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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 431 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06.
reliability of his common sense.  It was no play upon words, but the expression of conviction when he wrote, in 1836:  “Poetry is incorporation of the spirit, spiritualization of the body, feeling of the understanding, and thought of the feeling.”  In its comprehensive appeal to all of these faculties a work of art commends itself and carries its meaning through its existence as an objective reality, like the phenomena of nature herself.  A comprehensive sensitiveness to such an appeal, whether of art or of nature, was Grillparzer’s ideal of individual nature and culture.  He thought the North Germans had cultivated their understanding at the expense of their feeling, and had thereby impaired their esthetic sense.  He thought the active life in general inevitably destroyed the harmony of the faculties and substituted an extrinsic for an intrinsic good.  In the mad rush of our own time after material wealth and power we may profitably contemplate the picture which Grillparzer drew of himself in the following characteristic verses: 

THE ANGLER

  Below lies the lake hushed and tranquil,
    And I sit here with idle hands,
  And gaze at the frolicking fishes
    Which glide to and fro o’er the sands.

  They come, and they go, and they tarry;
    But if I now venture a cast,
  Of a sudden the playground is empty,
    As my basket remains to the last.

  Mayhap if I stirred up the water,
    My angling might lure the shy prey. 
  But then I must also give over
    The sight of the fishes at play.

[Illustration:  THE GRILLPARZER MONUMENT AT VIENNA.]

FRANZ GRILLPARZER

* * * * *

MEDEA

A TRAGEDY IN FIVE ACTS

  DRAMATIS PERSONAE

  CREON, King of Corinth

  CREUSA, his daughter

  JASON

  MEDEA

  GORA, Medea’s aged nurse

  A herald of the Amphictyons

  A peasant

  Medea’s children

  Slaves and slave-women, attendants of
      the King, etc.

MEDEA (1822)

TRANSLATED BY THEODORE A. MILLER, PH.D.

ACT I

Before the walls of Corinth.  At the left, halfway up stage, a tent is pitched; in the background lies the sea, with a point of land jutting out into it, on which is built a part of the city.  The time is early morning, before daybreak; it is still dark.

At the right in the foreground a slave is seen standing in a pit digging and throwing up shovelfuls of earth; on the opposite side of the pit stands MEDEA, before a black chest which is strangely decorated with gold; in this chest she keeps laying various utensils during the following dialogue.

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