It comforts me greatly that you have been pleased with my Natural Daughter, for though at times I long remain silent toward my absent friends, my desire is, nevertheless, suddenly to resume relations with them through that which I have toiled over in silence. Unfortunately, I have given up this play, and do not know when I shall be able to resume work on it.
Have you seen the twenty lyric poems which have been published by me in my Annual of this year? Among them are some that ought not to displease you. Do not render like for like, but write me soon. Communicate to me many observations on lands, nations, men, and languages, which are so instructive and so stimulating. Do not delay, moreover, to give me some information regarding your own health and that of your dear wife.
Weimar, July 30, 1804.
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GOETHE TO WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT
August 31, 1812.
Faithful to its nature, Teplitz continues to be, esteemed friend, unfavorable to our coming together. This inconvenience is doubly vexatious to me now that, after your departure from Karlsbad, I deliberately thought over the value of your presence, and wished to continue our interviews. I was especially grieved that your beautiful presentation of the manner in which languages received their expansion over the world was not completely drawn up, although the most of it remained with me. If you wish to give me a real proof of friendship, have the kindness to write out for me such an abstract, and I shall have a hemispherical map colored for myself accordingly and add it to Lesage’s Atlas, since, in view of my residence abroad for so much of the year, I am compelled to think more and more of my general need of a compendious and tabulated traveling library. Thus, with the assistance of Aulic Councillor Meyer, the history of the plastic arts and of painting is now being written on the margin of Bredow’s Tabellen, and thus in a very large number of cases your linguistic map will help to refresh my memory and serve as a guide in much of my reading.
I would gladly have spoken with you in detail regarding Berlin and all that which, according to your previous preparations and suggestions, is going on there. Great cities always contain within themselves the image of whole empires, and even though distorted by exaggerations which degenerate into caricature, they nevertheless present the nation in concentrated form to the eye.