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






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

Quintus Fixlein's Wedding. Translated by Thomas Carlyle.

Rome. Translated by C. T. Brooks.

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


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

The Early Romantic School. By James Taft Hatfield.


Lectures on Dramatic Art. Translated by John Black.


Introduction to Lucinda. By Calvin Thomas.

Lucinda. Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas.

Aphorisms. Translated by Louis H. Gray.


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

Aphorisms. Translated by Frederic H. Hedge.

Hymn to Night. Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas.

Though None Thy Name Should Cherish. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork.

To the Virgin. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork.


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

Evening Phantasie. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork.


Puss in Boots. Translated by Lillie Winter.

Fair Eckbert. Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas.

The Elves. Translated by Frederic H. Hedge.


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

Michael Kohlhaas. Translated by Frances H. King.

The Prince of Homburg. Translated by Hermann Hagedorn.


Lonely Ride. By Hans Thoma.

Jean Paul. By E. Hader.

Bridal Procession. By Ludwig Richter.

Wilhelm von Humboldt. By Franz Krueger.

The University of Berlin.

A Hermit watering Horses. By Moritz von Schwind.

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

The Chapel in the Forest. By Moritz von Schwind.

August Wilhelm Schlegel.

Caroline Schlegel.

Friedrich Schlegel. By E. Hader.

The Creation. By Moritz von Schwind.

Novalis. By Eduard Eichens.

The Queen of Night. By Moritz von Schwind.

Friedrich Hoelderlin. By E. Hader.

Ludwig Tieck. By Vogel von Vogelstein.

Puss in Boots. By Moritz von Schwind.

Dance of the Elves. By Moritz von Schwind.

Heinrich von Kleist.

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

The Royal Castle at Berlin.

Statue of the Great Elector. By Andreas Schlueter.


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



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Author of Modern German Literature.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


From The Life of Quintus Fixlein (1796)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


From Titan (1800)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


From the Flegeljahre (1804)



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the reading of it was continued.


* * * * *


From the Introduction to the Correspondence of Schiller and W. von Humboldt (1830)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Professor of the German Language and Literature, Northwestern University.

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

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

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

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

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