and with all his sensuous impulses, tossing him from one object of desire to another, yet ever held in check by the passion that was deepest in him—the passion to know and to create.

* * * * *

GARDEN CITY PRESS LIMITED, LETCHWORTH, HERTS.



INDEX

Adler und Taube, poem by Goethe, 183, 184.

AEschylus, 175.

An Belinden, lyric addressed by Goethe to Lili Schoenemann, 252.

An Schwager Kronos, poem by Goethe, 240.

Arnold, Gottfried, his History of the Church and of Heretics, Goethe's study of it, 64, 65.

Arnold, Matthew, 6; quoted, 140.

Basedow, Johann Bernhard, his character, 227, 228; his intercourse with Goethe, 228-231.

Beaumarchais, his Memoires suggest Goethe's Clavigo, 200, 201.

Behrisch, friend of Goethe in Leipzig, his character and influence on Goethe, 39-41, 43, 44.

Bergson, quoted, 175 note.

Berlichingen, Gottfried von, hero of Goethe's play Goetz von Berlichingen, 121; his Memoirs, ib.

Boerhaave, Goethe's study of him, 64.

Boehme, Professor of History in Leipzig, Goethe attends his lectures, 34.

Boehme, Frau, her influence on Goethe, 34, 36.

Boie, H.C., his description of Goethe, 241.

Bonn, 231.

Brentano, Peter, married to Maxe von la Roche, 186; Goethe's relations to him, ib.; his traits assigned to Albert in Werther, 191.

Brion, Friederike, Goethe's relations to her, 96-101; his poems inspired by her, 105-108; Goethe's remorse for parting from her, 117, 118; nature of Goethe's love for her, 249 note.

Brion, Pastor, father of Friederike Brion, 96.

Byron, Lord, resemblance of his career to Goethe's, 26, 27, 29; referred to, 168.

Buff, Charlotte (Lotte), loved by Goethe, 147; his relations to her, 147-151; her displeasure with Werther, 198.

Carl August, Duke of Weimar, his intercourse with Goethe, 242; meets Goethe at Carlsruhe, 272; visits Frankfort and invites Goethe to Weimar, 283-284.

Carlsruhe, 272.

Carlyle, Thomas, 181.

Chateaubriand, 249 note.

Claudine von Villa Bella, play by Goethe, 263-265.

Clavigo, play by Goethe: its origin, 200, 201; argument of it, 202-204; its classical form, 205.

Clavigo, character of, compared with that of Goethe, 206-208.

Clodius, Professor in Leipzig; Goethe attends his lectures, 34.

Coblenz, 230.

Cologne, 235, 236.

Cologne cathedral, 235.

Constantin, brother of Carl August, 242.

Darmstadt, 272.

Darmstadt, Court of, the coterie associated with it, 136, 138; its influence on Goethe, ib.

Das Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern, satirical play by Goethe, 169, 170.

Daudet, Alphonse, 180 note.

Delf, Mademoiselle, effects the betrothal of Goethe and Lili Schoenemann, 268; suggests to Goethe a substitute for Lili, 286.

Der Ewige Jude, poetic fragment by Goethe: its origin, 212-215; account of it, 216-218.

Der Koenig von Thule, poem by Goethe, 236.

Der Untreue Knabe, poem by Goethe, 236.

Der Wanderer, poem by Goethe, 140-142.

Deserted Village, translated by Goethe, 146.

Die Laune des Verliebten, play by Goethe: its argument, 51, 52.

Die Mitschuldigen, play by Goethe: its argument, 52, 53.

Dine zu Coblenz, poem by Goethe, 230, 231.

Disputation of Goethe for the Licentiate of Laws, 114.

Dresden, Goethe's secret visit to, 46.

Duesseldorf, 231, 235, 236.

Edwin and Angelina, Goldsmith's ballad, suggested Goethe's Erwin und Elmire, 256.

Egmont, play by Goethe, 284; quoted by Goethe on his proceeding to Weimar, 287; manuscript of, taken to Weimar by Goethe, 287.

Ehrenbreitstein, 155.

Einsiedeln, 278.

Elberfeld, 231.

Elysium, an Uranien, ode by Goethe, 138.

Emerson, quoted, 106, 107.

Emmendingen, 272.

Ems, 225.

English literature, its influence on Werther, 187, 188.

Ephemerides, Diary kept by Goethe, 102; quoted, 211 note; referred to, 212.

Erwin und Elmire, vaudeville by Goethe, 255-257.

Euripides, 173.

Fahlmer, Johanna, letter of Goethe to, 248 note.

Flachsland, Caroline, member of the Gemeinschaft der Heiligen, 136; her letters describing Goethe, 137, 138; his ode addressed to her as Psyche, 138; on Goethe's ambition to be a painter, 164; character in Das Jahrmarktsfest, 170; in Pater Brey, 171; in Satyros, 172.

Flaubert, 180 note.

Frankfort-on-the-Main, Goethe's birthplace, description of: its influence on Goethe, 2, 3; Goethe's return to, 109; Goethe's distaste for, 111.

Frankforters, Goethe's description of, 161.

Frankfurter Gelehrten Anzeigen, journal expounding the aims of the Sturm und Drang movement, 164, 165.

Frederick the Great, Goethe's admiration for, 18, 19.

French literature, its domination in Germany; imitated by Goethe, 49, 75.

French troops in Frankfort, 19-21.

Friedberg, 239.

Gedicht der Ankunft des Herrn, another title for Der Ewige Jude, 216.

Gellert, Professor, German poet resident in Leipzig, 32; Goethe attends his lectures, 34.

Gemeinschaft der Heiligen at the Court of Darmstadt, 136.

Goechhausen, Fraeulein Luise von, and the manuscript of the Urfaust, 288 and note.

Goethe, Cornelia, Goethe's sister: her character, her influence on Goethe, Goethe's affection for her, 10, 11; his letters to her from Leipzig, 40, 41; her father's hardness to, 59; her home influence, 116; stimulates Goethe to write Goetz von Berlichingen, 121; married to J.G. Schlosser, 162; Goethe's last meeting with her, 273-274.

Goethe, Elizabeth, Goethe's mother: her character, her relations to her son, 8-10; her religion, 15.

Goethe, Johann Kaspar, Goethe's father: his character, not in sympathy with his son, his method of education, 6-7; determines, against his son's will, to send him to University of Leipzig, 23, 24; his severity towards his daughter, Cornelia, 59; estrangement from his son, 60; his pride in his genius, ib.; his son's characterisation of him, 161; his republican opinions, 243; objects to his son's intercourse with Carl August, Duke of Weimar, 244; his opposition to his son's going to Weimar, 285; wishes him to go to Italy, ib.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, his birth in Frankfort-on-the-Main, 4; influence of his birthplace, 2, 3; influence of the period on his development, 4-6; his debt to his father, 6-7; to his mother, 8-10; relations to his sister, 10-11; his education, 14; religious influences, 14-17; influence of the French theatre in Frankfort on him, 20, 21; in love with Gretchen, 22, 23; father resolves to send him to the University of Leipzig, 24; his characteristics as a boy, 25-27; his early devotion to poetry, 28; his stormy career throughout his youth, 29; goes to the University of Leipzig, 31; his studies there, 33-35; influence of Leipzig society on him, 35-38; influence of Frau Boehme on his character and literary tastes, 36; falls in love with Kaethchen Schoenkopf, 38; friendship with Behrisch, 39, 40; a jealous lover, 43, 44; artistic studies, 45; influence of Friedrich Oeser on his artistic ideals, 46, 47; Neue Lieder, 49, 50; Die Laune des Verliebten and Die Mitschuldigen, 51-53; his ideas of poetry, 54-57; returns to Frankfort, 57; his unsatisfactory condition of mind and body, 57, 58; estrangement from his father, 60; his interest in religion, 60-67; influence of Fraeulein von Klettenberg, 62-64; his dangerous illness, 63, 64; works out a creed of his own, 65, 66; mystical and chemical studies, 66; interests in art and literature, 69-71; departs for the University of Strassburg, 74; influence of Strassburg society, 76, 77; finds a mentor in Dr. Salzmann, 79, 80; acquaintance with Jung Stilling, 81-83; influence of Herder, 83-93; inspired by Strassburg Cathedral, 93-95; his love experiences with Friederike Brion, 95-102; his manifold interests in Strassburg, 102-104; development of his poetic gift, 105; lyrics to Friederike, 105-108; returns to Frankfort, 108; state of mind on his return, 110-113; continued estrangement from his father, 114, 115; his sister Cornelia, 116; makes acquaintance with the brothers Schlosser, ib.; his distraction in Frankfort, 118-120; admiration of Shakespeare, 121; writes Goetz von Berlichingen, 122; makes acquaintance with Merck, 132; comes under the influence of the Darmstadt circle, 136; his poems inspired by that circle, 138; his visit to Wetzlar, 143; his mode of life there, 144; marks the acquaintance of Charlotte Buff, 147; and of Kestner, 148; his subsequent relations to them, 149; characterised by Kestner, 152; returns to Frankfort, 154; conceives Werther, 154; makes acquaintance with the family von la Roche, 155; his relations to Frau von la Roche and her daughter, 156; his unrest after his experiences at Wetzlar, 158; his dislike of Frankfort, 161; his solitude, 162; uncertain whether he should devote himself to literature or art, 163; co-editor of the Frankfurter Gelehrten Anzeigen, 164; his Letter of a Pastor, 166; paper on Two Biblical Questions, 167; publishes the second draft of Goetz von Berlichingen, 167; writes a succession of satirical plays, 169; his fragmentary drama, Prometheus, 175; his fragment of a drama on Mahomet, 181; produces Werther, 184; his own character compared with that of Werther, 193; his Clavigo, 200; Goethe and Spinoza, 209; his fragment, Der Ewige Jude, 212; his intercourse with Lavater, 220; with Basedow, 227; with Fritz Jacobi, 233; with Klopstock, 238; characterised by Boie and Werthes, 241-2; makes acquaintance with the Princes of Weimar, 243; characterised by von Knebel, 244-5; falls in love with Lili Schoenemann, 247; his songs addressed to her, 251; relations with the Countess Stolberg, 253; his infatuation for Lili, 254; his succession of plays relative to her, 255-265; shrinking from marriage, 267; betrothed to Lili, 268; persuaded of his mistake, 269; sets out for Switzerland with the Counts Stolberg, 270; his travels, 272; visit to his sister, 273; meets Lavater at Zurich, 275; parts company with the Stolbergs, and accompanies Passavant to the pass of St. Gothard, 276; returns to Frankfort, 278; his relations to Lili on his return, 279; invited by the Duke of Weimar to visit Weimar, 284; opposition of his father, 284; decides to go to Italy as the Duke's messenger does not appear, 285; goes to Heidelberg on the way to Italy, 285; appearance of the Duke's messenger decides him to visit Weimar, 286; the Urfaust, 287-293; characteristics, 293.

Goncourt, Edmond de, 180 note.

Goetter, Holden, und Wieland, satirical play on Wieland by Goethe, 173, 174.

Gotter, F.W., friend of Goethe in Wetzlar, 146.

Gottsched, German poet resident in Leipzig, 32.

Goetz von Berlichingen, drama by Goethe, 109, 113; its origin, 121; its plot, 123-126; its characteristics, 126-129; second draft of, 167, 168.

Gray, Thomas, 187.

Gretchen, Goethe's first love, 22, 23.

Hamann, J.G., the "Magus of the North," teacher of Herder, 86; Goethe's interest in him, ib.

Hanover, 160.

Hasenkamp, rebukes Goethe for Werther, 232.

Haugnitz, Count, travels with Goethe to Switzerland, 270-275.

Heidelberg, 285, 286.

Hehn, Viktor, quoted, 139, 180 note.

Heine, Heinrich, 26.

Heinse, J.J.H., his opinion of Goethe, 237.

Herder, his Fragments on Modern German Literature, 48; Johann Gottfried, 83-93; his career, character and speculations, 84-86; his admiration of Shakespeare, 120; his opinion of Goetz von Berlichingen, 145; one of the editors of the Frankfurter Gelehrten Anzeigen, 164, 165; as captain of the gipsies in Das Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern, 170; satirised in Pater Brey, 171; and in Satyros, 172; letters of Goethe to, 268, 270.

Herrnhut Community, Goethe attends a synod of, 63; dissociates himself from the community, 79.

Hoch auf dem alten Turme steht, lines by Goethe, 230.

Holy Alliance, 180.

Homer, Goethe's study of him, 145.

Horn, a friend of Goethe: his description of Goethe in Leipzig, 37; quoted, 38; quoted, 67.

Humboldt, Wilhelm von, his opinion of marriage, 101, 102.

Jabach, family of, 235.

Jacobi, Fritz, his horror at Lessing's approval of Spinoza, 180, 233; his character and attainments, 234; his intercourse with Goethe, 234-238; letter of Goethe to, 267.

Jacobi, Georg, 235, 236.

Jean Paul, 26.

Jerusalem: his suicide prompts Goethe to Werther, 154, 155; Lessing's esteem for him, 154 note.

Jung, Johann Heinrich. (See Stilling, Jung.)

Kant, Immanuel, quoted, 28; quoted, 48; his opinion of marriage, 101; his judgment on the Sturm und Drang movement, 130.

Kestner, Johann Christian, betrothed to Lotte Buff, 148; his character, ib.; his relations to Goethe, 149-151; his characterisation of Goethe, 151-153; letters of Goethe to, 159, 160, 174; his displeasure with Werther, 198.

Klettenberg, Fraeulein von, the Schoene Seele of Wilhelm Meister, 15; Goethe's intimacy with, 62; her influence on his religious opinions, 63, 64, 66, 67; letter of Goethe to, 77, 78; her intercourse with Lavater, 225; adviser of the Goethe family, 244; her death, 245-246; her affection for Goethe, 246.

Klopstock, his Messias, 238; admired by Goethe, 239; his visit to Goethe's home, 239, 240; Goethe accompanies him to Mannheim, 240; Goethe's opinion of him, 241 note; visits Frankfort, 268; Goethe meets him at Carlsruhe, 272.

Knebel, Major von, his visit to Goethe, 242; his characterisation of him, 244; letter of Goethe to, 280.

Kuenstlers Erdewallen, poem by Goethe, 184.

La Roche, family, its influence on Werther, 158.

La Roche, Frau von, Goethe's relations to her 155, 156; letters of Goethe to, 162, 186, 187, 245 note.

La Roche, Herr von, 155.

La Roche, Maximiliane von, Goethe's relations to her, 157; married to Peter Brentano, 186; her relation to Werther, 186, 191.

Langer, his influence on Goethe's religious opinions, 58, 59.

Lavater, Johann Kaspar, his character, 220; his intercourse with Goethe, 222-232; Goethe's intercourse with him at Zurich, 275 and note, 280; his Physiognomy, Goethe's contributions to it, 282.

Leipzig, description of, 31, 32; Goethe a student there, 31-56; called "little Paris," 32.

Lessing, his Laokoon and Minna von Barnhelm, 49; Goethe's opinion of, 70; his approval of Spinoza's philosophy, 180; his opinion of Werther, 197 note.

Letter of the Pastor written by Goethe, 166.

Leuchsenring, his sentimentalism, 157; his meeting with Goethe, ib.; satirised in Pater Brey, 171.

Lilis Park, poem by Goethe addressed to Lili Schoenemann, 266 note, 281 note.

Limprecht, Goethe's letter to, 76.

Lisbon, earthquake of, its influence on Goethe, 16.

Luise, Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, betrothed to Carl August, Duke of Weimar, 272.

Mahomet, fragment of a drama by Goethe, 181-183.

Mainz, 244, 245.

Mannheim, 240, 272.

Maria Theresa, 18.

Mendelssohn, Moses, his relation to Spinoza, 180.

Mephistopheles, 109.

Merck, Johann Heinrich, friend of Goethe, 133; his character and influence on Goethe, 133-135; introduces Goethe to the family von la Roche, 155; his visit to Berlin and return, 162; one of the editors of the Frankfurter Gelehrten Anzeigen, 164, 165; in Pater Brey, 171; in Satyros, 172; his mordant comment on Clavigo, 206; comes under the spell of Lavater, 224; meeting with Goethe in Mannheim, 272.

Milan, Archbishop of, orders Werther to be burned, 197.

Muelheim, 231.

Mueller, Chancellor von, quoted, 44; quoted, 58 note.

Muench, Anna Sibylla, suggests Clavigo, 201, 202.

Napoleon, and Werther, 192, 193, 199.

Neo-Platonism, 65.

Neue Lieder, collection of Goethe's poems written in Leipzig, 49.

Neue Liebe, neues Leben, poem of Goethe addressed to Lili Schoenemann, 251.

New Testament, Goethe's study, 59.

Oeser, Friedrich, director of the academy of drawing in Leipzig: his influence on Goethe, 46, 47; letters of Goethe to him, 67, 69.

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