Here, now, appear the manifold relations between the conscious and the unconscious. Imagine a musical talent that is to compose an important score; consciousness and unconsciousness will be related like the warp and the woof, a simile that I am so fond of using. Through practice, teaching, reflection, failure, furtherance, opposition, and renewed reflection the organs of man unconsciously unite, in a free activity, the acquired and the innate, so that this process creates a unity which sets the world in amaze. This generalization may serve as a speedy reply to your query and as an explanation of the note that is herewith returned.
Over sixty years have passed since, in my youth, the conception of Faust lay before me clear from the first, although the entire sequence was present in less detailed form. Now, I have always kept my purpose in the back of my mind and I have elaborated only the passages that were of special interest to me, so that gaps remain in the second part which are to be connected with the remainder through the agency of a uniform interest. Here, I must admit, appeared the great difficulty of attaining through resolution and character what should properly belong only to a nature voluntarily active. It would, however, not have been well had this not been feasible after so long a life of active reflection, and I let no fear assail me that it may be possible to distinguish the older from the newer, and the later from the earlier; which point, then, we shall intrust to future readers for their friendly examination.
Beyond all question it will give me infinite pleasure to dedicate and communicate these very serious jests to my valued, ever thankfully recognized, and widely scattered friends while still living, and to receive their reply. But, as a matter of fact, the age is so absurd and so insane that I am convinced that the candid efforts which I have long expended upon this unusual structure would be ill rewarded, and that, driven ashore, they will lie like a wreck in ruins and speedily be covered over by the sand-dunes of time. In theory and practice, confusion rules the world, and I have no more urgent task than to augment, wherever possible, what is and has remained within me, and to redistill my peculiarities, as you also, worthy friend, surely also do in your castle.
But do you likewise tell me something about your work. Riemer is, as you doubtless know, absorbed in the same and similar studies, and our evening conversations often lead to the confines of this specialty. Forgive this delayed letter! Despite my retirement, there is seldom an hour when these mysteries of life may be realized.
GOETHE’S CORRESPONDENCE WITH ZELTER
TRANSLATED BY FRANCES H. KING
Weimar, July 28, 1803.
I have followed you so often in my thoughts that unfortunately I have neglected to do so in writing. Just a few lines today, to accompany the inclosed page. Of Mozart’s Biography I have heard nothing further, but I will inquire about it and also about the author. Your beautiful Queen made many happy while on her journey, and no one happier than my mother; nothing could have caused her greater joy in her declining years.