Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

W

HEN

soon cemented an enduring friendship. hill which rose from the opposite bank, Schiller determined to make Weimar | lay small villages and the houses of his future residence. “You know the the peasantry. The hours here spent men," he writes, “ of whom Germany were perhaps the pleasantest in the is proud ; a Herder, a Wieland, with somewhat turbulent course of Schiller's their brethren; and one wall encloses life. His sister, in speaking of them, me and them. What excellencies are says, "How welcome was it after in Weimar! In this city, at least in some tedious visit, to see our genial this territory, I mean to settle for life, friend approaching beneath the fair and at length, once more, get a coun- trees that skirt the banks of the Saale. try." In October Schiller made an ex- | A forest brook, that pours itself into cursion to Meiningen, to visit his sister, that river, and was crossed by a little then just married to Reinwald. Here bridge, was the meeting place at which he met his old friend Madame von we awaited. When we beheld him in Wolzogen, and her son Wilhelm. With the twilight coming towards us, a them he returned towards Weimar. serener, an ideal life entered within They halted at Rudolstadt. This halt us; a lofty earnestness, and the graceis a memorable passage in the life of | ful ease of a mind pure and candid, our poet. He here met Charlotte von ever animated Schiller's conversation. Lengefeld ; and once more, not this One seemed, as one heard him talk, to time without result, his affections were wander as it were between the immuenchained. Charlotte was highly pre- table Stars of Heaven, and yet amidst possessing, and her mind was enriched the flowers of earth.' by true culture. According to her Schiller returned to Weimar in sister, who is the author of a charming November, occupying himself with biography of Schiller, “The expression literary matters. The letters upon of the purest goodness of heart ani- “Don Carlos," "The Artists,” and the mated her features ; and her eye conclusion of the “Ghost Seer,” are beamed only truth and innocence." |dated about this period. The publiOn his departure from the home of cation of portions of the “Revolt of the Lengefelas, Schiller had already the Netherlands” in Wieland's “Merconceived the idea of spending the cury," now gave rise to the wish next summer at Rudolstadt. Fortune among many of his friends to have favoured this attachment: that very | Schiller appointed to the Professorship winter Charlotte came to Weimar on of History in the University of Jena, a visit to a friend of her family, and a chair which was just then vacant by Schiller had frequent opportunities of the departure of Eickhorn. To this meeting her. He supplied her with desire, seconded by Voigt, the chaplain his favourite authors; and she under- of the court, Göethe gave the weight took to find him a lodging at Rudol- of his influence. Schiller was accordstadt for the sunimer. On her de- ingly called to the post. He went to parture this commission gave occasion Sena in 1789. His reception there for an interchange of letters. In this was enthusiastic in the extreme. Four correspondence "there breathes," says hundred students crowded the hall, one of his biographers, "a noble, mild, and their applause filled the new and discreet inclination, without a trace of somewhat reluctant professor with passion;" and adds,—“ Our love is confidence. generally the effigy of the one we love. I Schiller's wanderings were now over; Schiller's present love was the gold and at last, after a severe probation, purified from the sensual passion he could repose securely on that haven which had mastered him at Dresden.” of man's rest and joy--domestic bliss.

In May, in the following year, we In the February following his settlefind Schiller at Rudolstadt. He lodged ment at Jena, he was united in marin a small house in the village of riage to Charlotte von Lengefeld. A Folkstädt, about half an hour's walk few months after this event, he writes from the town. From his chamber to a friend as follows: window he overlooked the banks of “Life is quite a different thing by the Saale, which flowed through the the side of a beloved wife, than so meadows under the shade of noble forsaken and alone, even in summer. trees. High above towered the castle Beautiful, nature ! I now for the first of Rudolstadt, and at the foot of the time fully enjoy it,- live in it. The world again clothes itself around me | antagonistic poets at last met beneath in poetic forms; old feelings are again one roof, although, as was not to be awakening in my breast. What a life wondered at, there was no lavish exI am leading here! I look with a penditure of cordiality between them. glad mind around me; my heart finds Soon after this interview Schiller à perennial contentment without it; thus writes :“On the whole, this my spirit so fine, so refreshing a personal meeting has not at all diminourishmeut. My existence is settled nished the idea, great as it was, which in harmonious composure ; not strained I had previously formed of Goethe ; and impassioned, but peaceful and but I doubt whether we shall ever clear. I look to my future destiny come into any close communication with a cheerful heart ; now when with each other. Much that still standing at the wished-for goal, I interests me has already had its epoch wonder with myself how it all has | with him. His whole nature is from happened, so far beyond my expecta | its very origin, otherwise constructed tions. Fate has conquered the diffi than mine ; his world is not my world ; culties for me ; it has, I may say, our modes of conceiving things appear forced me to the mark. From the to be essentially different. From such future I expect everything. A few a combination, no secure, substantial years, and I shall live in the full intimacy can result. Time will try.” enjoyment of my spirit; nay, I think By degrees, however, as the true chamy very youth will be renewed ; an racter of each unfolded itself to the inward poetic life will give it me again.” other, this feeling of mutual antipathy

Some while ere this, in the house of wore away ; and there did ensue, after the Lengefeld's, Schiller, for the first all, a “secure, substantial intimacy.” time, had met Göethe. With Schiller's between them. They ultimately came early writings Göethe had little sym- to pass much of their time in each pathy. The “Robbers” he hated, others' company, and to co-operate because, as he said, the very paradoxes, cordially in many literary undertakmoral and dramatic, from which he ings; the very contrast of their mental was struggling to get liberated, had tendencies giving their intercourse a been laid hold of by a powerful but peculiar charm. They soon became immature genius, and poured in a necessary to each others' intellectual boundless vehement flood over the life; and their friendship, once firmly whole land. What exasperated him established, was only interrupted by still more was, that his most intimate Schiller's death. friends, those to whom he looked for The parallel between these two disthorough and unwavering sympathy tinguished men has long formed a with his own artistic completeness, tournay ground for all German scholars seemed in danger of the contagion. to break lances on. “Whether is “Had it been possible,” he wrote, “I Schiller or Goethe the greater poet ?would have abandoned the study of is a question which has been oftener creative art, and the practice of poetry asked or answered than any other in entirely ; for where was the prospect connection with German literature. It of surpassing those performances of is true that no proper comparison can genial worth and wild form, in the be instituted between them; their qualities which recommend them ?” difference being one of kind, and not From this cause, as he thus himself of degree ; and all measurement of acknowledges, he kept aloof from the one by the (standard of the other Schiller. “It happened about this being therefore a manifest injustice to time that Moritz returned from Italy, both. Nevertheless, the true relationand staid with me awhile, during ship between these Titans of literature, which he violently cofirmed himself whose lives were thrown together in and me in these persuasions. I avoided one sphere of activity, wilī always Schiller, who was now in Weimar, in remain an interesting problem for the my neighbourhood. The appearance studious. Perhaps the best solution of of “Don Carlos” was not calculated to it hitherto given to the world, is that approximate us ; the attempt of our by Gervinus, in his “ History of Gercommon friends I resisted ; and thus man Literature.* we continued to go on our way apart.” Nevertheless, as we have seen, the two | * Gesck, a Poeteschen National-Literatur.

The finest gold has its alloy; and your health, you desire to enter the Schiller's newly acquired domestic hap-service of our state, it would be easy piness came to him not without its for us to gratify such an inclination. drawbacks. A fell enemy soon dis- / Yet," they continue," think us not so turbed the welcome repose into which selfish as to make such a change in his life had been led. * Bodily disease your residence a condition ; we leave had taken root in a constitution never our suggestion to your free choice ; we strong, but which had been rendered desire to preserve to humanity its weaker by the absence of that prudent instructor, and to this desire every carefulnes which should have restrained | other consideratiou is subordinate." our poet within the limits which nature | Nothing but Schiller's increasing illprescribes, as the proper bounds of all health, and the declaration of his phyhuman activity. “A disorder in the sicians, that the visit, to so northern a chest took violent hold of him; and climate would be fatal, could have though he recovered from its imme- prevented him from at once responding diate effects, the ever-vital seeds of to such an invitation. In a letter to disease were left behind,-he never Baggesen, the gratitude with which afterwards wholly recovered his this offer had filled him is expressed strength. Indeed at this period, a in manly terms. From it too we gain report of his death was spread abroad some glimpses into Schiller's views throughout Germany. ... In Denmark, respecting the vocation which he had a circle of the poet's friends had chosen for his own, which show how resolved to repair to Hellebeck--there, unwilling he was to have it degraded surrounded by the enchanting beauties not in his own case merely, but in of the scenery, to hold a court to his any--into the mere brain-drudgery of honour, and to chant, the Hymn to Joy, / the bread-scholar. when the report reached Copenhagen, “From the cradle of my intellect till and changed their joyous festivities in now, have I struggled with fate ; and honour of the living poet to a mourn- since I knew how to prize intellectual ful solemnity in celebration of his death. | liberty, I have been condemned to want The friends, among whom were the it. A rash step, ten years since, poe: Baggesen, the Count Ernest von divided me from any other practical Schimmelmann, the Prince Christian livelihood but that of a writer. I had von Holstein Augustenberg, and his given myself to this calling, before I princess, met, as was arranged, on the had made proof of its demands, or sea shore, opposite the high rocks of surveyed its difficulties. The necessity Sweden. Two additional stanzas, in for pursuing it befell me before I was honour of the supposed death, were fitted for it by knowledge and intellecchanted ; musical instruments added to tual maturity. That I felt this--that the harmony; an intense feeling of so- | I did not bound any ideal of an ideal lemnity pervaded the whole assembly; of an author's duty to those narrow and as the song ceased, all eyes were limits within which I was confined-I bathed in tears. Such was the sym- recognise as a favour of Heaven ... As pathy even amongst the high-born and unripe and far below that ideal which illustrious of a foreign nation for our lived within me, I beheld all which I worthy poet.

gave to the world.” With feeling and No sooner was the report contra with modesty Schiller proceeded to dicted, than the mourners hastened to enlarge upon the conflict between the express their admiration of Schiller, circumstances and his aspirations .... by conferring upon him benefits of a to touch upon the melancholy with more tangible nature. He received which he was saddened by the contemfrom the Count von Schimmelmann, plation of the great masterpieces of and the Prince von Augustenberg, a art, ripened only to their perfection by letter, written in the terms of the ut- that happy leisure denied to him. most delicacy, requesting his acceptance “What had I not given," he exclaims, of an annual gift, for three years, of a “ for two or three years; that free from thousand dollars. This communication all the toils of an author, I could render also contained an invitation to Den- | myself only to the study, the cultivamark :-“For we are not the only ones | tion of my conception---the ripening here,” they write," who know and love of my ideal.' He proceeds to observe you; and if after the restoration of that, in the German literary world, a

man could not unite the labour for were warmly welcomed. At Heidelsubsistence with compliance with the berg, not unmoved, Schiler saw once demands of lofty art; that. for ten more the object of his early passion, years, he had struggled to unite both; Margaret Schwan. “Like all noblé and, that to make the union only in and manly natures,” says Madame some measure possible, had cost him Von Wolzogen, “ Schiller ever retained his health ... In a moment, when an affectionaté remembrance of the life began to display its whole value woman who had inspired him with when I was about to knit a gentle bond tender emotion. These recollections between the reason and the phantasy moved him always, but he rarely spoke - when I girded myself to a new enter- of them.” The wanderer was reunited prise in the service of art, death drew to his long-separated family in August, near. The danger indeed passed 1793. Schiller visited Ludwigsburg, away; but I waked only to an altered and resided for a time in the immelife, to renew, with slackened strength diate neighbourhood of his father's and diminished hopes, my war with house; and it was here that he first . fate. So the letter received from became a father. Denmark found me! I attain at last I Having now brought on our narrathe intellectual liberty, so long and so tive to the culminating point of eagerly desired. ... I win leisure, and Schiller's life-history—the period at through leisure, I may perhaps recover which he obtained the goal of his my lost health ; if not, at least for the youth's ardent hope--we must glance future, the trouble of my mind will rapidly over many passages of interest, not "give nourishment to disease. If and draw near the final close. Those my lot does not permit me to confer passages are interesting to us more, beneficence in the same manner as my | perhaps, from their own nature than benefactors, at least, I will seek it, from their forming part of our poet's where alone it is in my power; and biography. Schiller's scholarship in make that seed which they scatter un the universal school was longer than fold itself in me, to a fairer blossom for that of most men ; and, indeed, indivihumanity. And he did so."

dually, he may be said never to have In the intervals of sickness he seen the horizon of his endeavour and devoted the leisure which was now of his hope. But to us, who know not accorded him to the study of Kant. the secrets of his inner life, his history To what extent the system of the phi- | henceforth is clothed in a tranquil unilosopher of Königsberg moulded his formity. It is not now progress, but thoughts, and influenced his later writ- rather repose. Schiller's literary laings, is a question we cannot here enter bours were continued with interrupinto. He appears to have appropriated tion. The “Horen," a monthly jourhis fundamental doctrines; the lofty nal, was commenced, and in this spiritualism and ethic grandeur of the undertaking were associated with his transcendental philosophy seems to the greatest names of Germany, have found a deep response in his in Goethe, Herder, Jacobi, Matthison, most heart; and from that period, we &c. In the “Musen almanach," of are told, “a catholic, all-mild, all-com- which he was appointed chief editor, prehensive religion surrounds his appeared some of his finest thoughts, writings as with a lucid atmosphere, either in poetry or prose ; and meanand his craving for the serene ideal life while “Wallenstein” was progressing. loses itself in the Christian's heaven." In the midst of these occupations he

In the month of June, 1792, Schiller, had the misfortune to lose, both in the accompanied by his wife, went to Dres same year, his father and youngest den, on a visit to Korner. In the sister. Some time after, too, his course of this journey they met Schil mother also died. “Ah, dear sister," ler's mother and his youngest sister, he wrote, “so both the beloved parents Nannette, whom he had not seen for are gone from us, and the oldest bond many years. He determined, if his that fastened us to life is rent! Olet health and circumstances allowed, to us, we three, including his other return the following year to his sister,) alone surviving of our father's Suabian home. In the summer fol- house, let us cling yet closer to each lowing the Schillers made an excursion other; forget not that thou hast a lovto the poet's fatherland, where they ing brother I remember vividly the

hear,

days of our youth, when we were all away in search of other lands, looking in all to each other. From that early with unutterable desire for some surer existence our fate has divided us; but and brighter home beyond the horizon attachment, confidence, remain un of this world. Death he had no reachanged - unchangable.” About this son to regard as probably a near time (1797) he purchased a garden, a event, but we easily perceive that the little to the south-west of Jena, on the awful secrets connected with it had banks of the beloved Saale. The site long been familiar to his contemplacommanded a beautiful prospect of the tion. The veil which hid them from valley and the pine-covered sides of his eyes was now shortly, when he the neighbouring mountains.

looked not for it, to be rent asunder.” There, deck'd he the fair garden watch

At length, in the spring of 1805, tower; whence

after many warnings, Schiller was Listening he loved the voice of stars to

stricken with his final illness. It was

not long after its commencement that Which to the no less ever-living sense it became palpable that his death was Made music, mystic, yet through mys- | near. In vain physicians; in vain the tery clear."*

anxious offices of affection; in vain the

ardent desire of still prolonged actiHere he wrote and studied during the

vity-nothing could stay the progress summon months of 1797 and 1798. In

of the disease ; no human power arrest the following year “ Wallenstein" was brought out.

the fatal blow. The attack commenced The highest critics

on the 28th of April. On the 7th of May spoke and wrote warmly in its praise.

he wished to converse with his sister “This work," said Tieck,“ at once rich

on the subject of his unfinished traand profound, is a monument for all times, of which Germany may be

gedy of “Demetrius.” She begged proud ; and a national feeling-a na

him not to disturb himself with such tive sentiment-is reflected from this

thoughts, but to keep quiet. “ True," pure mirror, yielding us a higher sense

he answered with pathos, “now when

no one understands me, and I no more of what we are, and what we were ;" and Goethe, long after its publication,

understand myself, it is better that I

should be silent.”' Before this, on the compared it to " a wine which wins the

subject of his probable decease, he had taste in proportion to its age." The following years were signalised

said, “ Death can be no evil, for it is by the publication of “Marie Stuart,"

universal.” On the 9th his disorder “The Maid of Orleans,” and “ Wilhelm

reached a crisis ; he grew insensible, Tell,--the two latter'works in which

and even delirious. This, however, the poet's highest characteristics are

happily did not continue. “ The fiery clothed in the noblest forms. Besides

canopy of physical suffering, which

had bewildered and blinded his thinkthese, and sundry minor compositions,

ing faculties, was drawn aside ; and Schiller also executed several transla

the spirit of Schiller looked forth in tions from the French and Italian. But, according to his biographer, his

in its wonted serenity, once again bemind was long and earnestly en

fore it passed away for ever. Restored gaged at this period with the most

to consciousness, in that hour when the solemn of ideas. “The universe of

soul is cut off from human help, and human thought he had now explored

man must front the King of Terrors and enjoyed; but he seems to

on his own strength, Schiller did not

faint or fail in this his last and sharpest have found no permanent contentment

trial. Feeling that his end was come, in any of its provinces. Many of his

he addressed himself to meet it as belater poems indicate an incessant and increasing longing for some solution of

came him ; not with affected carelessthe mystery of life ; at times it is a

ness or superstitious fear, but with the gloomy resignation to the want and

quiet unpretending manliness which the despair of any. His ardent spirit

had marked the tenor of his life. Of could not satisfy itself with things

his friends and family he took a touch

ing but a tranquil farewell; he ordered seen, though gilded with all the glories of intellect and imagination ; it soared

that his funeral should be private,

without pomp or parade. Some one * Goethe. Prologue to the “ Lay of the inquiring how he felt, he said “ Calmer Bell."

and calmer ;" simple but memorable

« НазадПродовжити »