Very recently there has reached my hermitage the portrayal of the very active life of a man of the world, which highly entertains me—the journal of Duke Bernhard of Weimar, who left Ghent in April, 1825, and who returned to us only a short time past. It is written uninterruptedly, and since his station, his mode of thought, and his demeanor introduced him to the highest circles of society, and since he was at ease among the middle classes and did not disdain the most humble, his reader is very agreeably conducted through most diverse situations, which, for me at least, it was highly important to survey directly.
Now, however, I must assure you that the outline which you have sent is extremely profitable to Riemer and myself, and has given a most admirable opportunity for discussions on linguistics and philosophy. I am by no means averse to the literature of India, but I am afraid of it; for it draws my imaginative power towards the formless and the deformed, against which I am forced to guard myself more than ever; but if it comes over the signature of a valued friend, it will always be welcome, for it gives me the desired opportunity to converse with him on what interests him, and what must certainly be of importance.
Now, as I prepare to close, I simply say that I am engaged in combining and uniting the scattered Wanderings of Wilhelm Meister, in its old and new portions, as two volumes. While engaged in which task nothing could give me greater delight than to welcome the chief of wanderers, your highly esteemed brother, to our house, and to learn directly of his ceaseless activity; nor do I fail to express my hearty wishes to your dear wife for the best results from the cure which she is seeking in such lofty regions.
And so, for ever and ever, in truest sympathy, GOETHE.
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GOETHE TO WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT
October 19, 1830.
How often during these weeks, my dear and honored friend, have I sought refuge at your side, again taken out your magnificent letters, and found refreshment in them!
As almost in an instant the earthquake of Lisbon caused its influences to be felt in the remotest lakes and springs, so we also have been shaken directly by that western explosion, as was the case forty years ago.
How comforting it must have been for me in such moments to take up your priceless letters, you yourself will feel and graciously express. Through a decided antithesis I was carried back to those times when we felt mutually pledged to procure a preliminary culture, when, united with our great and noble friend, we strove after concrete truths, and most faithfully and diligently sought to attain all that was most beautiful and sublime in the world about us, for the edification of our willing, yearning spirits, and to fill to its full an atmosphere which required substance and contents.