The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03.
This is the tribute of a partial friend, but it describes very well the impression produced by Schiller’s writings.  His love of freedom and beauty, his confidence in reason, his devotion to the idea of humanity, seem to exhale from his work and to invest it with a peculiar distinction.  His plays and poems are a priceless memento to the spirit of a great and memorable epoch.  Hundreds of writers have said their say about him, but no better word has been spoken than the noble tribute of Goethe: 

  For he was ours.  So let the note of pride
  Hush into silence all the mourner’s ruth;
  In our safe harbor he was fain to bide
  And build for aye, after the storm of youth. 
  We saw his mighty spirit onward stride
  To eternal realms of Beauty and of Truth;
  While far behind him lay fantasmally
  The vulgar things that fetter you and me.

* * * * *

FOOTNOTES: 

[Footnote 1:  Translated by Edward, Lord Lytton.]

[Footnote 2:  This Sonnet, by the author of this sketch of Schiller’s life, was written for the Chicago Schiller Celebration of 1905, but has not been printed before.  EDITOR.]

* * * * *

POEMS

[All poems in this section are translations by Edward, Lord Lytton, and appear by permission of George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., London.]

* * * * *

TO THE IDEAL (1795)

  Then wilt thou, with thy fancies holy—­
       Wilt thou, faithless, fly from me? 
     With thy joy, thy melancholy,
       Wilt thou thus relentless flee? 
     O Golden Time, O Human May,
       Can nothing, Fleet One, thee restraint? 
  Must thy sweet river glide away
  Into the eternal Ocean Main?

  The suns serene are lost and vanish’d
    That wont the path of youth to gild,
  And all the fair Ideals banish’d
    From that wild heart they whilome fill’d. 
  Gone the divine and sweet believing
    In dreams which Heaven itself unfurl’d! 
  What godlike shapes have years bereaving
    Swept from this real work-day world!

  As once, with tearful passion fired,
    The Cyprian Sculptor clasp’d the stone,
  Till the cold cheeks, delight-inspired,
    Blush’d—­to sweet life the marble grown: 
  So youth’s desire for Nature!—­round
    The Statue so my arms I wreathed,
  Till warmth and life in mine it found,
    And breath that poets breathe—­it breathed;

  With my own burning thoughts it burn’d;—­
    Its silence stirr’d to speech divine;—­
  Its lips my glowing kiss return’d—­
    Its heart in beating answer’d mine! 
  How fair was then the flower—­the tree!—­
    How silver-sweet the fountain’s fall! 
  The soulless had a soul to me! 
    My life its own life lent to all!

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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