The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 eBook

The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05

The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.

(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
ILLUSTRATIONS—­VOLUME V1
TRANSLATED BY GEORGE RIPLEY13
THE DESTINY OF MAN (1800)21
BOOK III:  FAITH21
I22
II26
III32
IV37
ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION48
ADDRESS EIGHT48
ADDRESS FOURTEEN60
ON THE RELATION OF THE PLASTIC ARTS TO NATURE (1807)73
TRANSLATED BY J. ELLIOT CABOT73
LATER GERMAN ROMANTICISM93
WERE I A LITTLE BIRD112
THE MOUNTAINEER112
THE SWISS DESERTER113
THE REAPER114
FAIRY TALES[8] (1812)115
THE FROG-KING, OR IRON HENRY115
THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN LITTLE KIDS117
RAPUNZEL119
HAENSEL AND GRETHEL122
THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE127
FROM THE LIFE OF A GOOD-FOR-NOTHING (1826)148
CHAPTER I148
CHAPTER II153
CHAPTER III161
CHAPTER IV169
CHAPTER V172
CHAPTER VI175
CHAPTER VII181
CHAPTER VIII184
CHAPTER IX191
CHAPTER X197
ADALBERT VON CHAMISSO203
THE WONDERFUL HISTORY OF PETER SCHLEMIHL (1814)212
CHAPTER I212
CHAPTER II216
CHAPTER III220
CHAPTER IV222
CHAPTER V229
CHAPTER VI233
CHAPTER VII236
CHAPTER VIII239
CHAPTER IX243
CHAPTER X246
CHAPTER XI247
ERNST THEODOR AMADEUS HOFFMANN250
TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC H. HEDGE250
SECOND VIGIL254
SIXTH VIGIL260
EIGHTH VIGIL266
NINTH VIGIL272
TENTH VIGIL278
ELEVENTH VIGIL283
TWELFTH VIGIL287
SELECTIONS FROM UNDINE[46] (1811)291
CHAPTER VIII291
CHAPTER XIII294
CHAPTER XIV299
CHAPTER XV303
FRIEDRICH RUeCKERT306
FOOTNOTES: 313

Page 1

ILLUSTRATIONS—­VOLUME V

  Heidelberg
  Friedrich Schleiermacher.  By E. Hader
  The Three Hermits.  By Moritz von Schwind
  Johann Gottlieb Fichte.  By Bury
  Volunteers of 1813 before King Friedrich Wilhelm III in Breslau.  By F.W.  Scholtz
  Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling.  By Carl Begas
  The Jungfrau.  By Moritz von Schwind
  The Magic Horn.  By Moritz von Schwind
  Ludwig Achim von Arnim.  By Stroehling
  Clemens Brentano.  By E. Linder
  The Reaper.  By Walter Crane
  Wilhelm Grimm.  By E. Hader
  Jacob Grimm.  By E. Hader
  Haensel and Gretel.  By Ludwig Richter
  Ernst Moritz Arndt.  By Julius Roeting
  Theodor Koerner.  By E. Hader
  Maximilian Gottfried von Schenkendorf
  Ludwig Uhland.  By C. Jaeger
  The Villa by the Sea.  By Arnold Boecklin
  Leaving at Dawn.  By Moritz von Schwind
  Joseph von Eichendorff.  By Franz Kugler
  Adalbert von Chamisso.  By C. Jaeger
  The Wedding Journey.  By Moritz von Schwind
  Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hofmann.  By Hensel
  Friedrich Baron de la Motte-Fouque
  Wilhelm Hauff.  By E. Hader
  The Sentinel.  By Robert Haug
  Friedrich Rueckert.  By C. Jaeger
  Memories of Youth.  By Ludwig Richter
  August Graf von Platen-Hallermund
  The Morning Hour.  By Moritz von Schwind

THE ROMANTIC PHILOSOPHERS—­FICHTE, SCHELLING, AND SCHLEIERMACHER

By Frank Thilly, Ph.D., LL.D.  Professor of Philosophy, Cornell University

The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century had implicit faith in the powers of human reason to reach the truth.  With its logical-mathematical method it endeavored to illuminate every nook and corner of knowledge, to remove all obscurity, mystery, bigotry, and superstition, to find a reason for everything under the sun.  Nature, religion, the State, law, morality, language, and art were brought under the searchlight of reason and reduced to simple and self-evident principles.  Human institutions were measured according to their reasonableness; whatever was not rational had no raison d’etre; to demolish the natural and historical in order to make room for the rational became the practical ideal of the day.  Enlightenment emphasized the worth and dignity of the human individual, it sought to deliver him from the slavery of authority and tradition, to make him self-reliant in thought and action, to obtain for him his natural rights, to secure his happiness and perfection in a world expressly made for him, and to guarantee the continuance of his personal existence in the life to come.  In Germany this great movement found expression in a popular commonsense philosophy which proved the existence of God, freedom, and immortality, and conceived the universe as a rational order designed by an all-wise and all-good Creator for the benefit of man, his highest product; while other thinkers regarded

Page 2

Spinozism as the only rational system, indeed as the last word of all speculative metaphysics; for them logical thought necessarily led to pantheism and determinism.  In France, after reaching its climax in Voltaire, it ended in materialism, atheism, and fatalism; and in England, where it had developed the empiricism of Locke, it came to grief in the scepticism of Hume.  If we can know only our impressions, then rational theology, cosmology, and psychology are impossible, and it is futile to philosophize about God, the world, and the human soul.  Consistently carried out, the logical-mathematical method seemed to land the intellect in Spinozism or in materialism—­in either case to catch man in the causal machinery of nature.  In this dilemma many were tempted to throw reason overboard as an instrument of ultimate truth, and to seek for certainty through other functions of the human soul—­in feeling, faith, or mystical vision of some sort; the claims of the heart and will were urged against the proud pretensions of the intellect (Hamann, Herder, Jacobi).  Another way of escape was found by substituting the organic conception of reality for the logical-mathematical view of the Aufklaerung; nature and life, poetry, art, language, political, social, and religious institutions are not creations of reason, not things made to order, but organic—­products of evolution (Lessing, Herder, Winckelmann, Goethe).  Man, himself, moreover, is not mere intellect, but a being in whom feelings, impulses, yearnings, will, are elements to be reckoned with.  And reality is not as transparent as the Enlightenment assumed it to be; existence divided by reason leaves a remainder, as Goethe had put it.

It was Immanuel Kant who tried to arbitrate between the conflicting tendencies of his age.  He was an Aufklaerer in so far as he brought reason itself to the bar of reason and sat in judgment upon its claims, and, likewise, in so far as he insisted on the objective validity of physics and mathematics.  But he was as much opposed to the pretentiousness of dogmatic metaphysics as to the pusillanimity of scepticism and the Schwaermerei of mysticism.  He repudiated the shallow proofs of the existence of God, freedom, and immortality no less emphatically than he rejected materialism with its atheism, fatalism, and hedonism.  He tried to save everything worth saving—­rational knowledge, modern science, the basal truths of the old metaphysics, and the most precious human values.  For the scientific intelligence, so he held, nature and the self are absolutely determined; every physical occurrence and every human act are necessary links in a causal chain.  But such knowledge is possible only in the field of phenomena (Erscheinungen); through sense-perception and the discursive understanding we cannot reach the inner core of reality; nor can we pierce the veil of appearances by means of intellectual intuitions, mystical visions, feeling, or faith, i.e.,

Page 3

through the emotional and instinctive parts of our nature.  It is the presence of the moral law or categorical imperative within us that points to a spiritual world beyond the phenomenal causal order and assures us of our freedom, immortality, and God.  It is because we possess this deeper source of truth in practical reason that freedom and an ideal kingdom in which purpose reigns are vouchsafed to us, and that we can free ourselves from the mechanism of the natural order.  It is moral truth that both sets us free and demonstrates our freedom, and that makes harmony possible between the mechanical theory of science and the teleological conception of philosophy.  The scientific understanding would plunge us into determinism and agnosticism; from these, faith in the moral law alone can deliver us.  In this sense Kant destroyed knowledge to make room for a rational faith in a supersensible world, to save the independence and dignity of the human self and the spiritual values of his people.  In claiming a place for the autonomous personality in what appeared to be a mechanical universe, Kant gave voice to some of the deeper yearnings of the age.  The German Enlightenment, the new humanism, mysticism, pietism, and the faith-philosophy were all interested in the human soul, and unwilling to sacrifice it to the demands of a rationalistic science or metaphysics.  In seeking to rescue it, the great criticist, piloted by the moral law, steered his course between the rocks of rationalism, sentimentalism, and scepticism.  It was his solution of the controversy between the head and the heart that influenced Fichte, Schelling, and Schleiermacher.  They differed from Kant and among themselves in many respects, but they all glorified the spirit, Geist, as the living, active element of reality, and they all rejected the intellect as the source of ultimate truth.  They followed him in his anti-intellectualism, but they did not avoid, as he did, the attractive doctrine of an inner intuition; according to them we can somehow grasp the supersensible in an inner experience which Fichte called intellectual, Schelling artistic, Schleiermacher religious.  The bankruptcy of the intelligence was overcome in their systems by the discovery of a faculty that revealed to them the living, dynamic nature of the universe.  They were all more or less influenced by the romantic currents of the times, seeking with Herder and Jacobi an approach to the heart of things other than through the categories of logic.  Like Lessing and Goethe, they were also attracted to the pantheistic teaching of Spinoza, though rejecting its rigid determinism so far as it might affect the human will.  They likewise accepted the idea of development which the leaders of German literature, Lessing, Herder, and Goethe, had already opposed to the unhistorical Aufklaerung, and which came to play such a prominent part in the great system of Hegel.

Page 4

Johann Gottlieb Fichte was born in Ramenau, Oberlausitz, May 19, 1762, the son of a poor weaver.  Through the generosity of a nobleman, the gifted lad was enabled to follow his intellectual bent; after attending the schools at Meissen and Schulpforta he studied theology at the universities of Jena, Leipzig, and Wittenberg with the purpose of entering the ministry.  His poverty frequently compelled him to interrupt his studies by accepting private tutorships in families, so that he never succeeded in preparing him self for the examinations.  In 1790 he became acquainted with Kant’s philosophy, which two students had asked him to expound to them, and to which he now devoted himself with feverish zeal.  It revolutionized his entire mode of thought and determined the course of his life.  The anonymous publication of his book, Attempt at a Critique of all Revelation, in 1792, written from the Kantian point of view and mistaken at first for a work of the great criticist, won him fame and a professorship at Jena (1794).  Here, in the intellectual centre of Germany, Fichte became the eloquent exponent of the new idealism, which aimed at the reform of life as well as of Wissenschaft; he not only taught philosophy, but preached it, as Kuno Fischer has aptly said.  During the Jena period he laid the foundations for his “Science of Knowledge” (Wissenschaftslehre) which he presented in numerous works:  The Conception of the Science of Knowledge, 1794; The Foundation of the Entire Science of Knowledge, 1794; The Foundation of Natural Rights, 1796; The System of Ethics, 1798—­(all these translated by Kroeger); the two Introductions to the Science of Knowledge, 1797 (trans. by Kroeger in Journal of Speculative Philosophy).  The appearance of an article Concerning the Ground of our Belief in a Divine World-Order, 1798, in which Fichte seemed to identify God with the moral world-order, brought down upon him the charge of atheism, against which he vigorously defended himself in his Appeal to the Public and a series of other writings.  Full of indignation over the attitude which his government assumed in the matter, be offered his resignation (1799) and removed to Berlin, where he presented his philosophical notions in popular public lectures and in writings which were characterized by clearness, force, and moral earnestness rather than by their systematic form.  There appeared:  The Vocation of Man, 1800 (translated by Dr. Smith); A Sun-Clear Statement concerning the Nature of the New Philosophy, 1801 (trans. by Kroeger in Journal of Speculative Philosophy); The Nature of the Scholar, 1806 (trans. by Smith); Characteristics of the Present Age, 1806 (trans. by Smith); The Way towards the Blessed Life, 1806 (trans. by Smith).  After the overthrow of Prussia by Napoleon, in 1806, Fichte fled from Berlin to Koenigsberg and Sweden, but returned when peace was declared in 1807, and delivered his celebrated Addresses to the German Nation, 1807-08, in which he sought to arouse the German people to a consciousness of their national mission and their duty even while the French army was still occupying the Prussian capital.

Page 5

Fichte was appointed professor of philosophy (1810) in the new University of Berlin, for which he had been invited to construct a plan and in the establishment of which he took a lively interest.  During the last period of his life he devoted himself to the development of his thoughts in systematic form and wrote a number of books; most of these were published after his death, which occurred January 27, 1814.  Among them we mention:  General Outline of the Science of Knowledge, 1810 (trans. by Smith); The Facts of Consciousness, 1813; Theory of the State, published 1820.  The Complete Works, edited by his son, J.H.  Fichte, appeared 1843-46.  New editions of particular works are now appearing.

The world for Fichte is at bottom a spiritual order, the revelation of a self-determining ego or reason; hence the science of the ego, or reason, the Wissenschaftslehre, is the key to all knowledge, and we can understand nature and man only when we have caught the secret of the self-active ego.  Philosophy must, therefore, be Wissenschaftslehre, for in it all natural and mental sciences find their ultimate roots; they can yield genuine knowledge only when and in so far as they are based on the principles of the Science of Knowledge—­mere empirical sciences having no real cognitive value.  The ego-principle itself, however, without which there could be no knowledge, cannot be grasped by the ordinary discursive understanding with its spatial, temporal, and causal categories.  Kant is right:  if we were limited to the scientific intellect, we could never rise above the conception of a phenomenal order absolutely ruled by the causal law.  But there is another source of knowledge:  in an act of inner vision or intellectual intuition, which is itself an act of freedom, we become conscious of the universal moral purpose; the law of duty or the categorical imperative commands us to be free persons.  We cannot refuse to accept this law without abandoning ourselves as persons, without conceiving ourselves as things, or mere products of nature; the choice of one’s philosophy, therefore, depends upon what kind of man one is—­upon one’s values, upon one’s will.  The type of man who is a slave of things, who cannot raise himself out of the causal mechanism, who is not free, will never be able to conceive himself otherwise than as a cog in a wheel.  Fichte accepts the ego, or spirit, as the ultimate and absolute principle, because it alone can give our life worth and meaning.  Thus he grounds his entire philosophy upon a moral imperative which presents itself to the ego in an inner vision.  He also tells us that we can become immediately aware of the pure activity of the ego, of our free action, in a similar act of intellectual intuition.  But we cannot know this free act unless we perform it ourselves; no one can understand the idealistic philosophy who is not free; hence philosophy begins with an act of freedom—­im Anfang war die Tat.

Page 6

In order that we may rise to free action, opposition is needed, and this we get in the spatial-temporal world of phenomena, or nature, which the ego creates for itself in order to have resistance to overcome.  Fichte conceives of nature as “the material of our duty,” as the obstacle against which the ego can exercise its freedom.  There could be no free action without something to act upon, and there could be no purposive action without a world in which everything happens according to law; and such a causal world we have in our phenomenal order, which is the product of the absolute spiritual principle.  By the ego Fichte did not mean the subjective ego, the particular individual self with all its idiosyncrasies, but the universal ego, the reason that manifests itself in all conscious individuals as universal and necessary truth.  In his earlier period he did not define his thought very carefully, but in time the absolute ego came to be conceived as the principle of all life and consciousness, as universal life, and ultimately identified with God.  His philosophy is, therefore, not subjective idealism, although it was so misinterpreted, but objective idealism; nature is not the creation of the particular individual ego, but the phenomenal expression, or reflection, in the subject of the universal spiritual principle.

Upon such an idealistic world-view Fichte based the ethical teachings through which he exercised a lasting influence upon the German people and the history of human thought.  The universal ego is a moral ego, an ego with an ethical purpose, that realizes itself in nature and in man; it is, therefore, the vocation of man to obey the voice of duty and to free himself from the bondage of nature, to be a person, not a thing, to cooeperate in the realization of the eternal purpose which is working itself out in the history of humanity, to sacrifice himself for the ideal of freedom.  Every individual has his particular place in which to labor for the social whole; how to do it, his conscience will tell him without fail.  And so, too, the German people has its peculiar place in civilization, its unique contribution to make in the struggle of the human race for the development of free personality.  It is Germany’s mission to regain its nationality, in order that it may take the philosophical leadership in the work of civilization, and to establish a State based upon personal liberty, a veritable kingdom of justice, such as has never appeared on earth, which shall realize freedom based upon the equality of all who bear the human form.

The Fichtean philosophy holds the mirror up to its age.  With the Enlightenment it glorifies reason, the free personality, nationality, humanity, civilization, and progress; in this regard it expresses the spirit of all modern philosophy.  It goes beyond the Aufklaerung in emphasizing the living, moving, developing nature of reality; for it, life and consciousness constitute the essence of things, and universal life reveals

Page 7

itself in a progressive history of mankind.  Moreover, the dynamic spiritual process cannot be comprehended by conceptual thought, by the categories of a rationalistic science and philosophy, but only by itself, by the living experience of a free agent.  In the categorical imperative, and not in logical reasonings, the individual becomes aware of his destiny; in the sense of duty, the love of truth, loyalty to country, respect for the rights of man, and reverence for ideals, spirit speaks to spirit and man glimpses the eternal.

Among the elements in this idealism that appealed to the Romanticists were its anti-intellectualism, its intuition, the high value it placed upon the personality, its historical viewpoint, and its faith in the uniqueness of German culture.  They welcomed the Wissenschaftslehre as a valuable ally, and exaggerated those features of it which seemed to chime with their own views.  The ego which Fichte conceives as universal reason becomes for them the subjective empirical self, the unique personality, in which the unconscious, spontaneous, impulsive, instinctive phase constitutes the original element, the more extravagant among them transforming the rational moral ego into a romantic ego, an ego full of mystery and caprice, and even a lawless ego.  Such an ego is read into nature; for, filled with occult magic forces, nature can be understood only by the sympathetic divining insight of the poetic genius.  And so, too, authority and tradition, as representing the instinctive and historical side of social life, come into their own again.

Fichte’s chief interest was centred upon the ego; nature he regarded as a product of the absolute ego in the individual consciousness, intended as a necessary obstacle for the free will.  Without opposition the self cannot act; without overcoming resistance it cannot become free.  In order to make free action possible, to enable the ego to realize its ends, nature must be what it is, an order ruled by the iron law of causality.  This cheerless conception of nature—­which, however, was not Fichte’s last word on the subject, since he afterward came to conceive it as the revelation of universal life, or the expression of a pantheistic God—­did not attract Romanticism.  It was Schelling, the erstwhile follower and admirer of Fichte, who turned his attention to the philosophy of nature and so more thoroughly satisfied the romantic yearnings of the age.

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling was born at Leonberg, Wuertemberg, January 27, 1775, the son of a learned clergyman and writer on theology.  He was a precocious child and made rapid progress in his studies, entering the Theological Seminary at Tuebingen at the age of fifteen.  Between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two he wrote a number of able treatises in the spirit of the new idealism, and was recognized as the most talented pupil of Fichte and his best interpreter.  After the completion of his course at the University

Page 8

(1795), he became the tutor and companion of two young noblemen with whom he remained for two years (1796-98) at the University of Leipzig, during which time he devoted himself to the study of mathematics, physics, and medicine, and published a number of philosophical articles.  In 1798 he received a call to a professorship at Jena, where Fichte, Schiller, Wilhelm Schlegel, and Hegel became his colleagues, and where he entered into friendly relations with the Romantic circle of which Caroline Schlegel, who afterward became his wife, was a shining light.  This was the most productive period of his life; during the next few years he developed his own system of philosophy and gave to the world his most brilliant writings.  In 1803 he accepted a professorship at Wuerzburg, but came into conflict with the authorities; in 1806 he went to Munich as a member of the Academy of Sciences and Director of the Academy of Fine Arts; in 1820 he moved to Erlangen; and in 1827 he returned to Munich as professor of philosophy at the newly-established University and as General Curator of the Scientific Collections of the State.  He was called to Berlin in 1841 to help counteract the influence of the Hegelian Philosophy, but met with little success.  He died in 1854.

The earlier writings of Schelling either reproduced the thoughts of the Wissenschaftslehre or developed them in the Fichtean spirit.  Among those of the latter class we note:  Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature, 1797; On the World-Soul, 1798; System of Transcendental Idealism, 1800.  During the second period, in which the influence of Bruno and Spinoza is prominent, he works out his own philosophy of identity; at this time he publishes Bruno, or, Concerning the Natural and Divine Principle of Things, 1802, and Method of Academic Study, 1803.  In the third period the philosophy of identity becomes the basis for a still higher system in which the influence of German theosophy (Jacob Boehme) is apparent; with the exception of Philosophy and Religion, 1804, the Treatise on Human Freedom, 1809, and a few others, the works of this period did not appear until after Schelling’s death.  His previous philosophy is now called by him “negative philosophy;” the higher or positive philosophy has as its aim the rational construction of the history of the universe, or the history of creation, upon the basis of the religious ideas of peoples; it is a philosophy of mythology and revelation.  Translations of some of Schelling’s works are to be found in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, an American periodical founded by W.T.  Harris, which devoted itself to the study of post-Kantian idealism.  His Complete Works, edited by his son, appeared in 14 volumes, 1856.  There is a revival of interest in his philosophy, and new editions of his books are now being published.

Page 9

Like most philosophers of note, Schelling reckons with the various tendencies of his times.  With idealism he interprets the universe as identical in essence with what we find in our innermost selves; it is at bottom a living dynamic process.  If that is so, nature cannot be a merely externalized obstacle for the ego, nor a dead static spatial mechanical system; as the expression of an active spiritual principle there must be reason and purpose in it.  But reason is not identified by Schelling with self-conscious intelligence, for with the faith-philosophies and Romanticism he takes it in a wider sense; in physical and organic nature it is a slumbering reason, an unconscious, instinctive, purposive force similar to the Leibnizian monad, Schopenhauer’s will, and Bergson’s elan vital.  In this way the dualism between mechanism and teleology is reconciled.  Nature is a teleological order, an evolution from the unconscious to the conscious; in man, the highest stage and the climax of history, nature becomes self-conscious.  With this organic conception both Romanticists and many natural scientists of the age were in practical agreement; it was the view that had always appealed to Goethe—­and Herder before him—­and it gained for Schelling a large following.  In his earlier system he regarded nature as a lower stage in the evolution of reason and sought to answer the problems:  How does Nature become Consciousness or Ego? the problem of the Philosophy of Nature; and, How does Consciousness or the Ego become Nature? the problem of Transcendental Idealism.  In his philosophy of identity, nature and mind are conceived as two different aspects of one and the same principle, which is both mind and nature, subject and object, ego and non-ego.  All things are identical in essence but differentiated in the course of evolution.  It was not inconsistent with these tenets that Schelling sought, in his last period, to discover the meaning of universal history in the obscure beginnings of mythology and revelation rather than in the lucid regions of an advanced civilization.

With the opponents of rationalism Schelling agrees that we cannot reach the inner meaning of reality, “the living, moving element in nature,” through the scientific intelligence, but that we must envisage it in intuition.  “What is described in concepts,” he tells us, “is at rest; hence there can be concepts only of things and of that which is finite and sense-perceived.  The notion of movement is not movement itself, and without intuition we should never know what motion is.  Freedom, however, can be comprehended only by freedom, activity only by activity.”  Schelling, who is a poet as well as a philosopher, comes to regard this intuition or inner vision as an artistic intuition.  In the products of art, subject and object, the ideal and the real, mind and nature, form (or purpose) and matter, are one; here the harmony aimed at by philosophy lies before our very eyes,

Page 10

and may be seen, touched, and heard.  The creative artist creates like nature in realizing the ideal; hence, art must serve as the absolute model for the intuition of the world—­it is the true and eternal organ of philosophy.  Like the artistic genius, the philosopher must have the faculty for perceiving the harmony and identity in the universe; esthetic intuition is absolute knowing.  Art aims to reveal to us the profoundest meaning of the world, which is the union of form and matter, of the ideal and the real; in art alone the striving of nature for harmony and identity is realized; the beautiful is the infinite represented and made perceivable in finite form; here mind and nature interpenetrate.  In creative art the artist imitates the creative act of nature and becomes conscious of it; in esthetic intuition, or the perception of beauty, the philosophical genius discovers the secret of reality; nature herself is a poem and her secret is revealed in art.  This philosophy is a far cry from the logical-mathematical method of the Aufklaerung; it is a protest against this, a protest in which the leaders of the new German literature, Herder, Goethe, Schiller, as well as the Romanticists, willingly joined.  Goethe’s entire view of nature, art, and life rested upon the teleological or organic conception; he, too, regarded the ability to peer into the heart of things—­to see the whole in its parts, the ideal in the real, the universal in the particular, as the poet’s and thinker’s highest gift.  He called it an apercu, “a revelation springing up in the inner man that gives him a hint of his likeness to God.”  It is this gift which Faust craves and Mephisto sneers at as die hohe Intuition.

  Dass ich erkenne was die Welt
  Im innersten zusammenhaelt,
  Schau alle Wirkungskraft and Samen
  Und tu’ nicht mehr in Worten kramen.

There was much that was fantastic in the Naturphilosophie and much a priori interpretation of nature that tended to withdraw the mind from the actualities of existence; it often dealt with bold assertions, analogies, and figures of speech, rather than with facts and proofs.  But it had its merits; for it aroused an interest in nature and nature-study, it kept alive the philosophical interest in the outer world, the desire for unity, Einheitstrieb, which has remained a marked characteristic of German science from Alexander von Humboldt down to Robert Mayer, Helmholtz, Naegeli, Haeckel, Ostwald, Hertz, and Driesch.  It opposed the one-sided mechanical method of science, and emphasized conceptions (the idea of development, the notion of the dynamic character of reality, pan-psychism, and vitalism) which are still moving the minds of men today, as is evidenced by the popularity of Henri Bergson, who, with our own William James, leads the contemporary school of philosophical Romanticists.

Page 11

Fichte’s chief contribution to German thought was the Wissenschaftslehre, Schelling’s the Naturphilosophie, and Schleiermacher’s the philosophy of religion.  All these thinkers took account of the prevailing tendencies of the times—­Aufklaerung, Kantian criticism, faith-philosophy, Romanticism, and Spinozism—­and were more or less affected by them.  Schleiermacher also came under the influence of Fichte, Schelling, and Greek idealism, particularly of Plato’s philosophy; many were the sources from which he drew his material for the construction of a great system of Protestant theology that exercised a profound influence far beyond the boundaries of his country and won for him the title of the founder of the New Theology.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, the son of a clergyman of the reformed church, was born at Breslau, November 21, 1768, and was educated at the Moravian schools at Niesky and Barby.  Made sceptical by the newer criticism, he left the Moravian brotherhood and entered the University of Halle (1787), where he devoted himself with equal zeal to the study of theology and philosophy.  After his ordination in 1794 he occupied various pulpits until 1803, when he was made a professor and university preacher at Halle.  In 1806 he removed from Halle to Berlin, becoming the preacher of Trinity Church in 1809 and professor of theology at the newly founded University in 1810, positions which he filled with marked ability until his death, February 12, 1834.  It was in Berlin that he came into friendly touch with the leaders of the Romantic school, Tieck, Friedrich Schlegel, and Novalis, but he did not allow himself to be carried away by their extravagances.  He distinguished himself as a preacher, theologian, philosopher, and philologist, and, by his study of the sources of philosophy, added much to the knowledge of its history.  Among the books published during his life-time are:  Addresses on Religion, 1799; Monologues, 1800; Principles of a Criticism of Previous Systems of Ethics, 1803; translations of Plato’s Dialogues, with introductions and notes, 1804-28; The Christian Faith, 1821-22.  Complete Works, 1834-64.

Schleiermacher’s conception of religion is opposed to the rationalistic theology of the eighteenth century, as well as to the Kantian moral theology which has remained popular in Germany to this day.  For him religion is not science or philosophy; it does not consist in theoretical dogmas or rationalistic proofs; neither theories about religion nor virtuous conduct nor acts of worship are religion itself; nor is religion based upon a rational moral faith, as Kant had taught.  He bravely took the part of Fichte in the atheism-controversy, when the great leaders of German culture, Kant, Herder, and even Goethe, abandoned him to his fate.  He rejected the shallow proofs of the Aufklaerung, as well as the orthodox utilitarian view of God as the dispenser of rewards

Page 12

and punishments, and showed that the real foes of religion were the rational and practical persons who endeavored to suppress the yearning for the transcendent in man and to drive out all mystery in seeking to make everything clear to him.  We cannot have conceptual knowledge of God, for conceptual thought is concerned with differences and opposites, whereas God is without such differences and oppositions:  he is the absolute union or identity of thought and being.  Religion is grounded in feeling, or divining intuition; in feeling, we come into direct relation with God; here the identity of thought and being is immediately experienced in self-consciousness, and this union is the divine element in us.  Religion is the feeling of absolute dependence upon an absolute world-ground; it is the immediate consciousness that everything finite is infinite and exists through the infinite.

The conception of God as the unity of thought and being, and the idea of man’s absolute dependence upon the world-ground, call to mind the pantheism of Spinoza.  Schleiermacher seeks to tone this down by giving the world of things a relative independence; God and the world are inseparable, and yet must be distinguished.  God is unity without plurality, the world plurality without unity; the world is spatial-temporal, while God is spaceless and timeless.  He is, however, not conceived as a personality, but as the universal creative force, as the source of all life.  The determinism implied in this world-view is softened by giving the individual a measure of freedom and independence.  The particular individuals are subject to the law of the whole; but each self has its unique endowment or gifts, its individuality, and its freedom consists in the unfolding of its peculiar capacities.  With Goethe, Schiller, and Romanticism, our philosopher rejects the rigoristic Kantian-Fichtean view of duty which, in his opinion, would suppress individuality and reduce all persons to a homogeneous mass; like them he regards the development of unique personalities as the highest moral task.  “Every man should express humanity in his own peculiar way in a unique mixture of elements, in order that it may reveal itself in every possible form, and that everything may become real in the infinite fulness which can spring from its lap.”  “The same duties can be performed in many different ways.  Different men may practise justice according to the same principles, each man keeping in view the general welfare and personal merit, but with different degrees of feeling, all the way from extreme coldness to the warmest sympathy.”  The command, therefore, is not merely:  Be a person; but:  Be a unique person, live your own individual life.  There is no irreconcilable conflict between the natural law and the moral law, between impulse and reason.  For the same reasons he defends the diversity of religions and the claims of personal religion; in each unique individual, religion should be left free to express itself in its own unique and intimate way.  His ideal is the development of unique, novel, original personalities; and these are expressions of the divine, which rationalism cannot bring under either its theoretical or practical rubrics.

Page 13

The individual cannot become conscious of, and prize, his own individuality without at the same time valuing uniqueness in others; the higher a value he sets upon his own self, the more the personalities of others must impress him.  “Whoever desires to cultivate his individuality must have an appreciation of everything that he is not.”  “The sense of universality (der allgemeine Sinn) is the supreme condition of one’s own perfection.”  Hence the ethical life is a life in society—­a society of unique individuals who respect humanity in its uniqueness, in themselves and in others.  “They are among themselves a chorus of friends.  Every one knows that he too is a part and product of the universe, that in him too are revealed its divine life and action.”  “The more every one approximates the universe, the more he communicates himself to others, the more perfect unity will they all form; no one has a consciousness for himself alone, every one has, at the same time, that of the other; they are no longer only men, but mankind; rising above themselves and triumphing over themselves, they are on the road to true immortality and eternity.”  In the feeling of piety man recognizes that his desire to be a unique personality is in harmony with the action of the universe; hence that he can, ought, and must make the development of his uniqueness the goal, the strongest motive, and the highest good, and that he can surely realize what he is striving for, because the universe which created and determined him created him for that.

FRIEDRICH SCHLEIERMACHER

* * * * *

ON THE SOCIAL ELEMENT IN RELIGION (1799) [1]

TRANSLATED BY GEORGE RIPLEY

Those among you who are accustomed to regard religion as a disease of the human mind, cherish also the habitual conviction that it is an evil more easily borne, even though not to be cured, so long as it is only insulated individuals here and there who are infected with it; but that the common danger is raised to the highest degree, and everything put at stake, as soon as a too close connection is permitted between many patients of this character.  In the former case it is possible by a judicious treatment, as it were by an antiphlegistic regimen, and by a healthy spiritual atmosphere, to ward off the violence of the paroxysms; and if not entirely to conquer the exciting cause of the disease, to attenuate it to such a degree that it shall be almost innocuous.  But in the latter case we must despair of every other means of cure, except that which may proceed from some internal beneficent operation of Nature.  For the evil is attended with more alarming symptoms, and is more fatal in its effects, when the too great proximity of other infected persons feeds and aggravates it in every individual; the whole mass of vital air is then quickly poisoned by a few; the most vigorous frames are smitten with the contagion;

Page 14

all the channels in which the functions of life should go on are destroyed; all the juices of the system are decomposed; and, seized with a similar feverous delirium, the sound spiritual life and productions of whole ages and nations are involved in irremediable ruin.  Hence your antipathy to the church, to every institution which is intended for the communication of religion, is always more prominent than that which you feel to religion itself; hence, also, priests, as the pillars and the most efficient members of such institutions, are, of all men, the objects of your greatest abomination.

Even those among you who hold a little more indulgent opinion with regard to religion, and deem it rather a singularity than a disorder of the mind, an insignificant rather than a dangerous phenomenon, cherish quite as unfavorable impressions of all social organization for its promotion.  A slavish immolation of all that is free and peculiar, a system of lifeless mechanism and barren ceremonies—­these, they imagine, are the inseparable consequences of every such institution and are the ingenious and elaborate work of men, who, with almost incredible success, have made a great merit of things which are either nothing in themselves, or which any other person was quite as capable of accomplishing as they.  I should pour out my heart but very imperfectly before you, on a subject to which I attach the utmost importance, if I did not undertake to give you the correct point of view with regard to it.  I need not here repeat how many of the perverted endeavors and melancholy fortunes of humanity you charge upon religious associations; this is clear as light, in a thousand utterances of your predominant individuals; nor will I stop to refute these accusations, one by one, in order to fix the evil upon other causes.  Let us rather submit the whole conception of the church to a new examination, and from its central point, throughout its whole extent, erect it again upon a new basis, without regard to what it has actually been hitherto, or to what experience may suggest concerning it.

If religion exists at all, it must needs possess a social character; this is founded not only in the nature of man, but still more in the nature of religion.  You will acknowledge that it indicates a state of disease, a signal perversion of nature, when an individual wishes to shut up within himself anything which he has produced and elaborated by his own efforts.  It is the disposition of man to reveal and to communicate whatever is in him, in the indispensable relations and mutual dependence not only of practical life, but also of his spiritual being, by which he is connected with all others of his race; and the more powerfully he is wrought upon by anything, the more deeply it penetrates his inward nature, so much the stronger is this social impulse, even if we regard it only from the point of view of the universal endeavor to behold the emotions which we feel ourselves, as they are exhibited by others, so that we may obtain a proof from their example that our own experience is not beyond the sphere of humanity.

Page 15

[Illustration:  FRIEDRICH SCHLEIERMACHER]

You perceive that I am not speaking here of the endeavor to make others similar to ourselves, nor of the conviction that what is exhibited in one is essential to all; it is merely my aim to ascertain the true relation between our individual life and the common nature of man, and clearly to set it forth.  But the peculiar object of this desire for communication is unquestionably that in which man feels that he is originally passive, namely, his observations and emotions.  He is here impelled by the eager wish to know whether the power which has produced them in him be not something foreign and unworthy.  Hence we see man employed, from his very childhood, in communicating those observations and emotions; the conceptions of his understanding, concerning whose origin there can be no doubt, he allows to rest in his own mind, and still more easily he determines to refrain from the expression of his judgments; but whatever acts upon his senses, whatever awakens his feelings, of that he desires to obtain witnesses, with regard to that he longs for those who will sympathize with him.  How should he keep to himself those very operations of the world upon his soul which are the most universal and comprehensive, which appear to him as of the most stupendous and resistless magnitude?  How should he be willing to lock up within his own bosom those very emotions which impel him with the greatest power beyond himself, and in the indulgence of which he becomes conscious that he can never understand his own nature from himself alone?  It will rather be his first endeavor, whenever a religious view gains clearness in his eye, or a pious feeling penetrates his soul, to direct the attention of others to the same object, and, as far as possible, to communicate to their hearts the elevated impulses of his own.

If, then, the religious man is urged by his nature to speak, it is the same nature which secures to him the certainty of hearers.  There is no element of his being with which, at the same time, there is implanted in man such a lively feeling of his total inability to exhaust it by himself alone, as with that of religion.  A sense of religion has no sooner dawned upon him, than he feels the infinity of its nature and the limitation of his own; he is conscious of embracing but a small portion of it; and that which he cannot immediately reach he wishes to perceive, as far as he can, from the representations of others who have experienced it themselves, and to enjoy it with them.  Hence, he is anxious to observe every manifestation of it; and, seeking to supply his own deficiencies, he watches for every tone which he recognizes as proceeding from it.  In this manner, mutual communications are instituted; in this manner, every one feels equally the need both of speaking and hearing.

Page 16

But the imparting of religion is not to be sought in books, like that of intellectual conceptions and scientific knowledge.  The pure impression of the original product is too far destroyed in this medium, which, in the same way that dark-colored objects absorb the greatest proportion of the rays of light, swallows up everything belonging to the pious emotions of the heart, which cannot be embraced in the insufficient symbols from which it is intended again to proceed.  Nay, in the written communications of religious feeling, everything needs a double and triple representation; for that which originally represented, must be represented in its turn; and yet the effect on the whole man, in its complete unity, can only be imperfectly set forth by continued and varied reflections.  It is only when religion is driven out from the society of the living, that it must conceal its manifold life under the dead letter.

Neither can this intercourse of heart with heart, on the deepest feelings of humanity, be carried on in common conversation.  Many persons, who are filled with zeal for the interests of religion, have brought it as a reproach against the manners of our age that, while all other important subjects are so freely discussed in the intercourse of society, so little should be said concerning God and divine things.  I would defend ourselves against this charge by maintaining that this circumstance, at least, does not indicate contempt or indifference toward religion, but a happy and very correct instinct.  In the presence of joy and merriment, where earnestness itself must yield to raillery and wit, there can be no place for that which should be always surrounded with holy veneration and awe.  Religious views, pious emotions, and serious considerations with regard to them—­these we cannot throw out to one another in such small crumbs as the topics of a light conversation; and when the discourse turns upon sacred subjects, it would rather be a crime than a virtue to have an answer ready for every question, and a rejoinder for every remark.  Hence, the religious sentiment retires from such circles as are too wide for it, to the more confidential intercourse of friendship, and to the mutual communications of love, where the eye and the countenance are more expressive than words, and where even a holy silence is understood.  But it is impossible for divine things to be treated in the usual manner of society, where the conversation consists in striking flashes of thought, gaily and rapidly alternating with one another; a more elevated style is demanded for the communication of religion, and a different kind of society, which is devoted to this purpose, must hence be formed.  It is becoming, indeed, to apply the whole richness and magnificence of human discourse to the loftiest subject which language can reach—­not as if there were any adornment, with which religion could not dispense, but because it would show a frivolous and unholy disposition in

Page 17

its heralds if they did not bring together the most copious resources within their power and consecrate them all to religion, so that they might thus perhaps exhibit it in its appropriate greatness and dignity.  Hence it is impossible, without the aid of poetry, to give utterance to the religious sentiment in any other than an oratorical manner, with all the skill and energy of language, and freely using, in addition, the service of all the arts which can contribute to flowing and impassioned discourse.  He, therefore, whose heart is overflowing with religion, can open his mouth only before an auditory, where that which is presented, with such a wealth of preparation, can produce the most extended and manifold effects.

Would that I could present before you an image of the rich and luxurious life in this city of God, when its inhabitants come together each in the fulness of his own inspiration, which is ready to stream forth without constraint, but, at the same time, each is filled with a holy desire to receive and to appropriate to himself everything which others wish to bring before him.  If one comes forward before the rest, it is not because he is entitled to this distinction, in virtue of an office or of a previous agreement, nor because pride and conceitedness have given him presumption; it is rather a free impulse of the spirit, a sense of the most heartfelt unity of each with all, a consciousness of entire equality, a mutual renunciation of all First and Last, of all the arrangements of earthly order.  He comes forward in order to communicate to others, as an object of sympathizing contemplation, the deepest feelings of his soul while under the influence of God; to lead them to the domain of religion in which he breathes his native air; and to infect them with the contagion of his own holy emotions.  He speaks forth the Divine which stirs his bosom, and in holy silence the assembly follows the inspiration of his words.  Whether he unveils a secret mystery, or with prophetic confidence connects the future with the present; whether he strengthens old impressions by new examples, or is led by the lofty visions of his burning imagination into other regions of the world and into another order of things, the practised sense of his audience everywhere accompanies his own; and when he returns into himself from his wanderings through the kingdom of God, his own heart and that of each of his hearers are the common dwelling-place of the same emotion.

If, now, the agreement of his sentiments with that which they feel be announced to him, whether loudly or low, then are holy mysteries—­not merely significant emblems, but, justly regarded, natural indications of a peculiar consciousness and peculiar feelings—­invented and celebrated, a higher choir, as it were, which in its own lofty language answers to the appealing voice.  But not only, so to speak; for as such a discourse is music without tune or measure, so there is also a music among the

Page 18

Holy, which may be called discourse without words, the most distinct and expressive utterance of the inward man.  The Muse of Harmony, whose intimate relation with religion, although it has been for a long time spoken of and described, is yet recognized only by few, has always presented upon her altars the most perfect and magnificent productions of her selectest scholars in honor of religion.  It is in sacred hymns and choirs, with which the words of the poet are connected only by slight and airy bands, that those feelings are breathed forth which precise language is unable to contain; and thus the tones of thought and emotion alternate with each other in mutual support, until all is satisfied and filled with the Holy and the Infinite.  Of this character is the influence of religious men upon one another; such is their natural and eternal union.  Do not take it ill of them that this heavenly bond—­the most consummate product of the social nature of man, but to which it does not attain until it becomes conscious of its own high and peculiar significance—­that this should be deemed of more value in their sight than the political union which you esteem so far above everything else, but which will nowhere ripen to manly beauty, and which, compared with the former, appears far more constrained than free, far more transitory than eternal.

But where now, in the description which I have given of the community of the pious, is that distinction between priests and laymen, which you are accustomed to designate as the source of so many evils?  A false appearance has deceived you.  This is not a distinction between persons, but only one of condition and performance.  Every man is a priest, so far as he draws others around him, into the sphere which he has appropriated to himself and in which he professes to be a master.  Every one is a layman, so far as he is guided by the counsel and experience of another, within the sphere of religion, where he is comparatively a stranger.  There is not here the tyrannic aristocracy, which you describe with such hatred; but this society is a priestly people, a perfect republic, where every one is alternately ruler and citizen, where every one follows the same power in another which he feels also in himself, and with which he, too, governs others.

How then could the spirit of discord and division—­which you regard as the inevitable consequence of all religious combinations—­find a congenial home within this sphere?  I see nothing but that All is One, and that all the differences which actually exist in religion, by means of this very union of the pious, are gently blended with one another.  I have directed your attention to the different degrees of religiousness, I have pointed out to you the different modes of insight and the different directions in which the soul seeks for itself the supreme object of its pursuit.  Do you imagine that this must needs give birth to sects, and thus destroy all free and reciprocal intercourse

Page 19

in religion?  It is true, indeed, in contemplation, that everything which is separated into various parts and embraced in different divisions, must be opposed and contradictory to itself; but consider, I pray you, how Life is manifested in a great variety of forms, how the most hostile elements seek out one another here, and, for this very reason, what we separate in contemplation all flows together in life.  They, to be sure, who on one of these points bear the greatest resemblance to one another, will present the strongest mutual attraction, but they cannot, on that account, compose an independent whole; for the degrees of this affinity imperceptibly diminish and increase, and in the midst of so many transitions there is no absolute repulsion, no total separation, even between the most discordant elements.  Take which you will of these masses which have assumed an organic form according to their own inherent energy; if you do not forcibly divide them by a mechanical operation, no one will exhibit an absolutely distinct and homogeneous character, but the extreme points of each will be connected at the same time with those which display different properties and properly belong to another mass.

If the pious individuals, who stand on the same degree of a lower order, form a closer union with one another, there are yet some always included in the combination who have a presentiment of higher things.  These are better understood by all who belong to a higher social class than they understand themselves; and there is a point of sympathy between the two which is concealed only from the latter.  If those combine in whom one of the modes of insight, which I have described, is predominant, there will always be some among them who understand at least both of the modes, and since they, in some degree, belong to both, they form a connecting link between two spheres which would otherwise be separated.  Thus the individual who is more inclined to cherish a religious connection between himself and nature, is yet by no means opposed, in the essentials of religion, to him who prefers to trace the footsteps of the Godhead in history; and there will never be wanting those who can pursue both paths with equal facility.  Thus in whatever manner you divide the vast province of religion, you will always come back to the same point.

If unbounded universality of insight be the first and original supposition of religion, and hence also, most naturally, its fairest and ripest fruit, you perceive that it cannot be otherwise than that, in proportion as an individual advances in religion and the character of his piety becomes more pure, the whole religious world will more and more appear to him as an indivisible whole.  The spirit of separation, in proportion as it insists upon a rigid division, is a proof of imperfection; the highest and most cultivated minds always perceive a universal connection, and, for the very reason that they perceive it, they also

Page 20

establish it.  Since every one comes in contact only with his immediate neighbor, but, at the same time, has an immediate neighbor on all sides and in every direction, he is, in fact, indissolubly linked in with the whole.  Mystics and Naturalists in religion, they to whom the Godhead is a personal Being, and they to whom it is not, they who have arrived at a systematic view of the Universe, and they who behold it only in its elements or only in obscure chaos—­all, notwithstanding, should be only one, for one band surrounds them all and they can be totally separated only by a violent and arbitrary force; every specific combination is nothing but an integral part of the whole; its peculiar characteristics are almost evanescent, and are gradually lost in outlines that become more and more indistinct; and at least those who feel themselves thus united will always be the superior portion.

Whence, then, but through a total misunderstanding, have arisen that wild and disgraceful zeal for proselytism to a separate and peculiar form of religion, and that horrible expression—­“no salvation except with us.”  As I have described to you the society of the pious, and as it must needs be according to its intrinsic nature, it aims merely at reciprocal communication, and subsists only between those who are already in possession of religion, of whatever character it may be; how then can it be its vocation to change the sentiments of those who now acknowledge a definite system, or to introduce and consecrate those who are totally destitute of one?  The religion of this society, as such, consists only in the religion of all the pious taken together, as each one beholds it in the rest—­it is Infinite; no single individual can embrace it entirely, since so far as it is individual it ceases to be one, and hence no man can attain such elevation and completeness as to raise himself to its level.  If any one, then, has chosen a part in it for himself, whatever it may be, were it not an absurd procedure for society to wish to deprive him of that which is adapted to his nature—­since it ought to comprise this also within its limits, and hence some one must needs possess it?

[Illustration:  THE THREE HERMITS Moritz Von Schwind]

And to what end should it desire to cultivate those who are yet strangers to religion?  Its own especial characteristic—­the Infinite Whole—­of course it cannot impart to them; and the communication of any specific element cannot be accomplished by the Whole, but only by individuals.  But perhaps then, the Universal, the Indeterminate, which might be presented, when we seek that which is common to all the members?  Yet you are aware that, as a general rule, nothing can be given or communicated, in the form of the Universal and Indeterminate, for specific object and precise form are requisite for this purpose; otherwise, in fact, that which is presented would not be a reality but a nullity.  Such a society, accordingly, can never find a measure or rule for this undertaking.

Page 21

And how could it so far abandon its sphere as to engage in this enterprise?  The need on which it is founded, the essential principle of religious sociability, points to no such purpose.  Individuals unite with one another and compose a Whole; the Whole rests in itself, and needs not to strive for anything beyond.  Hence, whatever is accomplished in this way for religion is the private affair of the individual for himself, and, if I may say so, more in his relations out of the church than in it.  Compelled to descend to the low grounds of life from the circle of religious communion, where the mutual existence and life in God afford him the most elevated enjoyment and where his spirit, penetrated with holy feelings, soars to the highest summit of consciousness, it is his consolation that he can connect everything with which he must there be employed, with that which always retains the deepest significance in his heart.  As he descends from such lofty regions to those whose whole endeavor and pursuit are limited to earth, he easily believes—­and you must pardon him the feeling—­that he has passed from intercourse with Gods and Muses to a race of coarse barbarians.  He feels like a steward of religion among the unbelieving, a herald of piety among the savages; he hopes, like an Orpheus or an Amphion, to charm the multitude with his heavenly tones; he presents himself among them, like a priestly form, clearly and brightly exhibiting the lofty, spiritual sense which fills his soul, in all his actions and in the whole compass of his Being.  If the contemplation of the Holy and the Godlike awakens a kindred emotion in them, how joyfully does he cherish the first presages of religion in a new heart, as a delightful pledge of its growth even in a harsh and foreign clime!  With what triumph does he bear the neophyte with him to the exalted assembly!  This activity for the promotion of religion is only the pious yearning of the stranger after his home, the endeavor to carry his Fatherland with him in all his wanderings, and everywhere to find again its laws and customs as the highest and most beautiful elements of his life; but the Fatherland itself, happy in its own resources, perfectly sufficient for its own wants, knows no such endeavor.

JOHANN GOTTLIEB FICHTE

* * * * *

THE DESTINY OF MAN (1800)

ADAPTED FROM THE TRANSLATION BY FREDERIC H. HEDGE

BOOK III:  FAITH

* * * * *

“Not merely to know, but to act according to thy knowledge, is thy destination.”  So says the voice which cries to me aloud from my innermost soul, so soon as I collect and give heed to myself for a moment.  “Not idly to inspect and contemplate thyself, nor to brood over devout sensations—­no! thou existest to act.  Thine actions, and only thine actions, determine thy worth.”

Page 22

* * * * *

Shall I refuse obedience to that inward voice?  I will not do it.  I will choose voluntarily the destination which the impulse imputes to me.  And I will grasp, together with this determination, the thought of its reality and truth, and of the reality of all that it presupposes.  I will hold to the viewpoint of natural thinking, which this impulse assigns to me, and renounce all those morbid speculations and refinements of the understanding which alone could make me doubt its truth.  I understand thee now, sublime Spirit![2] I have found the organ with which I grasp this reality, and with it, probably, all other reality.  Knowledge is not that organ.  No knowledge can prove and demonstrate itself.  Every knowledge presupposes a higher as its foundation, and this upward process has no end.  It is Faith, that voluntary reposing in the view which naturally presents itself, because it is the only one by which we can fulfil our destination—­this it is that first gives assent to knowledge, and exalts to certainty and conviction what might otherwise be mere illusion.  It is not knowledge, but a determination of the will to let knowledge pass for valid.  I hold fast, then, forever to this expression.  It is not a mere difference of terms, but a real deep-grounded distinction, exercising a very important influence on my whole mental disposition.  All my conviction is only faith, and is derived from a disposition of the mind, not from the understanding.

* * * * *

There is only one point to which I have to direct incessantly all my thoughts:  What I must do, and how I shall most effectually accomplish what is required of me.  All my thinking must have reference to my doing—­must be considered as means, however remote, to this end.  Otherwise, it is an empty, aimless sport, a waste of time and power, and perversion of a noble faculty which was given me for a very different purpose.

I may hope, I may promise myself with certainty, that when I think after this manner, my thinking shall be attended with practical results.  Nature, in which I am to act, is not a foreign being, created without regard to me, into which I can never penetrate.  It is fashioned by the laws of my own thought, and must surely coincide with them.  It must be everywhere transparent, cognizable, permeable to me, in its innermost recesses.  Everywhere it expresses nothing but relations and references of myself to myself; and as certainly as I may hope to know myself, so certainly I may promise myself that I shall be able to explore it.  Let me but seek what I have to seek, and I shall find.  Let me but inquire whereof I have to inquire, and I shall receive answer.

[Illustration:  JOHANN GOTTLIEB FICHTE]

I

Page 23

That voice in my interior, which I believe, and for the sake of which I believe all else that I believe, commands me not merely to act in the abstract.  That is impossible.  All these general propositions are formed only by my voluntary attention and reflection directed to various facts; but they do not express a single fact of themselves.  This voice of my conscience prescribes to me with certainty, in each particular situation of my existence, what I must do and what I must avoid in that situation.  It accompanies me, if I will but listen to it with attention, through all the events of my life, and never refuses its reward where I am called to act.  It establishes immediate conviction, and irresistibly compels my assent.  It is impossible for me to contend against it.

To harken to that voice, honestly and dispassionately, without fear and without useless speculation to obey it—­this is my sole destination, this the whole aim of my existence.  My life ceases to be an empty sport, without truth or meaning.  There is something to be done, simply because it must be done—­namely, that which conscience demands of me who find myself in this particular position.  I exist solely in order that it may be fulfilled.  To perceive it, I have understanding; to do it, power.

Through these commandments of conscience alone come truth and reality into my conceptions.  I cannot refuse attention and obedience to them without renouncing my destination.  I cannot, therefore, withhold my belief in the reality which they bring before me, without, at the same time, denying my destination.  It is absolutely true, without further examination and demonstration—­it is the first truth and the foundation of all other truth and certainty—­that I must obey that voice.  Consequently, according to this way of thinking, everything becomes true and real for me which the possibility of such obedience presupposes.

There hover before me phenomena in space, to which I transfer the idea of my own being.  I represent them to myself as beings of my own kind.  Consistent speculation has taught me or will teach me that these supposed rational beings, without me, are only products of my own conception; that I am necessitated, once for all, by laws of thought which can be shown to exist, to represent the idea of myself out of myself, and that, according to the same laws, this idea can be transferred only to certain definite perceptions.  But the voice of my conscience cries to me:  “Whatever these beings may be in and for themselves, thou shalt treat them as subsisting for themselves, as free, self-existing beings, entirely independent of thyself.  Take it for granted that they are capable of proposing to themselves aims independently of thee, by their own power.  Never disturb the execution of these, their designs, but further them rather, with all thy might.  Respect their liberty.  Embrace with love their objects as thine own.”  So must I act.  And to such action shall, will, and must

Page 24

all my thinking be directed, if I have but formed the purpose to obey the voice of my conscience.  Accordingly, I shall ever consider those beings as beings subsisting for themselves, and forming and accomplishing aims independently of me.  From this viewpoint, I cannot consider them in any other light; and the above-mentioned speculation will vanish like an empty dream before my eyes.  “I think of them as beings of my own species,” said I just now; but strictly, it is not a thought by which they are first represented to me as such.  It is the voice of conscience, the command:  “Here restrain thy liberty, here suppose and respect foreign aims.”  This it is which is first translated into the thought:  “Here is surely and truly, subsisting of itself, a being like me.”  To consider them otherwise, I must first deny the voice of my conscience in life and forget it in speculation.

There hover before me other phenomena which I do not consider as beings like myself, but as irrational objects.  Speculation finds it easy to show how the conception of such objects develops itself purely from my power of conception and its necessary modes of action.  But I comprehend these same things also through need and craving and enjoyment.  It is not the conception—­no, it is hunger and thirst and the satisfaction of these that makes anything food and drink to me.  Of course, I am constrained to believe in the reality of that which threatens my sensuous existence, or which alone can preserve it.  Conscience comes in, at once hallowing and limiting this impulse of Nature.  “Thou shalt preserve, exercise and strengthen thyself, and thy sensuous power; for this sensuous power forms a part of the calculation, in the plan of reason.  But thou canst preserve it only by a suitable use, agreeable to the peculiar interior laws of such matters.  And, besides thyself, there are also others like thee, whose powers are calculated upon like thine own, and who can be preserved only in the same way.  Allow to them the same use of their portion which it is granted thee to make of thine own portion.  Respect what comes to them, as their property.  Use what comes to thee in a suitable manner, as thy property.”  So must I act, and I must think conformably to such action.  Accordingly, I am necessitated to regard these things as standing under their own natural laws, independent of me, but which I am capable of knowing; that is, to ascribe to them an existence independent of myself.  I am constrained to believe in such laws, and it becomes my business to ascertain them; and empty speculation vanishes like mist when the warming sun appears.

Page 25

In short, there is for me, in general, no pure, naked existence, with which I have no concern, and which I contemplate solely for the sake of contemplation.  Whatever exists for me, exists only by virtue of its relation to me.  But there is everywhere but one relation to me possible, and all the rest are but varieties of this, i.e., my destination as a moral agent.  My world is the object and sphere of my duties, and absolutely nothing else.  There is no other world, no other attributes of my world, for me.  My collective capacity and all finite capacity is insufficient to comprehend any other.  Everything which exists for me forces its existence and its reality upon me, solely by means of this relation; and only by means of this relation do I grasp it.  There is utterly wanting in me an organ for any other existence.

To the question whether then in fact such a world exists as I represent to myself, I can answer nothing certain, nothing which is raised above all doubt, but this:  I have assuredly and truly these definite duties which represent themselves to me as duties toward such and such persons, concerning such and such objects.  These definite duties I cannot represent to myself otherwise, nor can I execute them otherwise, than as lying within the sphere of such a world as I conceive.  Even he who has never thought of his moral destination, if any such there could be, or who, if he has thought about it at all, has never entertained the slightest purpose of ever, in the indefinite future, fulfilling it—­even he derives his world of the senses and his belief in the reality of such a world no otherwise than from his idea of a moral world.  If he does not comprehend it through the idea of his duties, he certainly does so through the requisition of his rights.  What he does not require of himself he yet requires of others, in relation to himself—­that they treat him with care and consideration, agreeably to his nature, not as an irrational thing, but as a free and self-subsisting being.  And so he is constrained, in order that they may comply with this demand, to think of them also as rational, free, self-subsisting, and independent of the mere force of Nature.  And even though he should never propose to himself any other aim in the use and fruition of the objects which surround him than that of enjoying them, he still demands this enjoyment as a right, of which others must leave him in undisturbed possession.  Accordingly, he comprehends even the irrational world of the senses through a moral idea.  No one who lives a conscious life can renounce these claims to be respected as rational and self-subsisting.  And with these claims at least there is connected in his soul a seriousness, an abandonment of doubt, a belief in a reality, if not with the acknowledgment of a moral law in his innermost being.  Do but assail him who denies his own moral destination and your existence and the existence of a corporeal world, except in the way

Page 26

of experiment, to try what speculation can do—­assail him actively, carry his principles into life, and act as if he either did not exist, or as if he were a piece of rude matter, and he will soon forget the joke; he will become seriously angry with you, he will seriously reprove you for treating him so, and maintain that you ought not and must not do so to him; and, in this way, he will practically admit that you really possess the power of acting upon him, that he exists, that you exist, and that there exists a medium through which you act upon him; and that you have at least duties toward him.

Hence it is not the action of supposed objects without us, which exist for us only and for which we exist only in so far as we already know of them; just as little is it an empty fashioning, by means of our imagination and our thinking, whose products would appear to us as such, as empty pictures; it is not these, but the necessary faith in our liberty and our power, in our veritable action and in definite laws of human action, which serves as the foundation of all consciousness of a reality without us, a consciousness which is itself but a belief, since it rests on a belief, but one which follows necessarily from that belief.  We are compelled to assume that we act in general, and that we ought to act in a certain way; we are compelled to assume a certain sphere of such action—­this sphere being the truly and actually existing world as we find it.  And vice versa, this world is absolutely nothing but that sphere, and by no means extends beyond it.  The consciousness of the actual world proceeds from the necessity of action, and not the reverse—­i.e., the necessity of action from the consciousness of such a world.  The necessity is first not the consciousness; that is derived.  We do not act because we agnize, but we agnize because we are destined to act.  Practical reason is the root of all reason.  The laws of action for rational beings are immediately certain; their world is certain only because they are certain.  Were we to renounce the former, the world, and, with it, ourselves, we should sink into absolute nothing.  We raise ourselves out of this nothing, and sustain ourselves above this nothing, solely by means of our morality.

II

* * * * *

When I contemplate the world as it is, independently of any command, there manifests itself in my interior the wish, the longing, no! not a longing merely—­the absolute demand for a better world.  I cast a glance at the relations of men to one another and to Nature, at the weakness of their powers, at the strength of their appetites and passions.  It cries to me irresistibly from my innermost soul:  “Thus it cannot possibly be destined always to remain.  It must, O it must all become other and better!”

Page 27

I can in no wise imagine to myself the present condition of man as that which is designed to endure.  I cannot imagine it to be his whole and final destination.  If so, then would everything be dream and delusion, and it would not be worth the trouble to have lived and to have taken part in this ever-recurring, aimless, and unmeaning game.  Only so far as I can regard this condition as the means of something better, as a point of transition to a higher and more perfect, does it acquire any value for me.  Not on its own account, but on account of something better for which it prepares the way, can I bear it, honor it, and joyfully fulfil my part in it.  My mind can find no place, nor rest a moment, in the present; it is irresistibly repelled by it.  My whole life streams irrepressibly on toward the future and better.

Am I only to eat and to drink that I may hunger and thirst again, and again eat and drink, until the grave, yawning beneath my feet, swallows me up, and I myself spring up as food from the ground?  Am I to beget beings like myself, that they also may eat and drink and die, and leave behind them beings like themselves, who shall do the same that I have done?  To what purpose this circle which perpetually returns into itself; this game forever recommencing, after the same manner, in which everything is born but to perish, and perishes but to be born again as it was; this monster which forever devours itself that it may produce itself again, and which produces itself that it may again devour itself?

Never can this be the destination of my being and of all being.  There must be something which exists because it has been brought forth, and which now remains and can never be brought forth again after it has been brought forth once.  And this, that is permanent, must beget itself amid the mutations of the perishing, and continue amid those mutations, and be borne along unhurt upon the waves of time.

As yet our race wrings with difficulty its sustenance and its continuance from reluctant Nature.  As yet the larger portion of mankind are bowed down their whole life long by hard labor, to procure sustenance for themselves and the few who think for them.  Immortal spirits are compelled to fix all their thinking and scheming, and all their efforts, on the soil which bears them nourishment.  It often comes to pass as yet, that when the laborer has ended, and promises himself, for his pains, the continuance of his own existence and of those pains, then hostile elements destroy in a moment what he had been slowly and carefully preparing for years, and delivers up the industrious painstaking man, without any fault of his own, to hunger and misery.  It often comes to pass as yet, that inundations, storm-winds, volcanoes, desolate whole countries, and mingle works which bear the impress of a rational mind, as well as their authors, with the wild chaos of death and destruction.  Diseases still hurry men into a premature grave, men in the bloom of their powers, and children whose existence passes away without fruit or result.  The pestilence still stalks through blooming states, leaves the few who escape it bereaved and alone, deprived of the accustomed aid of their companions, and does all in its power to give back to the wilderness the land which the industry of man had already conquered for its own.

Page 28

So it is, but so it cannot surely have been intended always to remain.  No work which bears the impress of reason, and which was undertaken for the purpose of extending the dominion of reason, can be utterly lost in the progress of the times.  The sacrifices which the irregular violence of Nature draws from reason must at least weary, satisfy, and reconcile that violence.  The force which has caused injury by acting without rule cannot be intended to do so in that way any longer, it cannot be destined to renew itself; it must be used up, from this time forth and forever, by that one outbreak.  All those outbreaks of rude force, before which human power vanishes into nothing—­those desolating hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, can be nothing else but the final struggle of the wild mass against the lawfully progressive, life-giving, systematic course to which it is compelled, contrary to its own impulse.  They can be nothing but the last concussive strokes in the formation of our globe, now about to perfect itself.  That opposition must gradually become weaker and at last exhausted, since, in the lawful course of things, there can be nothing that should renew its power.  That formation must at last be perfected, and our destined abode complete.  Nature must gradually come into a condition in which we can count with certainty upon her equal step, and in which her power shall keep unaltered a definite relation with that power which is destined to govern it, that is, the human.  So far as this relation already exists and the systematic development of Nature has gained firm footing, the workmanship of man, by its mere existence and its effects, independent of any design on the part of the author, is destined to react upon Nature and to represent in her a new and life-giving principle.  Cultivated lands are to quicken and mitigate the sluggish, hostile atmosphere of the eternal forests, wildernesses, and morasses.  Well-ordered and diversified culture is to diffuse through the air a new principle of life and fructification, and the sun to send forth its most animating beams into that atmosphere which is breathed by a healthy, industrious, and ingenious people.  Science, awakened, at first, by the pressure of necessity, shall hereafter penetrate deliberately and calmly into the unchangeable laws of Nature, overlook her whole power, and learn to calculate her possible developments—­shall form for itself a new Nature in idea, attach itself closely to the living and active, and follow hard upon her footsteps.  And all knowledge which reason has wrung from Nature shall be preserved in the course of the times and become the foundation of further knowledge, for the common understanding of our race.  Thus shall Nature become ever more transparent and penetrable to human perception, even to its innermost secrets.  And human power, enlightened and fortified with its inventions, shall rule her with ease and peacefully maintain the conquest once effected.  By degrees, there shall be needed no greater outlay of mechanical labor than the human body requires for its development, cultivation and health.  And this labor shall cease to be a burden; for the rational being is not destined to be a bearer of burdens.

Page 29

But it is not Nature, it is liberty itself, that occasions the most numerous and the most fearful disorders among our kind.  The direst enemy of man is man.

* * * * *

It is the destination of our race to unite in one body, thoroughly acquainted with itself in all its parts, and uniformly cultivated in all.  Nature, and even the passions and vices of mankind, have, from the beginning, drifted toward this goal.  A large part of the road which leads to it is already put behind us, and we may count with certainty that this goal, which is the condition of further, united progress, will be reached in due season.  Do not ask History whether mankind, on the whole, have grown more purely moral!  They have grown to extended, comprehensive, forceful acts of arbitrary will; but it was almost a necessity of their condition that they should direct that will exclusively to evil.

Neither ask History whether the esthetic education and the rationalistic culture of the understanding, of the fore-world, concentrated upon a few single points, may not have far exceeded, in degree, that of modern times.  It might be that the answer would put us to shame, and that the human race in growing older would appear, in this regard, not to have advanced, but to have lost ground.

But ask History in what period the existing culture was most widely diffused and distributed among the greatest number of individuals.  Undoubtedly it will be found that, from the beginning of history down to our own day, the few light-points of culture have extended their rays farther and farther from their centres, have seized one individual after another, and one people after another; and that this diffusion of culture is still going on before our eyes.

And this was the first goal of Humanity, on its infinite path.  Until this is attained, until the existing culture of an age is diffused over the whole habitable globe, and our race is made capable of the most unlimited communication with itself, one nation, one quarter of the globe, must await the other, on their common path, and each must bring its centuries of apparent standing still or retrogradation, as a sacrifice to the common bond, for the sake of which, alone, they themselves exist.

When this first goal shall be attained, when everything useful that has been discovered at one end of the earth shall immediately be made known and imparted to all, then Humanity, without interruption, without cessation, and without retrocession, with united force, and with one step shall raise itself up to a degree of culture which we lack power to conceive.

* * * * *

Page 30

By the institution of this one true State and the firm establishment of internal peace, external war also, at least between true States, will be rendered impossible.  Even for the sake of its own advantage—­in order that no thought of injustice, plunder and violence may spring up in its own subjects, and no possible opportunity be afforded them for any gain, except by labor and industry, in the sphere assigned by law—­every State must forbid as strictly, must hinder as carefully, must compensate as exactly, and punish as severely, an injury done to the citizen of a neighbor-State, as if it were inflicted upon a fellow-citizen.  This law respecting the security of its neighbors is necessary to every State which is not a community of robbers.  And herewith the possibility of every just complaint of one State against another, and every case of legitimate defense, are done away.

There are no necessarily and continuously direct relations between States, as such, that could engender warfare.  As a general rule, it is only through the relations of single citizens of one State with the citizens of another—­it is only in the person of one of its members, that a State can be injured.  But this injury will be instantly redressed, and the offended State satisfied.

* * * * *

That a whole nation should determine, for the sake of plunder, to attack a neighboring country with war, is impossible, since in a State in which all are equal the plunder would not become the booty of a few, but must be divided equally among all, and, so divided, the portion of each individual would never repay him for the trouble of a war.  Only, then, when the advantage to be gained falls to the lot of a few oppressors, but the disadvantages, the trouble, the cost fall upon a countless army of slaves—­only then is a war of plunder possible or conceivable.  Accordingly, these States have no war to fear from States like themselves, but only from savages or barbarians, tempted to prey by want of skill to enrich themselves by industry; or from nations of slaves, who are driven by their masters to procure plunder, of which they are to enjoy no part themselves.  As to the former, each single State is undoubtedly superior to them in strength, by virtue of the arts of culture.  As to the latter, the common advantage of all the States will lead them to strengthen themselves by union with one another.  No free State can reasonably tolerate, in its immediate vicinity, polities whose rulers find their advantage in subjecting neighboring nations, and which, therefore, by their mere existence, perpetually threaten their neighbors’ peace.  Care for their own security will oblige all free States to convert all around them into free States like themselves, and thus, for the sake of their own safety, to extend the dominion of culture to the savages, and that of liberty to the slave nations round about them.  And so, when once a few free States have been formed, the empire of culture, of liberty, and, with that, of universal peace, will gradually embrace the globe.

Page 31

* * * * *

In this only true State, all temptation to evil in general, and even the possibility of deliberately determining upon an evil act, will be cut off, and man be persuaded as powerfully as he can be to direct his will toward good.  There is no man who loves evil because it is evil.  He loves in it only the advantages and enjoyments which it promises, and which, in the present state of Humanity, it, for the most part, actually affords.  As long as this state continues, as long as a price is set upon vice, a thorough reformation of mankind, in the whole, is scarcely to be hoped for.  But in such a civil Polity as should exist, such as reason demands, and such as the thinker easily describes, although as yet he nowhere finds it, and such as will necessarily shape itself with the first nation that is truly disenthralled—­in such a Polity evil will offer no advantages, but, on the contrary, the most certain disadvantages; and the aberration of self-love into acts of injustice will be suppressed by self-love itself.  According to infallible regulations, in such a State, all taking advantage of and oppressing others, every act of self-aggrandizement at another’s expense is not only sure to be in vain—­labor lost—­but it reacts upon the author, and he himself inevitably incurs the evil which he would inflict upon others.  Within his own State and outside of it, on the whole face of the earth, he finds no one whom he can injure with impunity.  It is not, however, to be expected that any one will resolve upon evil merely for evil’s sake, notwithstanding he cannot accomplish it and nothing but his own injury can result from the attempt.  The use of liberty for evil ends is done away.  Man must either resolve to renounce his liberty entirely—­to become, with patience, a passive wheel in the great machine of the whole—­or he must apply his liberty to that which is good.

And thus, then, in a soil so prepared, the good will easily flourish.  When selfish aims no longer divide mankind, and their powers can no longer be exercised in destroying one another in battle, nothing will remain to them but to turn their united force against the common and only adversary which yet remains—­resisting, uncultivated Nature.  No longer separated by private ends, they will necessarily unite in one common end, and there will grow up a body everywhere animated by one spirit and one love.  Every disadvantage of the individual, since it can no longer be a benefit to any one, becomes an injury to the whole and to each particular member of the same, and is felt in each member with equal pain, and with equal activity redressed.  Every advance which one man makes, human nature, in its entirety, makes with him.

Page 32

Here, where the petty, narrow self of the person is already annihilated by the Polity, every one loves every other one as truly as himself, as a component part of that great Self which alone remains for him to love, and of which he is nothing but a component part, which only through the Whole can gain or lose.  Here the conflict of evil with good is done away, for no evil can any longer spring up.  The contest of the good among themselves, even concerning the good, vanishes, now that it has become easy to them to love the good for its own sake, and not for their sakes, as the authors of it—­now that the only interest they can have is that it come to pass, that truth be discovered, that the good deed be executed—­not by whom it is accomplished.  Here every one is always prepared to join his power to that of his neighbor, and to subordinate it to that of his neighbor.  Whoever, in the judgment of all, shall accomplish the best, in the best way, him all will support and partake with equal joy in his success.

This is the aim of earthly existence which Reason sets before us, and for the sure attainment of which Reason vouches.  It is not a goal for which we are to strive merely that our faculties may be exercised on something great, but which we must relinquish all hope of realizing.  It shall and must be realized.  At some time or other this goal must be attained, as surely as there is a world of the senses, and a race of reasonable beings in time, for whom no serious and rational object can be imagined but this, and whose existence is made intelligible by this alone.  Unless the whole life of man is to be considered as the sport of an evil Spirit, who implanted this ineradicable striving after the imperishable in the breasts of poor wretches merely that he might enjoy their ceaseless struggle after that which unceasingly flees from them, their still repeated grasping after that which still eludes their grasp, their restless driving about in an ever-returning circle—­and laugh at their earnestness in this senseless sport—­unless the wise man, who must soon see through this game and be tired of his own part in it, is to throw away his life, and the moment of awakening reason is to be the moment of earthly death—­that goal must be attained.  O it is attainable in life and by means of life; for Reason commands me to live.  It is attainable, for I am.

III

But now, when it is attained, when Humanity shall stand at the goal—­what then?  There is no higher condition on earth than that.  The generation which first attains it can do nothing further than to persist in it, maintain it with all their powers, and die and leave descendants who shall do the same that they have done, and who, in their turn, shall leave descendants that shall do the same.  Humanity would then stand still in its course.  Therefore its earthly goal cannot be its highest goal, for this earthly goal is intelligible, and attainable,

Page 33

and finite.  Though we consider the preceding generations as means of developing the last and perfected, still we cannot escape the inquiry of earnest Reason:  “Wherefore then these last?” Given a human race on the earth, its existence must indeed be in accordance with Reason, and not contrary to it.  It must become all that it can become on earth.  But why should it exist at all—­this human race?  Why might it not as well have remained in the womb of the Nothing?  Reason is not for the sake of existence, but existence for the sake of Reason.  An existence which does not, in itself, satisfy Reason and solve all her questions, cannot possibly be the true one.

Then, too, are the actions commanded by the voice of Conscience, whose dictates I must not speculate about, but obey in silence—­are they actually the means, and the only means, of accomplishing the earthly aim of mankind?  That I cannot refer them to any other object but this, that I can have no other intent with them, is unquestionable.  But is this, my intent, fulfilled in every case?  Is nothing more needed but to will the best, in order that it may be accomplished?  Alas! most of our good purposes are, for this world, entirely lost, and some of them seem even to have an entirely opposite effect to that which was proposed.  On the other hand, the most despicable passions of men, their vices and their misdeeds, seem often to bring about the good more surely than the labors of the just man, who never consents to do evil that good may come.  It would seem that the highest good of the world grows and thrives quite independently of all human virtues or vices, according to laws of its own, by some invisible and unknown power, just as the heavenly bodies run through their appointed course, independently of all human effort; and that this power absorbs into its own higher plan all human designs, whether good or ill, and, by its superior strength, appropriates what was intended for other purposes to its own ends.

If, therefore, the attainment of that earthly goal could be the design of our existence, and if no further question concerning it remained to Reason, that aim, at least, would not be ours, but the aim of that unknown Power.  We know not at any moment what may promote it.  Nothing would be left us but to supply to that Power, by our actions, so much material, no matter what, to work up in its own way, for its own ends.  Our highest wisdom would be, not to trouble ourselves about things in which we have no concern, but to live, in each case, as the fancy takes us, and quietly leave the consequences to that Power.  The moral law within us would be idle and superfluous, and wholly unsuited to a being that had no higher capacity and no higher destination.  In order to be at one with ourselves, we should refuse obedience to the voice of that law and suppress it as a perverse and mad enthusiasm.

* * * * *

Page 34

If the whole design of our existence were to bring about a purely earthly condition of our race, all that would be required would be some infallible mechanism to direct our action; and we need be nothing more than wheels well fitted to the whole machine.  Freedom would then not only be useless, but even contrary to the purpose of existence; and good-will would be quite superfluous.  The world, in that case, would be very clumsily contrived—­would proceed to its goal with waste of power and by circuitous paths.  Rather, mighty World-Spirit, hadst thou taken from us this freedom, which, only with difficulty and by a different arrangement, thou canst fit to thy plans, and compelled us at once to act as those plans required!  Thou wouldst then arrive at thy goal by the shortest road, as the meanest of the inhabitants of thy worlds can tell thee.

But I am free, and therefore such a concatenation of cause and effect, in which freedom is absolutely superfluous and useless, cannot exhaust my whole destination.  I must be free; for not the mechanical act, but the free determination of free-will, for the sake of the command alone and absolutely for no other purpose (so says the inward voice of conscience)—­this alone determines our true worth.  The band with which the law binds me is a band for living spirits.  It scorns to rule over dead mechanism, and applies itself alone to the living and self-acting.  Such obedience it demands.  This obedience cannot be superfluous.

And, herewith, the eternal world rises more brightly before me, and the fundamental law of its order stands clear before the eye of my mind.  In that world the will, purely and only, as it lies, locked up from all eyes, in the secret dark of my soul, is the first link in a chain of consequences which runs through the whole invisible world of spirits; so in the earthly world the deed, a certain movement of matter, becomes the first link in a material chain which extends through the whole system of matter.  The will is the working and living principle in the world of Reason, as motion is the working and living principle in the world of the senses.  I stand in the centre of two opposite worlds, a visible in which the deed, and an invisible, altogether incomprehensible, in which the will, decides.  I am one of the original forces for both these worlds.  My will is that which embraces both.  This will is in and of itself a constituent portion of the supersensuous world.  When I put it in motion by a resolution, I move and change something in that world, and my activity flows on over the whole and produces something new and ever-during which then exists and needs not to be made anew.  This will breaks forth into a material act, and this act belongs to the world of the senses, and effects, in that, what it can.

Page 35

I have not to wait until after I am divorced from the connection of the earthly world to gain admission into that which is above the earth.  I am and live in it already, far more truly than in the earthly.  Even now it is my only firm standing-ground, and the eternal life, which I have long since taken possession of, is the only reason why I am willing still to prolong the earthly.  That which they denominate Heaven lies not beyond the grave.  It is already here, diffused around our Nature, and its light arises in every pure heart.  My will is mine, and it is the only thing that is entirely mine and depends entirely upon myself.  By it I am already a citizen of the kingdom of liberty and of self-active Reason.  My conscience, the tie by which that world holds me unceasingly and binds me to itself, tells me at every moment what determination of my will (the only thing by which, here in the dust, I can lay hold of that kingdom) is most consonant with its order; and it depends entirely upon myself to give myself the destination enjoined upon me.  I cultivate myself then for this world, and, accordingly, work in it and for it, while cultivating one of its members.  I pursue in it, and in it alone, without vacillation or doubt, according to fixed rules, my aim—­sure of success, since there is no foreign power that opposes my intent.

* * * * *

That our good-will, in and for and through itself, must have consequences, we know, even in this life; for Reason cannot require anything without a purpose.  But what these consequences are—­nay, how it is possible that a mere will can effect anything—­is a question to which we cannot even imagine a solution, so long as we are entangled with this material world, and it is the part of wisdom not to undertake an inquiry concerning which, we know beforehand, it must be unsuccessful.

* * * * *

This then is my whole sublime destination, my true essence.  I am a member of two systems—­a purely spiritual one, in which I rule by pure will alone; and a sensuous one, in which I work by my deed.

* * * * *

These two systems, the purely spiritual and the sensuous—­which last may consist of an immeasurable series of particular lives—­exist in me from the moment in which my active reason is developed, and pursue their parallel courses.  The latter system is only an appearance, for me and for those who share with me the same life.  The former alone gives to the latter meaning, and purpose, and value.  I am immortal, imperishable, eternal, so soon as I form the resolution to obey the law of Reason; and do not first have to become so.  The supersensuous world is not a future world; it is present.  It never can be more present at any one point of finite existence than at any other point.  After an existence of myriad lives, it cannot be more present than at this moment.  Other

Page 36

conditions of my sensuous existence are to come; but these are no more the true life than the present condition.  By means of that resolution I lay hold on eternity, and strip off this life in the dust and all other sensuous lives that may await me, and raise myself far above them.  I become to myself the sole fountain of all my being and of all my phenomena; and have henceforth, unconditioned by aught without me, life in myself.  My will, which I myself, and no stranger, fit to the order of that world, is this fountain of true life and of eternity.

But only my will is this fountain; and only when I acknowledge this will to be the true seat of moral excellence, and actually elevate it to this excellence, do I attain to the certainty and the possession of that supersensuous world.

* * * * *

The sense by which we lay hold on eternal life we acquire only by renouncing and offering up sense, and the aims of sense, to the law which claims our will alone, and not our acts—­by renouncing it with the conviction that to do so is reasonable and alone reasonable.  With this renunciation of the earthly, the belief in the eternal first enters our soul and stands isolated there, as the only stay by which we can still sustain ourselves when we have relinquished everything else, as the only animating principle that still uplifts our hearts and still inspires our life.  Well was it said, in the metaphors of a sacred doctrine, that man must first die to the world and be born again, in order to enter into the kingdom of God.

I see, oh, I see now, clear before mine eyes, the cause of my former heedlessness and blindness concerning spiritual things!  Filled with earthly aims, and lost in them with all my scheming and striving; put in motion and impelled only by the idea of a result, which is to be actualized without us, by the desire of such a result and pleasure in it—­insensible and dead to the pure impulse of that Reason which gives the law to itself, which sets before us a purely spiritual aim, the immortal Psyche remains chained to the earth; her wings are bound.  Our philosophy becomes the history of our own heart and life.  As we find ourselves, so we imagine man in general and his destination.  Never impelled by any other motive than the desire of that which can be realized in this world, there is no true liberty for us, no liberty which has the reason for its destination absolutely and entirely in itself.  Our liberty, at the utmost, is that of the self-forming plant, no higher in its essence, only more curious in its result, not producing a form of matter with roots, leaves and blossoms, but a form of mind with impulses, thoughts, actions.  Of the true liberty we are positively unable to comprehend anything, because we are not in possession of it.  Whenever we hear it spoken of, we draw the words down to our own meaning, or briefly dismiss it with a sneer, as nonsense.  With the knowledge of liberty, the

Page 37

sense of another world is also lost to us.  Everything of this sort floats by like words which are not addressed to us; like an ash-gray shadow without color or meaning, which we cannot by any end take hold of and retain.  Without the least interest, we let everything go as it is stated.  Or if ever a robuster zeal impels us to consider it seriously, we see clearly and can demonstrate that all those ideas are untenable, hollow visions, which a man of sense casts from him.  And, according to the premises from which we set out and which are taken from our own innermost experience, we are quite right, and are alike unanswerable and unteachable, so long as we remain what we are.  The excellent doctrines which are current among the people, fortified with special authority, concerning freedom, duty and eternal life, change themselves for us into grotesque fables, like those of Tartarus and the Elysian fields, although we do not disclose the true opinion of our hearts, because we think it more advisable to keep the people in outward decency by means of these images.  Or if we are less reflective, and ourselves fettered by the bands of authority, then we sink, ourselves, to the true plebeian level, by believing that which, so understood, would be foolish fable; and by finding, in those purely spiritual indications, nothing but the promise of a continuance, to all eternity, of the same miserable existence which we lead here below.

To say all in a word:  Only through a radical reformation of my will does a new light arise upon my being and destination.  Without this, however much I may reflect, and however distinguished my mental endowments, there is nothing but darkness in me and around me.  The reformation of the heart alone conducts to true wisdom.  So then, let my whole life be directed unrestrainedly toward this one end!

IV

My lawful will, simply as such, in and through itself, must have consequences, certain and without exception.  Every dutiful determination of my will, although no act should flow from it, must operate in another, to me incomprehensible, world; and, except this dutiful determination of the will, nothing can take effect in that world.  What do I suppose when I suppose this?  What do I take for granted?

Evidently, a law, a rule absolutely and without exception valid, according to which the dutiful will must have consequences.  Just as in the earthly world which environs me, I assume a law according to which this ball, when impelled by my hand with this given force, in this given direction, must necessarily move in such a direction, with a determinate measure of rapidity, perhaps impel another ball with this given degree of force by which the other ball moves on with a determinate rapidity; and so on indefinitely.  As in this case, with the mere direction and movement of my hand, I know and comprehend all the directions and movements which shall follow it, as certainly as if they were

Page 38

already present and perceived by me; even so I comprise, in my dutiful will, a series of necessary and infallible consequences in the spiritual world, as if they were already present, only that I cannot, as in the material world, determine them—­i.e., I merely know that they shall be, not how they shall be.  I suppose a law of the spiritual world, in which my mere will is one of the moving forces, just as my hand is one of the moving forces in the material world.  That firmness of my confidence and the thought of this law of a spiritual world are one and the same thing—­not two thoughts of which one is the consequence of the other, but precisely the same thought, just as the certainty with which I count upon a certain motion, and the thought of a mechanical law of Nature, are the same.  The idea of Law expresses generally nothing else but the fixed, immovable reliance of Reason on a proposition, and the impossibility of supposing the contrary.

I assume such a law of a spiritual world, which my own will did not enact, nor the will of any finite being, nor the will of all finite beings together, but to which my will and the will of all finite beings is subject.

* * * * *

Agreeably to what has now been advanced, the law of the supersensuous world should be a Will.

A Will which acts purely and simply as will, by its own agency, entirely without any instrument or sensuous medium of its efficacy; which is absolutely, in itself, at once action and result; which wills and it is done, which commands and it stands fast; in which, accordingly, the demand of Reason to be absolutely free and self-active is represented.  A Will which is law in itself; which determines itself, not according to humor and caprice, not after previous deliberation, vacillation and doubt, but which is forever and unchangeably determined, and upon which one may reckon with infallible security, as the mortal reckons securely on the laws of his world.  A Will in which the lawful will of finite beings has inevitable consequences, but only their will, which is immovable to everything else, and for which everything else is as though it were not.

That sublime Will, therefore, does not pursue its course for itself, apart from the rest of Reason’s world.  There is between it and all finite, rational beings, a spiritual tie, and that Will itself is this spiritual tie of Reason’s world.  I will, purely and decidedly, my duty, and it then wills that I shall succeed, at least in the world of spirits.  Every lawful resolve of the finite will enters into it, and moves and determines it—­to speak after our fashion—­not in consequence of a momentary good pleasure, but in consequence of the eternal law of its being.

With astounding clearness it now stands before my soul, the thought which hitherto had been wrapped in darkness—­the thought that my will, merely as such, and of itself, has consequences.  It has consequences because it is infallibly and immediately taken knowledge of by another related Will, which is itself an act and the only life-principle of the spiritual world.  In that Will it has its first consequence, and only through that, in the rest of the spiritual world which, in all its parts, is but the product of that infinite Will.

Page 39

Thus I flow—­the mortal must use the language of mortals—­thus I flow in upon that Will; and the voice of conscience in my inmost being, which, in every situation of my life, instructs me what I have to do in that situation, is that by means of which it, in turn, flows in upon me.  That voice is the oracle from the eternal world, made sensible by my environment, and translated, by my reception of it, into my language; which announces to me how I must fit myself to my part in the order of the spiritual world, or to the infinite Will, which itself is the order of that spiritual world.  I cannot oversee or see through this spiritual order; nor need I. I am only a link in its chain, and can no more judge of the whole than a single tone in a song can judge of the harmony of the whole.  But what I myself should be, in the harmony of Spirits, I must know; for only I myself can make myself that, and it is immediately revealed to me by a voice which sounds over to me from that world.  Thus I stand in connection with the only being that exists, and partake of its being.  There is nothing truly real, permanent, imperishable in me, but these two—­the voice of my conscience and my free obedience.  By means of the first, the spiritual world bows down to me and embraces me, as one of its members.  By means of the second, I raise myself into this world, lay hold of it, and work in it.  But that infinite Will is the mediator between it and me; for, of it and me, that Will is the primal fountain.  This is the only true and imperishable reality, toward which my soul moves from its inmost depth.  All else is only phenomenon, and vanishes and returns again, with new seeming.

This Will connects me with itself.  The same connects me with all finite beings of my species, and is the universal mediator between us all.  That is the great mystery of the invisible world, and its fundamental law, so far as it is a world or system of several individual wills:  Union and direct reciprocal action of several self-subsisting and independent wills among one another—­a mystery which, even in the present life, lies clear before all eyes, without any one’s noticing it or thinking it worthy his admiration!  The voice of Conscience, which enjoins upon each one his proper duty, is the ray by which we proceed from the Infinite and are set forth as individual particular beings.  It defines the boundaries of our personality; it is, therefore, our true original constituent, the foundation and the stuff of all the life which we live.

* * * * *

That eternal Will, then, is indeed world-creator, as he alone can be—­in the finite reason (the only creation which is needed).  They who suppose him to build a world out of eternal inert matter, which world, in that case, could be nothing else but inert and lifeless, like implements fashioned by human hands and not an eternal process of self-development, or who think they can imagine the going forth of a

Page 40

material something out of nothing, know neither the world nor him.  If matter only is something, then there is nowhere anything, and nowhere, in all eternity, can anything be.  Only Reason is:  the infinite reason in itself, and the finite in and through the infinite.  Only in our minds does he create the world, or, at least, that from which we unfold it, and that whereby we unfold it—­the call to duty, and the feelings, perceptions and laws of thought agreeing therewith.  It is his light whereby we see light and all that appears to us in that light.  In our minds he is continually fashioning this world, and interposing in it by interposing in our minds with the call of duty, whenever another free agent effects a change therein.  In our minds he maintains this world, and, therewith, our finite existence, of which alone we are capable, in that he causes to arise out of our states new states continually.  After he has proved us sufficiently for our next destination, according to his higher aim, and when we shall have cultivated ourselves for the same, he will annihilate this world for us by what we call death, and introduce us into a new one, the product of our dutiful action in this.  All our life is his life.  We are in his hand, and remain in it, and no one can pluck us out of it.  We are eternal because he is eternal.

Sublime, living Will, whom no name can name, and whom no conception can grasp!—­well may I raise my mind to thee, for thou and I are not divided.  Thy voice sounds in me, and mine sounds back in thee; and all my thoughts, if only they are true and good, are thought in thee.  In thee, the Incomprehensible, I become comprehensible to myself, and entirely comprehend the world.  All the riddles of my existence are solved, and the most perfect harmony arises in my mind.

Thou art best apprehended by childlike simplicity, devoted to thee.  To it thou art the heart-searcher who lookest through its innermost thoughts; the all-present, faithful witness of its sentiments, who alone knowest that it meaneth well, and who alone understandest it, when misunderstood by all the world.  Thou art to it a Father, whose purposes toward it are ever kind, and who will order everything for its best good.  It submitteth itself wholly, with body and soul, to thy beneficent decrees.  Do with me as thou wilt, it saith, I know that it shall be good, so surely as it is thou that dost it.  The speculative understanding, which has only heard of thee but has never seen thee, would teach us to know thy being in itself, and sets before us an inconsistent monster which it gives out for thine image, ridiculous to the merely knowing, hateful and detestable to the wise and good.

I veil my face before thee and lay my hand upon my mouth.  How thou art in thyself, and how thou appearest to thyself, I can never know, as surely as I can never be thou.  After thousand times thousand spirit-lives lived through, I shall no more be able to comprehend thee than now, in this hut of earth.  That which I comprehend becomes, by my comprehension of it, finite; and this can never, by an endless process of magnifying and exalting, be changed into infinite.  Thou differest from the finite, not only in degree but in kind.  By that magnifying process they make thee only a greater and still greater man, but never God, the Infinite, incapable of measure.

Page 41

* * * * *

I will not attempt that which is denied to me by my finite nature, and which could avail me nothing.  I desire not to know how thou art in thyself.  But thy relations and connections with me, the finite, and with all finite beings, lie open to mine eye, when I become what I should be.  They encompass me with a more luminous clearness than the consciousness of my own being.  Thou workest in me the knowledge of my duty, of my destination in the series of rational beings.  How?  I know not, and need not to know.  Thou knowest and perceivest what I think and will.  How thou canst know it—­by what act thou bringest this consciousness to pass—­on that point I comprehend nothing.  Yea, I know very well that the idea of an act, of a special act of consciousness, applies only to me but not to thee, the Infinite.  Thou willest, because thou willest, that my free obedience shall have consequences in all eternity.  The act of thy will I cannot comprehend; I only know that it is not like to mine.  Thou doest, and thy will itself is deed.  But thy method of action is directly contrary to that of which, alone, I can form a conception.  Thou livest and art, for thou knowest, and willest, and workest, omnipresent to finite Reason.  But thou art not such as through all eternity I shall alone be able to conceive of Being.

In the contemplation of these thy relations to me, the finite, I will be calm and blessed.  I know immediately, only what I must do.  This will I perform undisturbed and joyful, and without philosophizing.  For it is thy voice which commands me, it is the ordination of the spiritual world-plan concerning me, and the power by which I perform it is thy power.  Whatsoever is commanded me by that voice, whatsoever is accomplished by this power, is surely and truly good in relation to that plan.  I am calm in all the events of this world, for they occur in thy world.  Nothing can deceive, or surprise, or make me afraid, so surely as thou livest and I behold thy life.  For in thee and through thee, O infinite One, I behold even my present world in another light!  Nature and natural consequences in the destinies and actions of free beings, in view of thee, are empty, unmeaning words.  There is no Nature more.  Thou, thou alone, art.

It no longer appears to me the aim of the present world that the above-mentioned state of universal peace among men, and of their unconditioned empire over the mechanism of Nature, should be brought about merely that it may exist, but that it should be brought about by man himself, and, since it is calculated for all, then it should be brought about by all, as one great, free, moral community.  Nothing new and better for the individual, except through his dutiful will, nothing new and better for the community, except through their united, dutiful will, is the fundamental law of the great moral kingdom of which the present life is a part.

Page 42

The reason why the good-will of the individual is so often lost for this world, is that it is only the will of the individual, and that the will of the majority does not coincide with it; therefore it has no consequences but those which belong to a future world.  Hence, even the passions and vices of men appear to cooeperate in the promotion of a better state, not in and for themselves—­in this sense good can never come out of evil—­but by furnishing a counter-poise to opposite vices, and finally annihilating those vices and themselves by their preponderance.  Oppression could never have gained the upper hand unless cowardice, and baseness, and mutual distrust had prepared the way for it.  It will continue to increase until it eradicates cowardice and the slavish mind; and despair re-awakens the courage that was lost.  Then the two antagonistic vices will have destroyed each other, and the noblest in all human relations, permanent freedom, will have come forth from them.

The actions of free beings have, strictly speaking, no other consequences than those which affect other free beings.  For only in such, and for such, does a world exist; and that, wherein all agree, is the world.  But they have consequences in free agents only by means of the infinite Will, by which all individuals exist.  A call, a revelation of that Will to us, is always a requirement to perform some particular duty.  Hence, even that which we call evil in the world, the consequence of the abuse of freedom, exists only through him; and it exists for all, for whom it exists, only so far as it imposes duties upon them.  Did it not fall within the eternal plan of our moral education and the education of our whole race that precisely these duties should be laid upon us, they would not have been imposed; and that whereby they are imposed, and which we call evil, would never have been.  In this view, everything which takes place is good, and absolutely accordant with the best ends.  There is but one world possible—­a thoroughly good one.  Everything that occurs in this world conduces to the reformation and education of man, and, by means of that, to the furtherance of his earthly destination.

It is this higher world-plan that we call Nature, when we say Nature leads men through want to industry, through the evils of general disorder to a righteous polity, through the miseries of their perpetual wars to final, ever-during peace.  Thy will, O Infinite, thy providence alone, is this higher Nature!  This too is best understood by artless simplicity, which regards this life as a place of discipline and education, as a school for eternity; which, in all the fortunes it experiences, the most trivial as well as the most momentous, beholds thy ordinations designed for good; and which firmly believes that all things will work together for good to those who love their duty and know thee.

O truly have I spent the former days of my life in darkness!  Truly have I heaped errors upon errors, and thought myself wise!  Now only out of thy mouth, wondrous Spirit, I fully understand the doctrine which seemed so strange to me![3] although my understanding had nothing to oppose to it.  For now only I overlook it, in its whole extent, in its deepest meaning, and in all its consequences.

Page 43

Man is not a product of the world of the senses; and the end of his existence can never be attained in that world.  His destination lies beyond time and space and all that pertains to the senses.  He must know what he is and what he is to make himself.  As his destination is sublime, so his thought must be able to lift itself above all the bounds of the senses.  This must be his calling.  Where his being is indigenous, there his thought must be indigenous also; and the most truly human view, that which alone befits him, that in which his whole power of thought is represented, is the view by which he lifts himself above those limits, by which all that is of the senses is changed for him into pure nothing, a mere reflection in mortal eyes of the alone enduring, non-sensuous.

Many have been elevated to this view without scientific thought, simply by their great heart and their pure moral instinct; because they lived especially with the heart, and in the sentiments.  They denied, by their conduct, the efficacy and reality of the world of the senses; and in the shaping of their purposes and measures, they esteemed as nothing that concerning which they had not yet learned by thinking that it is nothing, even to thought.  They who could say, “our citizenship is in heaven; we have here no permanent place, but seek one to come;” they whose first principle was, to die to the world and to be born anew, and, even here, to enter into another life—­they, truly, placed not the slightest value upon all the objects of sense, and were, to use the language of the School, practical transcendental Idealists.

Others who, in addition to the sensuous activity which is native to us all, have, by their thought, confirmed themselves in the sensuous, become implicated, and, as it were, grown together with it; they can raise themselves permanently and perfectly above the sensuous only by continuing and carrying out their thought.  Otherwise, with the purest moral intentions, they will still be drawn down again by their understanding, and their whole being will remain a continued and insoluble contradiction.  For such, that philosophy, which I now first entirely understand, is the power by which Psyche first strips off her chrysalis, unfolds the wings on which she then hovers above herself, and casts one glance on the slough she has dropped, thenceforth to live and work in higher spheres.

Blessed be the hour in which I resolved to meditate on myself and my destination!  All my questions are solved.  I know what I can know, and I am without anxiety concerning that which I cannot know.  I am satisfied.  There is perfect harmony and clearness in my spirit, and a new and more glorious existence for that spirit begins.

Page 44

My whole, complete destination, I do not comprehend.  What I am called to be and shall be, surpasses all my thought.  A part of this destination is yet hidden to me, visible only to him, the Father of Spirits, to whom it is committed.  I know only that it is secured to me, and that it is eternal and glorious as himself.  But that portion of it which is committed to me, I know.  I know it entirely, and it is the root of all my other knowledge.  I know, in every moment of my life, with certainty, what I am to do in that moment.  And this is my whole destination, so far as it depends upon me.  From this, since my knowledge goes no farther, I must not depart.  I must not desire to know anything beyond it.  I must stand fast in this one centre, and take root in it.  All my scheming and striving, and all my faculty, must be directed to that.  My whole existence must inweave itself with it.

* * * * *

I raise myself to this viewpoint, and am a new creature.  My whole relation to the existing world is changed.  The threads by which my mind was heretofore bound to this world, and by whose mysterious traction it followed all the movements of this world, are forever severed, and I stand free—­myself, my own world, peaceful and unmoved.  No longer with the heart, with the eye alone, I seize the objects about me, and, through the eye alone, am connected with them.  And this eye itself, made clearer by freedom, looks through error and deformity to the true and the beautiful; as, on the unmoved surface of the water, forms mirror themselves pure and with a softened light.

My mind is forever closed against embarrassment and confusion, against doubt and anxiety; my heart is forever closed against sorrow, and remorse, and desire.  There is but one thing that I care to know:  What I must do; and this I know, infallibly, always.  Concerning all besides I know nothing, and I know that I know nothing; and I root myself fast in this my ignorance, and forbear to conjecture, to opine, to quarrel with myself concerning that of which I know nothing.  No event in this world can move me to joy, and none to sorrow.  Cold and unmoved I look down upon them all; for I know that I cannot interpret one of them, nor discern its connection with that which is my only concern.  Everything which takes place belongs to the plan of the eternal world, and is good in relation to that plan; so much I know.  But what, in that plan, is pure gain, and what is only meant to remove existing evil, accordingly what I should most or least rejoice in, I know not.  In his world everything succeeds.  This suffices me, and in this faith I stand firm as a rock.  But what in his world is only germ, what blossom, what the fruit itself, I know not.  The only thing which can interest me is the progress of reason and morality in the kingdom of rational beings—­and that purely for its own sake, for the sake of the progress.  Whether I am the instrument of

Page 45

this progress or another, whether it is my act which succeeds or is thwarted, or whether it is the act of another, is altogether indifferent to me.  I regard myself in every case but as one of the instruments of a rational design, and I honor and love myself, and am interested in myself, only as such; and I wish the success of my act only so far as it goes to accomplish that end.  Therefore I regard all the events of this world in the same manner and only with exclusive reference to this one end—­whether they proceed from me or from another, whether they relate to me immediately, or to others.  My breast is closed against all vexation on account of personal mortifications and affronts, against all exaltation on account of personal merits; for my entire personality has long since vanished and been swallowed up in the contemplation of the end.

* * * * *

Bodily sufferings, pain and sickness, should such befal me, I cannot avoid to feel, for they are events of my nature, and I am and remain nature here below.  But they shall not trouble me.  They affect only the Nature with which I am, in some strange way, connected; not myself, the being which is elevated above all Nature.  The sure end of all pain, and of all susceptibility of pain, is death; and of all which the natural man is accustomed to regard as evil, this is the least so to me.  Indeed, I shall not die for myself, but only for others, for those that remain behind, from whose connection I am severed.  For myself, the hour of death is the hour of birth to a new and more glorious life.

Since my heart is thus closed to all desire for the earthly, since, in fact, I have no longer any heart for the perishable, the universe appears to my eye in a transfigured form.  The dead inert mass which but choked up space has vanished; and, instead thereof, flows, and waves, and rushes the eternal stream of life, and power, and deed—­of the original life, of thy life, O Infinite!  For all life is thy life, and only the religious eye pierces to the kingdom of veritable beauty.

I am related to thee, and all that I behold around me is related to me.  All is quick, all is soul, and gazes upon me with bright spirit-eyes, and speaks in spirit-tones to my heart.  Most diversely sundered and severed, I behold, in all the forms without me, myself again, and beam upon myself from them, as the morning sun, in thousand dew-drops diversely refracted, glitters back toward itself.

Thy life, as the finite being can apprehend it, is volition which shapes and represents itself by means of itself alone.  This life, made sensible in various ways to mortal eyes, flows through me and from me downward, through the immeasurable whole of Nature.  Here it streams, as self-creating, self-fashioning matter, through my veins and muscles, and deposits its fulness outside of me, in the tree, in the plant, in the grass.  As one connected stream, drop by drop, the forming life flows in all shapes and on

Page 46

all sides, wherever my eye can follow it, and looks upon me, from every point of the universe, with a different aspect, as the same force which fashions my own body in darkness and in secret.  Yonder it waves free, and leaps and dances as self-forming motion in the brute; and, in every new body, represents itself as another separate, self-subsisting world—­the same power which, invisible to me, stirs and moves in my own members.  All that lives follows this universal current, this one principle of all movement, which transmits the harmonious concussion from one end of the universe to the other.  The brute follows it without freedom.  I, from whom, in the visible world, the movement proceeds (without, therefore, originating in me), follow it freely.

But, pure and holy, and near to thine own essence as aught, to mortal apprehension, can be, this thy life flows forth as a band which binds spirits with spirits in one, as air and ether of the one world of Reason, inconceivable and incomprehensible, and yet lying plainly revealed to the spiritual eye.  Conducted by this light-stream, thought floats unrestrained and the same from soul to soul, and returns purer and transfigured from the kindred breast.  Through this mystery the individual finds, and understands, and loves himself, only in another; and every spirit detaches itself only from other spirits; and there is no man, but only a Humanity; no isolated thinking, and loving, and hating, but only a thinking, and loving, and hating in and through one another.  Through this mystery the affinity of spirits, in the invisible world, streams forth into their corporeal nature, and represents itself in two sexes, which, though every spiritual band could be severed, are still constrained, as natural beings, to love each other.  It flows forth into the affection of parents and children, of brothers and sisters, as if the souls were sprung from one blood as well as the bodies—­as if the minds were branches and blossoms of the same stem; and from thence it embraces, in narrower or wider circles, the whole sentient world.  Even the hatred of spirits is grounded in thirst for love; and no enmity springs up, except from friendship denied.

Mine eye discerns this eternal life and motion, in all the veins of sensuous and spiritual Nature, through what seems to others a dead mass.  And it sees this life forever ascend, and grow, and transfigure itself into a more spiritual expression of its own nature.  The universe is no longer, to me, that circle which returns into itself, that game which repeats itself without ceasing, that monster which devours itself in order to reproduce itself as it was before.  It is spiritualized to my contemplation, and bears the peculiar impress of the spirit—­continual progress toward perfection, in a straight line which stretches into infinity.

The sun rises and sets, the stars vanish and return again, and all the spheres hold their cycle-dance.  But they never return precisely such as they disappeared; and in the shining fountains of life there is also life and progress.  Every hour which they bring, every morning and every evening, sinks down with new blessings on the world.  New life and new love drop from the spheres, as dew-drops from the cloud, and embrace Nature, as the cool night embraces the earth.

Page 47

All death in Nature is birth; and precisely in dying the sublimation of life appears most conspicuous.  There is no death-bringing principle in Nature, for Nature is only life, throughout.  Not death kills, but the more living life, which, hidden behind the old, begins and unfolds itself.  Death and birth are only the struggle of life with itself to manifest itself in ever more transfigured form, more like itself.

And my death—­can that be anything different from this?—­I, who am not a mere representation and copy of life, but who bear within myself the original, the alone true and essential life!  It is not a possible thought that Nature should annihilate a life which did not spring from her—­Nature, which exists only for my sake, not I for hers.

But even my natural life, even this mere representation of an inward invisible life to mortal eyes, Nature cannot annihilate; otherwise she must be able to annihilate herself—­she who exists only for me and for my sake, and who ceases to exist, if I am not.  Even because she puts me to death she must quicken me anew.  It can be only my higher life, unfolding itself in her, before which my present life disappears; and that which mortals call death is the visible appearing of a second vivification.  Did no rational being, who has once beheld its light, perish from the earth, there would be no reason to expect a new heaven and a new earth.  The only possible aim of Nature, that of representing and maintaining Reason, would have been already fulfilled here below, and her circle would be complete.  But the act by which she puts to death a free, self-subsisting being, is her solemn—­to all Reason apparent—­transcending of that act, and of the entire sphere which she thereby closes.  The apparition of death is the conductor by which my spiritual eye passes over to the new life of myself, and of a Nature for me.

Every one of my kind who passes from earthly connections, and who cannot, to my spirit, seem annihilated, because he is one of my kind, draws my thought over with him.  He still is, and to him belongs a place.

While we, here below, sorrow for him with such sorrow as would be felt, if possible, in the dull kingdom of unconsciousness, when a human being withdraws himself from thence to the light of earth’s sun—­while we so mourn, on yonder side there is joy because a man is born into their world; as we citizens of earth receive with joy our own.  When I, some time, shall follow them, there will be for me only joy; for sorrow remains behind, in the sphere which I quit.

It vanishes and sinks before my gaze—­the world which I so lately admired.  With all the fulness of life, of order, of increase, which I behold in it, it is but the curtain by which an infinitely more perfect world is concealed from me.  It is but the germ out of which that infinitely more perfect shall unfold itself.  My faith enters behind this curtain, and warms and quickens this germ.  It sees nothing definite, but expects more than it can grasp here below, than it will ever be able to grasp in time.

Page 48

So I live and so I am; and so I am unchangeable, firm and complete for all eternity.  For this being is not one which I have received from without; it is my own only true being and essence.

ADDRESSES TO THE GERMAN NATION

(1807 to 1808)

TRANSLATED BY LOUIS H. GRAY, PH.D.

ADDRESS EIGHT

The Definition of a Nation in the Higher Sense of the Word, and of Patriotism

The last four addresses have answered the question, What is the German as contrasted with other nations of Teutonic origin?  The argument will be complete if we further add the examination of the question, What is a nation?  The latter question is identical with another, and, at the same time, the other question, which has often been propounded and has been answered in very different ways, helps in the solution.  This question is, What is patriotism, or, as it would be more correctly expressed, What is the love of the individual for his nation?

If we have thus far proceeded aright in the course of our investigation, it must become obvious therefrom that only the German—­the primitive man, not he who has become petrified by arbitrary laws and institutions—­really has a nation and is entitled to count on one, and that only he is capable of real and rational love for his nation.

We smooth our way to a solution of our proposed task by means of the following remark, which appears, at first sight, to lie outside the context of our previous discussion.

As we have already observed in our third address, religion is able absolutely to transport us above all time and above the whole of present and perceptual life without doing the least injury to the justice, morality, and holiness of the life influenced by this belief.  Even with the certain conviction that all our activity on this earth will not leave the least trace behind it and will not produce the slightest results, and even with the belief that the divine may actually be perverse and may be used as a tool of evil and of still deeper moral corruption, it is, nevertheless, possible to continue in this activity simply in order to maintain the divine life that has come forth within us and that stands in relation to a higher governance of things in a future world where nothing perishes that has been done in God.  Thus, for instance, the apostles and the first Christians generally, even while living, were wholly transported above the earth because of their belief in heaven; and affairs terrestrial—­state, fatherland, and nation—­were so entirely renounced that they no longer deemed such trivial concerns worthy even of their consideration.  However possible this may be, however easy, moreover, for faith, and however joyfully we may resign ourselves to the conviction, since it is unalterably the will of God, that we have no more an earthly country but

Page 49

are exiles and slaves here below—­nevertheless, this is not the natural condition and the rule governing the course of the world, but is a rare exception.  Moreover, it is a very perverse use of religion (and, among others, Christianity has frequently been guilty of it) when, as a question of principle and without regard to the existent circumstances, it proceeds to commend this withdrawal from the affairs of the state and of the nation as a truly religious sentiment.  Under such conditions, if they are true and real and not perhaps induced merely by religious fanaticism, temporal life loses all its independence and becomes simply a fore-court of the true life and a hard trial to be borne only by obedience and submission to the will of God; in this view it becomes true that, as has been claimed by many, immortal souls have been plunged into earthly bodies, as into prisons, simply as a punishment.  In the regular order of things, however, earthly life should itself truly be life in which we may rejoice and which we may thankfully enjoy, even though in expectation of a higher life; and although it is true that religion is also the comfort of the slave illegally oppressed, yet, above all things, the essence of religion is to oppose slavery and to prevent, so far as possible, its deterioration to a mere consolation of the captive.  It is doubtless to the interest of the tyrant to preach religious resignation and to refer to heaven those to whom he will not grant a tiny place on earth; we must, however, be less hasty to adopt the view of religion recommended by the tyrant, for, if we can, we must forestall the making of earth into hell in order to arouse a still greater longing for heaven.

The natural impulse of man, to be surrendered only in case of real necessity, is to find heaven already on this earth and to amalgamate into his earthly work day by day that which lasts forever; to plant and to cultivate the imperishable in the temporal itself—­not merely in an unconceivable way, connected with the eternal solely by the gulf which mortal eyes may not pass, but in a manner which is visible to the mortal eye itself.

That I may begin with this generally intelligible example—­what noble-minded man does not wish and aspire to repeat his own life in better wise in his children and, again, in their children, and still to continue to live upon this earth, ennobled and perfected in their lives, long after he is dead; to wrest from mortality the spirit, the mind, and the character with which in his day he perchance put perversity and corruption to flight, established uprightness, aroused sluggishness, and uplifted dejection, and to deposit these, as his best legacy to posterity, in the spirits of his survivors, in order that, in their turn, they may again bequeath them equally adorned and augmented?  What noble-minded man does not wish, by act or thought, to sow a seed for the infinite and eternal perfecting of his race; to cast into Time

Page 50

something new and hitherto non-existent, which may abide there and become the unfailing source of new creations; to repay, for his place on this earth and for the short span of life vouchsafed him, something that shall last forever even here on earth—­to the end that he as an individual, even though unnamed by history (since thirst for fame is contemptible vanity), may leave behind in his own consciousness and in his own belief manifest tokens that he himself existed?  What noble-minded man does not wish this, I asked; yet the world is to be considered as organized only in accordance with the requirements of those who thus view themselves as the norm of how all men should be.  It is for their sakes alone that the world exists!  They are indeed its kernel; and those who think otherwise must be regarded as merely a part of the transitory world so long as they reason on so low a plane, for they exist merely for the sake of the noble-minded and must accommodate themselves to the latter until they have risen to their height.

What, now, could it be that might give solid foundation to this challenge and to this belief of the noble in the eternity and the imperishability of his work?  Obviously, only an order of things which he could recognize as eternal in itself and as capable of receiving eternal elements within itself.  Such an order is, however, the special, spiritual nature of human surroundings, which can, it is true, be comprised in no concept, but which is, nevertheless, truly present—­the surroundings from which he has himself come forth with all his thought and activity and with his faith in their eternity—­the nation from which he is descended, amid which he was educated and grew up to what he now is.  For however undoubtedly true it may be that his work, if he rightly lays claim to its eternity, is in no wise the mere result of the spiritual, natural law of his nation, simply merging into this result—­no, it must be thought of as an element greater than that—­a something which flows immediately from the primitive and divine life.  Nevertheless, it is equally true that this something more, immediately after its formation as a visible phenomenon, has subordinated itself to that special spiritual law of nature, has acquired a perceptual expression only in accordance with that law.  Under this same natural law, so long as this nation endures, all further revelations of the divine will also appear and be formed within it.  Yet, through the fact that the man existed and so labored, this law itself is further determined, and his activity has become a permanent component of it; everything subsequent will likewise be compelled to adapt itself accordingly and to conform to the law in question.  And thus he is made certain that the culture which he has achieved remains with his nation for all time and becomes a permanent basis of determination for all its further development.

Page 51

In the higher conception of the word considered in general from the viewpoint of an insight into a spiritual world, a nation is this:  The totality of human beings living together in society and constantly perpetuating themselves both bodily and spiritually; and this totality stands altogether under a certain specific law through which the divine develops itself.  The universality of this specific law is what binds this multitude into a natural totality, inter-penetrated by itself, in the eternal world, and, for that very reason, in the temporal world as well.  The law itself, in its essence, can be generally comprehended as we have applied it to the case of the Germans as a primal nation; through consideration of the phenomena of such a nation it may be even more exactly grasped in many of its further determinations; yet it can never be entirely understood by any one who, unknown to himself, personally remains continually under its influence; it may in general, however, be clearly perceived that such a law exists.  This law is a surplus of the figurative which amalgamates directly with the surplus of the unfigurative primitiveness in the phenomenon, and thus, precisely in the phenomenon, both are then no longer separable.  That law absolutely determines and completes what has been called the national character of a people—­the law, namely, of the development of the primitive and of the divine.  From the latter it is clear that men who do not in the least believe in a primitive being and in a further development of it, but simply in an eternal circle of visible life, and who, through their belief, become what they believe, are no nation whatsoever in the higher sense; and since they do not, strictly speaking, actually exist, they are equally powerless to possess a national character.

The belief of the noble-minded man in the eternal continuance of his activity, even upon this earth, is based, accordingly, on the hope for the eternal continuance of the nation from which he has himself developed, and of its individuality in accordance with that hidden law, without intermixture and corruption by any alien element and by what does not appertain to the totality of this legislation.  This individuality is the permanent element to which he intrusts the eternity of himself and of his continued action—­the eternal order of things in which he lays his perpetuity.  He must desire its continuance, for it is alone the releasing agency whereby the brief span of his life here is extended to a continuous life upon the earth.  His belief and his endeavor to plant what shall not pass away, and the concept in which he comprehends his own life as an eternal life, constitute the bond which most intimately associates with himself, first, his own nation and, through that, the entire human race—­which brings the needs of them all, to the end of time, into his broadened heart.  This is his love for his nation, and through it, first, he respects, trusts, rejoices in it, and takes pride

Page 52

in his descent from it; the Divine has appeared in it, and has deigned to make it his covering and his means of direct communication with the world; the Divine, therefore, will continue to break forth from it.  Therefore man is, secondly, active, efficacious, and self-sacrificing for his nation.  Life, simply as life, as a continuance of changing existence, has certainly never possessed value for him apart from this—­he has desired it merely as the source of the permanent.  This permanence, however, alone promises him the independent continuance of the existence of his nation; and to save this he must even be willing to die that it may live, and that in it he may live the only life that has ever been possible to him.

Thus it is.  Love, to be really love, and not merely a transitory desire, never clings to the perishable, but is awakened and kindled by, and based upon, the eternal only.  Man is not even able to love himself unless he consider himself as eternal; moreover, he cannot even esteem and approve himself.  Still less can he love anything outside himself, except, that is, that he receive it within the eternity of his belief and of his soul, and connect it with this eternity.  He who does not, first of all, regard himself as eternal, has no love whatever, nor can he, moreover, love a fatherland, since nothing of the sort exists for him.  It is true that he who, perchance, regards his invisible life as eternal, but who does not, therefore, esteem his visible life as eternal in the same sense, may perhaps have a heaven, and in this his fatherland, but here on earth he has no fatherland; for this also is seen only under the metaphor of eternity and, indeed, of visible eternity, rendered perceptible to the senses; moreover, he cannot, therefore, love his fatherland.  If such a man has none, he is to be pitied; but he to whom one has been given, and in whose soul heaven and earth, the invisible and the visible, interpenetrate, and thus for the first time create a true and worthy heaven, fights to the last drop of his blood again to transmit the precious possession undiminished to posterity.

Thus has it been from time immemorial, though it has not been expressed from time immemorial with this generality and with this clearness.  What inspired the noble spirits among the Romans, whose sentiments and mode of thought still live and breathe among us in their monuments, to struggle and to sacrifice, to endure and be patient, for their fatherland?  They themselves state it frequently and clearly.  It was their firm belief in the eternal continuance of their Rome, and their confident expectation of themselves continuing to live in this eternity.  In so far as this conviction had foundation, and in so far as they themselves would have grasped it if they had been perfectly clear within themselves, it never deceived them.

Unto this day what was really eternal in their eternal Rome lives on and they with it in our midst, and it will continue to live, in its results, until the end of time.

Page 53

In this sense—­as the vehicle and the pledge of earthly eternity, and the interpretation of the eternal here—­nation and fatherland far transcend the State in the ordinary sense of the term social organization, as this is conceived in its simple, clear connotation, and as it is founded and maintained in accordance with this conception—­a conception which demands sure justice and internal peace, and requires that every one through his efforts obtain his support and the prolongation of his sentient existence so long as God will grant it to him.  All this is only a means, a condition, and a scaffolding of what patriotism really means—­the development of the eternal and the divine in the world, which is ever to become purer, more perfect in infinite progression.  For that very reason this patriotism must, first of all, rule the State itself as absolutely the highest, ultimate, and independent authority, by limiting it in the choice of means for its immediate purpose—­inner peace.  To reach this goal, the natural freedom of the individual must be limited in many ways, it is true; and if this were absolutely the only consideration and intention regarding them, it would be well to restrict this liberty as closely as possible, in order to bring all their movements under one uniform rule, and to keep them under constant supervision.  Granted that such severity be necessary, it could at least do no harm for this single end; only the higher concept of the human race and of the nations widens this limited view.  Even in the manifestations of external life freedom is the soil in which the higher culture germinates; a legislation which keeps this later aim in view will give the broadest possible scope to freedom, even at the risk that a less degree of uniform quiet and calm may result, and that government may become a little more difficult and laborious.

To elucidate this by an example—­it has been known to happen that nations have been told to their faces that they did not require as much freedom as many other nations do.  This statement might, indeed, be dictated by forbearance and a desire to palliate, the true meaning being that they were utterly unable to endure so great freedom and that only a high degree of rigidity could prevent them from destroying one another.  If, however, the words are taken as they are spoken, they are true under the presupposition that such a nation is entirely incapable of the natural life and of the impulse toward it.  Such a nation—­in case such a one, in which some few of the nobler sort did not make an exception to the general rule, were possible—­would indeed require no freedom whatever, since this is only for the higher ends which transcend the State; it requires simply taming and training in order that the individuals may live peaceably side by side, and that the whole may be made an efficient means for arbitrary ends which lie outside its proper sphere.  We need not decide whether this may truthfully be said of any nation whatever; but this much is clear, that a primitive nation requires freedom, that this freedom is the pledge of its persistence as a primitive people, and that, as it continues, it bears, without any danger, an ever ascending degree of freedom.  And this is the first example of the necessity of patriotism governing the state itself.

Page 54

It must, then, be patriotism which governs the state in that it sets for it itself a higher end than the ordinary one of the maintenance of the internal peace, of the property, of the personal freedom, of the life, and of the well-being of all.  Solely for this higher end, and with no other intention, the state assembles an armed force.  When the problem of the application of this armed force arises, when it is a question of hazarding all the aims of the state in the abstract-property, personal freedom, life, welfare, and the continuance of the state itself—­when, answerable to God alone, they are called upon to decide without a clear and rational conception of the sure attainment of the end in view, which in matters of this sort it is never possible to gain—­then only the true primitive life holds the rudder of the state, and here for the first time enters the true sovereign right of the government, like God, to imperil the lower life for the sake of the higher.  In the maintenance of the traditional organization, of the laws, and of civic welfare, there is absolutely no genuine life and no primitive decision.  Circumstances and situations, legislators who have perhaps long been dead, have created those things; succeeding ages go trustingly forward in the road they have entered, and thus, as a matter of fact, they do not live a public life of their own, but merely repeat a former.  In such periods there is no need of a real government.  If, however, this uniform progress is imperiled, and the problem arises of deciding with reference to new cases, then a life is required which has its roots in itself.  What spirit is it, now, which in such cases may take its place at the helm, which is able to decide with individual certainty and without uneasy wavering, and which has an indubitable right authoritatively to lay demands upon every one who may be concerned, whether he will or not, and to compel the recalcitrant to imperil everything, even to his life?  Not the spirit of calm civilian love for the constitution and the laws, but the burning flame of the higher patriotism which regards the nation as the veil of the eternal, for which the noble joyfully sacrifices himself, and for which the ignoble, who exists only for the sake of the noble, should also sacrifice himself!  It is not that civilian love for the constitution, for this is absolutely incapable of such action if it is founded on reason only.

Whatever may be the outcome, since governance is not unrewarded, some one will always be found to take charge of it.  Let the new ruler even favor slavery (and in what does slavery consist except in contempt and suppression of the individuality of a primitive people?), since advantage may be derived from the life of slaves, from their number, and even from their welfare, then slavery will be endurable under him provided he is a calculator to any extent.  They will at least always find life and support.  Why, then, should they thus struggle?  According to

Page 55

both of them, it is peace which transcends everything in their opinion, but this is disturbed only by the continuance of the struggle.  The slave, therefore, puts forth every effort to end it quickly; he will yield and submit—­and why should he not?  He never had a higher purpose, and he has never expected anything more from life than the continuance of his existence under endurable conditions.  The promise of a life lasting, even here, beyond the duration of earthly life—­this alone is what can inspire him to death for the fatherland.

Thus it has always been.  Wheresoever real government has existed, where serious struggles have been fought out, where victory has been won against mighty resistance, it has been the promise of eternal life that governed and fought and conquered.  The German Protestants, formerly mentioned in these addresses, fought with faith in this promise.  Did they not perhaps know that nations might also be governed with the old faith and be held in legal order, and that a good livelihood might be found under this faith also?  Why, then, did their princes thus determine upon armed resistance, and why did their peoples lend themselves to it with enthusiasm?  It was heaven and eternal happiness for which they gladly shed their blood.  Yet what earthly power could then have penetrated into the inmost sanctuary of their souls and have been able to eradicate the faith which had now once sprung up within them, and on which alone they based their hope of salvation?  It was not, therefore, their own happiness for which they struggled—­of that they were already assured; it was the happiness of their children, of their grandchildren still unborn, and of all posterity.  These, too, should be brought up in the same doctrine which alone seemed to them to bring salvation; they, too, should share in the salvation which had dawned for them.  It was this hope alone that was threatened by the foe; for that hope, for an order of things which should bloom above their graves long after they were dead, they shed their blood thus joyfully.  If we grant that they were not entirely clear to themselves, that in their designation of the noblest they verbally mistook what was within them, and with their mouths did injustice to their souls; if we willingly acknowledge that their confession of faith was not the sole and exclusive means of attaining heaven beyond the grave—­yet, this, at least, is eternally true that more heaven on this side of the grave, a more courageous and more joyous lifting of the gaze above the earth, and a freer impulse of spirit have come through their sacrifice into all the life of succeeding ages; and the descendants of their opponents, as well as we ourselves, their own descendants, enjoy the fruits of their labors unto this day.

Page 56

In this belief our oldest common ancestors, the parent nation of civilization, the Teutons whom the Romans called Germans, boldly opposed the advancing world-dominion of the Romans.  Did they not then see before their eyes the higher bloom of the Roman provinces near them, the more refined enjoyments in them, and, in addition, laws, judgment-seats, rods, and axes in superabundance?  Were not the Romans willing enough to allow them to share in all these blessings?  Did they not experience, in the case of several of their own princes who had allowed themselves to be persuaded that war against such benefactors of humanity was rebellion, proofs of the lauded Roman clemency, since Rome adorned these submissive lords with kingly titles, with generalships in their armies, and with Roman fillets, and gave them, if, perchance, they had been driven out by their compatriots, maintenance and a place of refuge in their colonies?  Had they no feeling for the advantages of Roman culture, as, for example, for the better organization of their armies, in which even an Arminius did not disdain to learn the trade of war?  None of all these ignorances or negligences is to be charged against them.  Their descendents even adopted the culture of the Romans as soon as they could do it without loss of their freedom and in so far as it was possible without impairment of their individuality.  Why did they, then, thus struggle for several generations in sanguinary war, ever renewed with the same virulence?  A Roman author makes their leaders ask “whether anything was then left for them except either to assert their freedom or to die before they became slaves?” Freedom meant to them that they remained Germans, that they continued to decide their affairs independently, in conformity with their national genius, and, likewise in conformity with this spirit, that they continued to go forward in their development and transmitted this independence to their posterity; slavery meant to them all the blessings which the Romans offered them, because in that case they must be something else than Germans—­they might be half Romans.  It is self-evident, they presuppose, that every one would rather die than become thus, and that a true German can wish to live only that he may be and remain forever a German and may train all that belong to him to be Germans also.

They have not all died; they have not seen slavery; they have bequeathed liberty to their children.  All the modern world owes it to their stubborn resistance that it exists as it does.  If the Romans had succeeded in subjugating them also and, as the Roman everywhere did, in eradicating them as a nation, then the entire future development of mankind would have taken a direction that we cannot imagine would have been more pleasant.  We, the immediate heirs of their land, their language, and their thought, owe it to them that we be still Germans, that the stream of primitive and independent life still bear us on; to them we owe everything that we have since become

Page 57

as a nation; and, unless we have now perhaps come to an end, and unless the last drop of blood inherited from them is dried up in our veins, we shall owe to them all that we shall be in the future.  Even the other Teutonic races, among whom are our brethren, and who have now become foreigners to us, owe to them their existence; when they conquered eternal Rome, no one of all these nations yet existed; at that time the possibility of their future origin was simultaneously won in the struggle.

These, and all others in universal history who have been of their type of thought, have conquered because the eternal inspired them, and thus this inspiration ever and of necessity prevails over him who is not inspired.  It is not the might of arms nor the fitness of weapons that wins victories, but the power of the soul.  He who sets himself a limited goal for his sacrifices, and who can dare no further than a certain point, surrenders resistance as soon as the danger reaches a crisis where he cannot yield or dodge.  He who has set himself no limit whatsoever, but who hazards everything, even life—­the highest boon that can be lost on earth—­never ceases to resist, and, if his opponent has a more limited goal, he indubitably conquers.  A people that is capable, though it be only in its highest representatives and leaders, of keeping firmly before its vision independence, the face from the spirit world, and of being inspired with love for it, as were our remotest forefathers, surely conquers a people that, like the Roman armies, is used merely as a tool for foreign dominion and for the subjugation of independent nations; for the former have everything to lose, the latter have merely something to gain.  But even a whim can prevail over the mental attitude which regards war as a game of hazard for temporal gain or loss, and which, even before the game starts, has fixed the limit of the stake.  Think, for example, of a Mohammed—­not the real Mohammed of history, concerning whom I confess that I have no judgment, but the Mohammed of a distinguished French poet—­who had once become firmly convinced that he was one of the extraordinary natures who are called to guide the obscure and common folk of earth, and to whom, in consequence of this first presupposition, all his whims, however meagre and limited they may really be, must necessarily appear to be great, exalted and inspiring ideas because they are his own, while everything that opposes them must seem obscure, common folk, enemies of their own weal, evil-minded, and hateful.  Such a man, in order to justify this self-conceit to himself as a divine vocation, and entirely absorbed in this thought, must stake everything upon it, nor can he rest until he has trampled under foot all that will not think as highly of him as he does himself, or until his own belief in his divine mission is reflected from the whole contemporary world.  I shall not say what would be his fortunes in case a spiritual vision that is true and clear within itself should actually come against him on the field of battle, but he certainly wins from those limited gamblers, for he hazards everything against those who do not so hazard; no spirit inspires them, but he is altogether inspired by a fanatical spirit—­that of his mighty and powerful self-conceit.

Page 58

It follows from all this that the state, as mere governance of human life proceeding in its normal peaceable course, is not a primal thing and one existing for itself, but that it is simply the means to the higher end of the eternally uniform development of the purely human in this nation; that it is only the vision and the love of this eternal development which is continually to guide the higher outlook upon the administration of the state, even in periods of calm, and which alone can save the independence of the nation when this is endangered.  In the case of the Germans, among whom, as being a primitive people, this love of country was possible and, as we firmly believe, has actually existed hitherto, such patriotism could, up to our own time, count with a high degree of certainty upon the safety of its most important interests.  As was the case only among the Greeks in antiquity, among the Germans the State and the nation were actually severed from each other, and each was represented separately; the former in the individual German kingdoms and principalities; the latter visibly in the Federation of the Empire, and invisibly—­valid not in consequence of written law but as a sequence of a law living in the hearts of all, and in its results striking the eyes at every turn—­in a multitude of customs and institutions.  As far as the German language extended, every one who saw the light within its domain could regard himself as a citizen in a two-fold sense, partly of his natal city, to whose immediate protection he was recommended; and partly of the entire common fatherland of the German nation.  Throughout the whole extent of this fatherland each man might seek for himself that culture which was most akin to his spirit, or he might search for the sphere of activity most suited for it; and talent did not grow into its place, like a tree, but he was permitted to search for that place.  He who became estranged from his immediate surroundings through the direction taken by his culture, easily found welcome reception elsewhere; he found new friends instead of those whom he had lost; he found time and quiet in which to explain himself more accurately and perhaps to win over and to reconcile the wrathful themselves, and thus to unite the whole.  No German-born prince could ever bring himself to mark off the fatherland of his subjects within the mountains or rivers where he ruled, and to regard them as bound to the soil.  A truth which could not be uttered in one place might be proclaimed in another, where, perhaps, on the contrary, those truths were forbidden which were allowable in the former district; and thus, despite many instances of partiality and narrow-mindedness in the individual states, in Germany, taken as a whole, was found the utmost freedom of investigation and of communication that ever a nation possessed.  Higher culture was, and remained on every hand, the result of the reciprocity of the citizens of all German states, and this higher

Page 59

culture then gradually descended in this form to the greater masses, who, consequently, have always, on the whole, continued to educate themselves.  As has been said, no German with a German heart, placed at the head of a government, has ever diminished this essential pledge of the continuance of a German nation; and even though, in view of other primitive decisions, what the higher German patriotism must desire was not invariably to be effected, yet at least there was no direct opposition to its interests; no effort was made to undermine that love, to eradicate it, and to replace it by an antagonistic love.

But if, now, the original guidance both of that higher culture and of the national power—­which should be used only in behalf of that culture and to further its continuance—­the employment of German wealth and German blood is to pass from the supremacy of the German spirit to that of another, what would then necessarily result?

Here is the place where there is special need of applying the policy which we outlined in our first address, namely, to be unwilling to be deceived in regard to our own interest, and to have the courage willingly to see the truth and acknowledge it.  Moreover, it is still permissible, so far as I know, to talk with one another in German about our fatherland, or at least to sigh in German, and, I believe, we should not do well if we ourselves precipitated such an interdiction and wished to lay the fetters of individual timidity on the courage which, no doubt, will already have considered the risk of the venture.

Well then, picture to yourself the presupposed new regime to be as kind and as benevolent as you will; make it good as God; will you also be able to invest it with divine understanding?  Even though it may, in all earnestness, desire the highest happiness and welfare of all, will the best welfare that it can comprehend also be the welfare of Germany?  I accordingly hope that I shall be perfectly understood in reference to the main point that I have presented to you today; I hope that in the course of my remarks many have thought and felt that I merely express clearly in words what has always lain within their hearts; I hope the same will be the case with the other Germans who will some day read this address.  Several Germans have said approximately the same things before me, and that sentiment has lain obscurely at the basis of the opposition continually manifested against a merely mechanical establishment and estimate of the State.  And now I challenge all who are acquainted with modern foreign literature to prove to me what later sage, poet, or lawgiver among them has ever given birth to a prophetic thought similar to this, which regarded the human race as being in continual progress, and which correlated all its temporal activity only with this progress; whether any one of them, even in the period when they soared most boldly to political creation, demanded from the state more than

Page 60

equality, internal peace, external national fame, and, when their demands reached the extreme limit, domestic happiness?  If this is their highest conception, as must be deduced from all that has been said, they can attribute to us likewise no higher needs and no higher demands upon life, and—­always presupposing those beneficent sentiments toward us and an absence of all selfishness and of all desire to be more than we—­they believe that they have made admirable provision for us when they give us all that they alone recognize as desirable.  On the other hand, that for which alone the nobler soul among us can live is then eradicated from public life, and the people, who have always shown themselves receptive toward the impulses of higher things, and the majority of whom, it might be hoped, could even be raised to that nobility, are—­in so far as it is treated as they wish it to be treated—­abased beneath its rank, dishonored, and blotted out, since it coalesces with the populace of the baser sort.

If, now, those higher claims upon life, together with the sense of their divine right, still remain living and potent in any one, he, with deep indignation, feels himself crushed back into those first ages of Christianity in which it was said:  “Resist not evil:  but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”  And rightly so, for as long as he still sees a cloak upon thee, he seeks an opportunity to quarrel with thee in order to take this also from thee; not until thou art utterly naked dost thou escape his attention and art unmolested by him.  Even his higher feelings, which do him honor, make earth a hell and an abomination to him; he wishes that he had not been born; he wishes that his eyes may close to the light of day, the sooner the better; unceasing sorrow lays hold upon his days until the grave claims him; he can wish for those dear to him no better gift than a quiet and contented spirit, that with less pain they may live on in expectation of an eternal life beyond the grave.

These addresses lay upon you the task of preventing, by the sole means which still remains after the others have been tried in vain, the destruction of every nobler impulse that may in the future possibly arise among us and this debasement of our entire nation.  They present to you a true and omnipotent patriotism, which, in the conception of our nation as of one that is eternal, and as citizens of our own eternity, is to be deeply and ineradicably founded in the minds of all, by means of education.  What this education may be, and in what way it may be achieved, we shall see in the following addresses.

[Illustration:  VOLUNTEERS OF 1813 BEFORE KING FRIEDRICH WILHELM III IN BRESLAU From the Painting by F.W.  Scholtz]

* * * * *

ADDRESS FOURTEEN

Page 61

Conclusion of the Whole

The addresses which I here conclude have, indeed, been directed primarily to you,[4] but they had in view the entire German nation; and, in intention, they have gathered about them, in the space wherein you visibly breathe, all that would be capable of understanding them as far as the German tongue extends.  Should I have succeeded in casting into any bosom throbbing before my eyes some sparks which may glimmer on and take life, it is not in my thought that they remain solitary and alone, but, traversing the whole ground in common, I would gather about them similar sentiments and purposes and weld them so unitedly that a continuous and coherent flame of patriotic thought might spread and be enkindled from this centre over the soil of the fatherland and to its furthest bounds.  My addresses have not been directed to this generation for the pastime of idle ears and eyes, but I desire at last to know—­even as every one who is like-minded should know—­whether there is anything outside us that is akin to our type of thought.  Every German who still believes that he is a member of a nation, who thinks of it in grand and noble fashion, who hopes in it, and who dares, suffers, and endures for it, should at last be torn from the uncertainty of his belief; he should clearly discern whether he is right or whether he is only a fool and a fanatic; henceforth he should either continue his path with sure and joyous consciousness, or, with healthy resolution, should renounce a fatherland here below and comfort himself solely with that which is in heaven.  To you, therefore, not as such-and-such persons in our daily and circumscribed life, but as representatives of the nation, and, through your ears, to the nation as a whole, these addresses appeal.

Centuries have passed since you have been convened as you are today—­in such numbers, in so great, so insistent, so mutual an interest, so absolutely as a nation and as Germans.  Never again will you be so bidden.  If you do not listen now and examine yourselves, if you again let these addresses pass you by as an empty tickling of the ears or as a strange prodigy, no human being will longer take account of you.  Hear at last for once; for once at last reflect!  Only do not go this time from the spot without having made a firm resolve; let every one who hears this voice make this resolution within himself and for himself, even as though he were alone and must do everything alone.  If very many individuals think thus, there will soon be a great whole uniting into a single, close-knit power.  If, on the contrary, each one, excluding himself, relies on the rest and relinquishes the affair to others, then there are no others at all, for, even though combined, all remain just as they were before.  Make it on the spot—­this resolution!  Do not say, “Yet a little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” until, perchance, improvement shall come of itself.  It will never come of itself. 

Page 62

He who has once missed the opportunity of yesterday, when clear perception would have been easier, will not be able to make up his mind today, and will certainly be even less able to do so tomorrow.  Every delay only makes us still more inert and but lulls us more and more into gentle acquiescence to our wretched plight.  Neither could the external stimulations to reflection ever be stronger and more insistent, for surely he whom these present conditions do not arouse has lost all feeling.  You have been called together to make a last, determined resolution and decision—­not by any means to give commands and mandates to others, or to depute others to do the work for you.  No, my purpose is to urge you to do the work yourself.  In this connection that idle passing of resolutions, the will to will, some time or other, are not sufficient, nor is it enough to remain sluggishly satisfied until self-improvement sets in of its own accord.  On the contrary, from you is demanded a determination which is identical with action and with life itself, and which will continue and control, unwavering and unchilled, until it gains its goal.

Or is perchance the root, from which alone can grow a tenacity of purpose which takes hold upon life, utterly eradicated and vanished within you?  Or is your whole being actually rarefied into a hollow shade, devoid of sap and blood and of individual power of movement, or dissolved to a dream in which, indeed, a motley array of faces arise and busily cross one another, but the body lies stiff and dead?  Long since it has been openly proclaimed to our generation and repeated under every guise, that this is very nearly its condition.  Its spokesmen have believed that this was declared merely in insult, and have regarded themselves as challenged to return the insults, thinking that thus the affair would resume its natural course.  As for the rest, there was not the slightest trace of change or of improvement.  If you have heard this, and if it was capable of rousing your indignation—­well then, through your very actions, give the lie to those who thus think and speak of you.  Once show yourselves to be different before the eyes of all the world, and before the eyes of all the world they will be convicted of their falsehood.  It may be that they have spoken thus harshly of you with the precise intention of forcing this refutation from you, and because they despaired of any other means of arousing you.  How much better, then, would have been their intentions toward you than were the purposes of those who flattered you that you might be kept in sluggish calm and in careless thoughtlessness!

Page 63

However weak and powerless you may be, during this period clear and calm reflection has been vouchsafed you as never before.  What really plunged us into confusion regarding our position, into thoughtlessness, into a blind way of letting things go, was our sweet complacency with ourselves and our mode of existence.  Things had thus gone on hitherto, and so they continued and would continue to go.  If any one challenged us to reflect, we triumphantly showed him, instead of any other refutation, our continued existence which went on without any thought or effort on our part; yet things flowed along simply because we were not put to the test.  Since that time we have passed through the ordeal and it might be supposed that the deceptions, the delusions, and the false consolations with which we all misguided one another would have collapsed!  The innate prejudices which, without proceeding from this point or from that, spread over all like a natural cloud and wrapped all in the same mist, ought surely, by this time, to have utterly vanished!  That twilight no longer obscures our eyes, and can therefore no longer serve for an excuse.  Now we stand, naked and bare, stripped of all alien coverings and draperies, simply as ourselves.  Now it must appear what each self is, or is not.

Some one among you might come forward and ask me “What gives you in particular, the only one among all German men and authors, the special task, vocation, and prerogative of convening us and inveighing against us?  Would not any one among the thousands of the writers of Germany have exactly the same right to do this as you have?  None of them does it; you alone push yourself forward.”  I answer that each one would, indeed, have had the same right as I, and that I do it for the very reason that no one among them has done it before me; that I would be silent if any one else had spoken previous to me.  This was the first step toward the goal of a radical amelioration, and some one must take it.  I seemed to be the first vividly to perceive this—­accordingly, it was I who first took it.  After this, a second step will be taken, and thereto every one has now the same right; but, as a matter of fact, it, in its turn, will be taken by but one individual.  One man must always be the first, and let him be he who can!

Without anxiety regarding this circumstance, let your attention rest for an instant on the consideration to which we have previously led you—­in how enviable a position Germany and the world would be if the former had known how to utilize the good fortune of her position and to recognize her advantage.  Let your eyes rest upon what they both are now, and let your minds be penetrated by the pain and indignation which, in this reflection, must lay hold upon every noble soul.  Then examine yourselves and see that it is you who can release the age from the errors of ancient times, and that, if only you will permit it, your own eyes can be cleared of the mist that covers them; learn, too, that it has been vouchsafed to you, as to no generation before you, to undo what has been done and to efface the dishonorable interval from the annals of the German nation.

Page 64

Let the various conditions among which you must choose pass before you.  If you drift along in your torpor and your heedlessness, all the evils of slavery await you—­deprivations, humiliations, the scorn and arrogance of the conqueror; you will be pushed about from pillar to post, because you have never found your proper niche, until, through the sacrifice of your nationality and of your language, you slip into some subordinate place where your nation shall sink its identity.  If, on the other hand, you rouse yourselves, you will find, first of all, an enduring and honorable existence, and will behold a flourishing generation which promises to you and to the Germans the most glorious and lasting memory.  Through the instrumentality of this new generation you will see in spirit the German name exalted to the most glorious among all nations; you will discern in this nation the regenerator and restorer of the world.

It depends upon you whether you will be the last of a dishonorable race, even more surely despised by posterity than it deserves, and in whose history—­if there can be any history in the barbarism which will then begin—­succeeding generations will rejoice when it perishes and will praise fate that it is just; or whether you will be the beginning and the point of development of a new age which will be glorious beyond all your expectations, and become those from whom posterity will date the year of their salvation.  Bethink yourselves that you are the last in whose power this great change lies.  You have heard the Germans called a unit; you have still a visible sign of their unity—­an Empire and an Imperial League—­or you have heard of it; among you even yet, from time to time, voices have been audible which were inspired by this higher patriotism.  After you become accustomed to other concepts and will accept alien forms and a different course of occupation and of life—­how long will it then be before no one longer lives who has seen Germans or who has heard of them?

What is demanded of you is not much.  You should only keep before you the necessity of pulling yourselves together for a little time and of reflecting upon what lies immediately and obviously before your eyes.  You should merely form for yourselves a fixed opinion regarding this situation, remain true to it, and utter and express it in your immediate surroundings.  It is the presupposition, yea, it is our firm conviction, that this reflection will lead to the same result in all of you; that, if you only seriously consider, and do not continue in your previous heedlessness, you will think in harmony; and that, if you can bring your intelligence to bear, and if only you do not continue to vegetate, unanimity and unity of spirit will come of themselves.  If, however, matters once reach this point, all else that we need will result automatically.

Page 65

This reflection is, moreover, demanded from each one of you who can still consider for himself something lying obviously before his eyes.  You have time for this; events will not take you unawares; the records of the negotiations conducted with you will remain before your eyes.  Lay them not from your hands until you are in unity with your selves.  Neither let, oh, let not yourselves be made supine by reliance upon others or upon anything whatsoever that lies outside yourselves, nor yet through the unintelligent belief of our time that the epochs of history are made by the agency of some unknown power without any aid from man.  These addresses have never wearied in impressing upon you that absolutely nothing can help you but yourselves, and they find it necessary to repeat this to the last moment.  Rain and dew, fruitful or unfruitful years, may indeed be made by a power which is unknown to us and is not under our control; but only men themselves—­and absolutely no power outside them—­give to each epoch its particular stamp.  Only when they are all equally blind and ignorant do they fall the victims of this hidden power, though it is within their own control not to be blind and ignorant.  It is true that to whatever degree, greater or less, things may go ill with us, in part depends upon that unknown power; but far more is it dependent upon the intelligence and the good will of those to whom we are subjected.  Whether, on the other hand, it will ever again be well with us depends wholly upon ourselves; and surely nevermore will any welfare whatsoever come to us unless we ourselves acquire it for ourselves—­especially unless each individual among us toils and labors in his own way as though he were alone and as though the salvation of future generations depended solely upon him.

This is what you have to do; and these addresses adjure you to do this without delay.

They adjure you, young men!  I, who have long since ceased to belong to you, maintain—­and I have also expressed my conviction in these addresses—­that you are yet more capable of every thought transcending the commonplace, and are more easily aroused to all that is good and great, because your time of life still lies closer to the years of childish innocence and of nature.  Very differently does the majority of the older generation regard this fundamental trait in you.  It accuses you of arrogance, of a rash, presumptuous judgment which soars beyond your strength, of obstinacy, and of desire of innovation; yet it merely smiles good-naturedly at these, your errors.  All this, it thinks, is based simply on your lack of knowledge of the world, that is, of universal human corruption, since it has eyes for nothing else on earth.  You are now supposed to have courage only because you hope to find help-mates like-minded with yourselves and because you do not know the grim and stubborn resistance which will be opposed to your projects of improvement.  When the youthful fire

Page 66

of your imagination shall once have vanished, when you shall have perceived the universal selfishness, idleness, and horror of work, when you yourselves shall once rightly have tasted the sweetness of plodding on in the customary rut—­then the desire to be better and wiser than all others will soon fade away.  They do not by any chance entertain these good expectations of you in imagination alone; they have found them confirmed in their own persons.  They must confess that in the days of their foolish youth they dreamed of improving the world, exactly as you dream today; yet with increasing maturity they have become tame and quiet as you see them now.  I believe them; in my own experience, which has not been very protracted, I have seen that young men who at first roused different hopes nevertheless, later, exactly fulfilled the kind expectations of mature age.  Do this no longer, young men, for how else could a better generation ever begin?  The bloom of youth will indeed fall from you, and the flame of imagination will cease to be nourished from itself; but feed this flame and brighten it through clear thought, make this way of thinking your own, and as an additional gift you will gain character, the fairest adornment of man.  Through this clear thinking you will preserve the fountain of eternal youth; however your bodies grow old or your knees become feeble, your spirit will be reborn in freshness ever renewed, and your character will stand firm and unchangeable.  Seize at once the opportunity here offered you; reflect clearly upon the theme presented for your deliberation; and the clarity which has dawned for you in one point will gradually spread over all others as well.

These addresses adjure you, old men!  You are regarded as you have just heard, and you are told so to your faces; and for his own past the speaker frankly adds that—­excluding the exceptions which, it must be admitted, not infrequently occur, and which are all the more admirable—­the world is perfectly right with regard to the great majority among you.  Go through the history of the last two or three decades; everything except yourselves agrees—­and even you yourselves agree, each one in the specialty that does not immediately concern him—­that (always excluding the exceptions, and regarding only the majority) the greatest uselessness and selfishness are found in advanced years in all branches, in science as well as in practical occupations.  The whole world has witnessed that every one who desired the better and the more perfect still had to wage the bitterest battle with you in addition to the battle with his own uncertainty and with his other surroundings; that you were firmly resolved that nothing must thrive which you had not done and known in the same way; that you regarded every impulse of thought as an insult to your intelligence; and that you left no power unutilized to conquer in this battle against improvement—­and in fact you generally did prevail.  Thus you were

Page 67

the impeding power against all the improvements which kindly nature offered us from her ever—­youthful womb until you were gathered to the dust which you were before, and until the succeeding generations, which were at war with you, had become like unto you and had adopted your attitude.  Now, also, you need only conduct yourselves as you have previously acted in case of all propositions for amelioration; you need only again prefer to the general weal your empty honor in order that there may be nothing between heaven and earth that you have not already fathomed; then, through this last battle, you are relieved from all further battle; no improvement will accrue, but deterioration will follow in the footsteps of deterioration, and thus there will be much satisfaction in reserve for you.

No one will suppose that I despise and depreciate old age as old age.  If only the source of primitive life and of its continuance is absorbed into life through freedom, then clarity—­and strength with it—­increases so long as life endures.  Such a life is easier to live; the dross of earthly origin falls away more and ever more; it is ennobled to the life eternal and strives toward it.  The experience of such an old age is irreconcilable with evil, and it only makes the means clearer and the skill more adroit victoriously to battle against wickedness.  Deterioration through increasing age is simply the fault of our time, and it necessarily results in every place where society is much corrupted.  It is not nature which corrupts us—­she produces us in innocence; it is society.  He who has once surrendered to the influence of society must naturally become ever worse and worse the longer he is exposed to this influence.  It would be worth the trouble to investigate the history of other extremely corrupt generations in this regard, and to see whether—­for example, under the rule of the Roman emperors—­what was once bad did not continually become worse with increasing age.

First of all, therefore, these addresses adjure you, old men and experienced—­you who form the exception!  Confirm, strengthen, counsel in this matter the younger generation, which reverently looks up to you.  And the rest of you also, who are average souls, they adjure!  If you are not to help, at least do not interfere, this time; do not again—­as always hitherto—­put yourselves in the way with your wisdom and with your thousand hesitations.  This thing, like every rational thing in the world, is not complicated, but simple; and it also belongs among the thousand matters which you know not.  If your wisdom could save, it would surely have saved us before; for it is you who have counseled us thus far.  Now, like everything else, all this is forgiven you, and you should no longer be reproached with it.  Only learn at last once to know yourselves, and be silent.

Page 68

These addresses adjure you men of affairs!  With few exceptions you have thus far been cordially hostile to abstract thought and to all learning which desired to be something for itself, even though you demeaned yourselves as if you merely haughtily despised all this.  As far as you possibly could, you held from you the men who did such things as well as their propositions; the reproach of lunacy, or the advice that they be sent to the mad-house, was the thanks from you on which they might usually count.  They, in their turn, did not venture to express themselves regarding you with the same frankness, since they were dependent upon you; but their innermost thought was this, that, with a few exceptions, you were shallow babblers and inflated braggarts, dilettante who have only passed through school, blind gropers and creepers in the old rut who had neither wish nor ability for aught else.  Give them the lie through your deeds, and to this end grasp the opportunity now offered you; lay aside that contempt for profound thought and learning; let yourselves be advised and hear and learn what you do not know, or else your accusers win their case.

These addresses adjure you, thinkers, scholars, and authors who are still worthy of this name!  In a certain sense that reproach of the men of affairs was not unjust.  You often proceeded too unconcerned in the realm of abstract thought, without troubling yourselves about the actual world and without considering how the one might be connected with the other; you circumscribed your own world for yourselves, and let the real world lie to one side, disdained and despised.  Every regulation and every formation of actual life must, it is true, proceed from the higher regulating concept, and progress in the customary rut is insufficient for it; this is an eternal truth, and, in God’s name, it crushes with undisguised contempt every one who is so bold as to busy himself with affairs without knowing this.  Yet between the concept and the introduction of it into any individual life there is a great gulf fixed.  The filling of this gulf is the task both of the men of affairs—­who, however, must already first have learned enough to understand you—­and also of yourselves, who should not forget life on account of the world of thought.  Here you both meet.  Instead of regarding each other askance and depreciating each other across the gulf, endeavor rather to fill it, each on his own side, and thus seek to construct the road to union.  At last, I beg you, realize that you both are as mutually necessary to each other as head and arm are indispensable the one to the other.

Page 69

In other respects as well, these addresses adjure you, thinkers, scholars, and authors who are still worthy of this name!  Your laments over the general shallowness, thoughtlessness, and superficiality, over self-conceit and inexhaustible babble, over the contempt for seriousness and profundity in all classes, may be true, even as they actually are.  Yet what class is it, pray, that has educated all these classes, that has transformed everything pertaining to science into a jest for them, and that has trained them from their earliest youth in that self-conceit and that babble?  Who is it, pray, who still continues to educate the generations that have outgrown the schools?  The most obvious source of the torpor of the age is that it has read itself torpid in the writings which you have written.  Why are you, nevertheless, so continually solicitous to amuse this idle people, despite the fact that you know that they have learned nothing and wish to learn nothing?  Why do you call them “the Public,” flatter them as your judge, stir them up against your rivals, and seek by every means to win this blind and confused mob over to your side?  Finally, in your literary reviews and in your magazines, why do you yourselves furnish them with material and example for rash judgments by yourselves judging as unconnectedly, as carelessly, as recklessly, and, for the most part, as tastelessly as even the least of your readers could?  If you do not all think thus, and if among you there are still some animated by better sentiments, why, then, do not these latter unite to put an end to the evil?  As to those men of affairs, in particular they have passed through your schools—­you say so yourselves.  Why, then, did you not at least make use of this transit of theirs to inspire in them some silent respect for learning, and especially to break betimes the self-conceit of the young aristocrat and to show him that birth and station are of no assistance in the realm of thought?  If, perchance, even at that time you flattered him and exalted him unduly, now endure that for which you yourselves are responsible.

These addresses desire to excuse you on the supposition that you had not grasped the importance of your occupation; they adjure you that, from this hour, you make yourselves acquainted with this importance, and that you no longer ply your occupation as a mere trade.  Learn to respect yourselves, and by your actions show that you do so, and the world will respect you.  You will give the first proof of this through the amount of influence which you assume in regard to the resolution that is proposed, and through the manner in which you conduct yourselves regarding it.

Page 70

These addresses adjure you, princes of Germany!  Those who act toward you as though no man dared say aught to you, or had aught to say, are despicable flatterers, are base slanderers of you yourselves.  Drive them far from you!  The truth is that you were born exactly as ignorant as all the rest of us, and that, exactly like ourselves, you must hear and learn if you are to escape from this natural ignorance.  Your share in bringing about the fate which has befallen you simultaneously with your peoples is here set forth in the mildest way and, as we believe, in the way which is alone right and just; and in case you wish to hear only flattery, and never the truth, you cannot complain regarding these addresses.  Let all this be forgotten, even as all the rest of us also desire that our share in the guilt may be forgotten.  Now begins a new life as well for yourselves as for all of us.  May this voice penetrate to you through all the surroundings which normally make you inaccessible!  With proud self-reliance it dares to say to you:  You rule nations, faithful, plastic, and worthy of good fortune, such as princes of no time and of no nation have ruled.  They have a feeling for freedom and are capable of it; but, because you so willed, they have followed you into sanguinary war against that which to them seemed freedom.  Some among you have later willed otherwise, and, again because you so willed, they have followed you into that which to them must seem a war of annihilation against one of the last remnants of German independence.  Since that time they have endured and have borne the oppressive burden of common woes; yet they do not cease to be faithful to you, to cling to you with inward devotion, and to love you as their divinely appointed guardians.  Yet may you notice them, unobserved by them; set free from surroundings which do not invariably present to you the fairest aspect of humanity, may you be able to descend into the house of the citizen, into the peasant’s cottage, and may you be able attentively to follow the still and hidden life of these classes, in which the fidelity and the probity which have become more rare in the higher classes seem to have sought refuge!  Surely, oh, surely, you will resolve to reflect more seriously than ever how they may be helped!  These addresses have proposed to you a means of assistance which they believe to be sure, thorough, and decisive.  Let your councillors deliberate whether they also find it so or whether they know a better means, provided only that it be equally decisive.  But the conviction that something must be done and must be done immediately, that this something must be radical and final, and that the time for half-measures and procrastination is past—­this conviction these addresses would fain produce, if they could, in you personally, as they still cherish the utmost confidence in your integrity.

These addresses adjure you, Germans as a whole, whatever position you may take in society, that each one among you who can think, think first of all upon the theme that has been suggested, and that each one do for it exactly what in his own place lies nearest to him.

Page 71

Your forefathers unite with these addresses and adjure you.  Imagine that in my voice are mingled the voices of your ancestors from dim antiquity, who with their bodies opposed the on-rushing dominion of the world-power of Rome, who with their blood won the independence of the mountains, plains, and streams which, under your governance, have become the booty of the stranger.  They call to you:  Represent us; transmit to posterity our memory honorable and blameless as it came to you, and as you have boasted of it and of descent from us.  Thus far our resistance has been held to be noble and great and wise; we seemed to be initiated into the secrets of the divine plan of the universe.  If our race terminates with you, our honor is turned to shame and our wisdom to folly.  For if the German stock was some time to be merged into that of Rome, it was better that this had been into the old Rome than into a new.  We faced the former and conquered it; before the latter you have been scattered like the dust.  Now, however, since affairs are as they are, you are not to conquer them with physical weapons; only your spirit is to rise and stand upright over against them.  To you has been vouchsafed the greater destiny of establishing generally the empire of the spirit and of reason, and of wholly annihilating rude physical power as that which dominates the world.  If you shall do this, then are you worthy of descent from us.

In these voices also mingle the spirits of your later ancestors, of those who fell in the holy struggle for freedom of religion and of faith.  Save our honor, likewise, they cry to you.  It was not wholly clear to us for what we fought.  Besides the legitimate resolve not to allow ourselves to be dominated in matters of conscience by a foreign power, we were also impelled by a higher spirit who never revealed himself entirely unto us.  To you this spirit is revealed, if you have the power to look into the spirit world, and he gazes upon you with clear and lofty eyes.  The motley and confused intermingling of sensuous and of spiritual impulses is wholly to be deposed from its world-dominion; and spirit alone, absolute, and stripped of all sensuous impulses, is to take the helm of human affairs.  Our blood was shed that this spirit might have freedom to develop and to grow to an independent existence.  Upon you it depends to give to this sacrifice its signification and its justification by installing this spirit into the world-dominion destined for him.  If this is not the final goal toward which all the development of our nation has thus far aimed, our struggles, too, become a passing, empty farce, and the freedom of spirit and of conscience that we won is an empty word, if henceforth there is to be no longer any spirit or any conscience whatsoever.

Page 72

Your descendants, still unborn, adjure you.  You boast of your forefathers, they cry to you, and proudly you connect yourselves with a noble lineage.  Take care that the chain may not be broken in you; so do that we also may boast of you, and that through you, as through a faultless link, we may connect ourselves with the same glorious lineage.  Cause us not to be compelled to be ashamed of our descent from you as a descent that is low, barbarous, and slavish, so that we must conceal our ancestry or must feign an alien name and an alien lineage, lest we be immediately rejected or trodden under foot without further test.  On the next generation that will proceed from you, will depend your fame in history:  honorable, if this honorably witnesses for you; but ignominious, even beyond desert, if you have no offspring to speak for you, and if it is left to the victor to write your history.  Never yet has a victor had sufficient inclination or sufficient knowledge rightly to judge the conquered.  The more he abases them, the more justified does he appear.  Who can know what mighty deeds, what magnificent institutions, and what noble customs of many a people of antiquity have been forgotten because their posterity was subjugated, and because, ungainsaid, the conqueror made his report upon them in accordance with his interests?

Even foreign lands adjure you so far as they still understand themselves in the very least, and still have an eye for their true advantage.  Indeed, there are spirits among all peoples who still cannot believe that the great promises made to the human race of a reign of justice, of reason, and of truth can be a vain and an empty phantom, and who assume, therefore, that the present iron age is but a transit to a better state.  They—­and all modern humanity in them—­count on you.  A great part of this humanity is descended from us; the rest have received from us religion and culture.  The former adjure us by the soil of our common fatherland, which is also their cradle, and which they have bequeathed free to us; the latter adjure us by the culture which they have acquired from us as a pledge of a higher happiness—­they adjure us to maintain ourselves as we have ever been, for their sake; and not to suffer this member, which is of so much importance, to be torn from the continuity of the race that is newly budded, lest they may painfully miss us if they some time need our counsel, our example, our cooperation toward the true goal of earthly life.

All generations, all the wise and good who have ever breathed upon this earth, all their thoughts and aspirations for something higher mingle in these voices and surround you and lift to you imploring hands.  Even Providence, if we may so say, and the divine plan of the universe in the creation of a human race—­a plan which, indeed, exists only to be thought out by man and to be realized by man—­adjures you to save its honor and its existence.  Whether those are justified who have believed that mankind must always

Page 73

grow better, and that the conception of a certain order and dignity among them is no empty dream, but the prophecy and the pledge of an ultimate actuality, or whether those are to prevail who slumber on in their animal and vegetative life, and who mock every flight to higher worlds-upon these alternatives it is left to you to pass a final and decisive judgment.  The ancient world with its magnificence and with its grandeur, and also with its faults, has sunk through its own unworthiness and through your fathers’ prowess.  If there is truth in what has been presented in these addresses, then, among all modern peoples, it is you in whom the germ of the perfecting of humanity most decidedly lies, and on whom progress in the development of this humanity is enjoined.  If you perish as a nation, all the hope of the entire human race for rescue from the depths of its woe perishes together with you.  Do not hope and console yourselves with the imaginary idea, counting on mere repetition of events that have already happened, that once more, after the fall of the old civilization, a new one, proceeding from a half-barbarous nation, will arise upon the ruins of the first.  In antiquity such a nation, equipped with all the requisites for this destiny, was at hand, and was very well known to the nation of culture, and was described by them; had they been able to imagine their destruction, they themselves might have found in that half-barbarous nation the means of their restoration.  To us, also, the entire surface of the earth is very well known, and all the peoples that live upon it.  Do we, then, now know any such people, like to the aborigines of the New World, of whom similar expectations may be entertained?  I believe that every one who has not merely a fanatical opinion and hope, but who thinks after profound investigation, will be compelled to answer this question in the negative.  There is, therefore, no escape; if you sink, all humanity sinks with you, devoid of hope of restoration at any future time.

This it was, gentlemen, that at the close of these addresses I felt compelled to impress upon you as representatives of the nation and, through you, upon the nation as a whole.

FRIEDRICH WILHELM JOSEPH VON SCHELLING

* * * * *

ON THE RELATION OF THE PLASTIC ARTS TO NATURE (1807)

A Speech on the Celebration of the 12th October, 1807, as the Name-Day of His Majesty the King of Bavaria

Delivered before the Public Assembly of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Munich

TRANSLATED BY J. ELLIOT CABOT

Plastic Art, according to the most ancient expression, is silent Poetry.  The inventor of this definition no doubt meant thereby that the former, like the latter, is to express spiritual thoughts—­conceptions whose source is the soul; only not by speech, but, like silent Nature, by shape, by form, by corporeal, independent works.

Page 74

Plastic Art, therefore, evidently stands as a uniting link between the soul and Nature, and can be apprehended only in the living centre of both.  Indeed, since Plastic Art has its relation to the soul in common with every other art, and particularly with Poetry, that by which it is connected with Nature, and, like Nature, a productive force, remains as its sole peculiarity; so that to this alone can a theory relate which shall be satisfactory to the understanding, and helpful and profitable to Art itself.

We hope, therefore, in considering Plastic Art in relation to its true prototype and original source, Nature, to be able to contribute something new to its theory—­to give some additional exactness or clearness to the conceptions of it; but, above all, to set forth the coherence of the whole structure of Art in the light of a higher necessity.

[Illustration:  FRIEDRICH WILHELM JOSEPH VON SCHELLING Carl Begas]

But has not Science always recognized this relation?  Has not indeed every theory of modern times taken its departure from this very position, that Art should be the imitator of Nature?  Such has indeed been the case.  But what should this broad general proposition profit the artist, when the notion of Nature is of such various interpretation, and when there are almost as many differing views of it as there are various modes of life?  Thus, to one, Nature is nothing more than the lifeless aggregate of an indeterminable crowd of objects, or the space in which, as in a vessel, he imagines things placed; to another, only the soil from which he draws his nourishment and support; to the inspired seeker alone, the holy, ever-creative original energy of the world, which generates and busily evolves all things out of itself.

The proposition would indeed have a high significance, if it taught Art to emulate this creative force; but the sense in which it was meant can scarcely be doubtful to one acquainted with the universal condition of Science at the time when it was first brought forward.  Singular enough that the very persons who denied all life to Nature should set it up for imitation in Art!  To them might be applied the words of a profound writer:[5] “Your lying philosophy has put Nature out of the way; and why do you call upon us to imitate her?  Is it that you may renew the pleasure by perpetrating the same violence on the disciples of Nature?”

Nature was to them not merely a dumb, but an altogether lifeless image, in whose inmost being even no living word dwelt; a hollow scaffolding of forms, of which as hollow an image was to be transferred to the canvas, or hewn out of stone.

This was the proper doctrine of those more ancient and savage nations, who, as they saw in Nature nothing divine, fetched idols out of her; whilst, to the susceptive Greeks, who everywhere felt the presence of a vitally efficient principle, genuine gods arose out of Nature.

But is, then, the disciple of Nature to copy everything in Nature without distinction?—­and, of everything, every part?  Only beautiful objects should be represented; and, even in these, only the Beautiful and Perfect.

Page 75

Thus is the proposition further determined, but, at the same time, this asserted, that, in Nature, the perfect is mingled with the imperfect, the beautiful with the unbeautiful.  Now, how should he who stands in no other relation to Nature than that of servile imitation, distinguish the one from the other?  It is the way of imitators to appropriate the faults of their model sooner and easier than its excellences, since the former offer handles and tokens more easily grasped; and thus we see that imitators of Nature in this sense have imitated oftener, and even more affectionately, the ugly than the beautiful.

If we regard in things, not their principle, but the empty abstract form, neither will they say anything to our soul; our own heart, our own spirit we must put to it, that they answer us.

But what is the perfection of a thing?  Nothing else than the creative life in it, its power to exist.  Never, therefore, will he, who fancies that Nature is altogether dead, be successful in that profound process (analogous to the chemical) whence proceeds, purified as by fire, the pure gold of Beauty and Truth.

Nor was there any change in the main view of the relation of Art to Nature, even when the unsatisfactoriness of the principle began to be more generally felt; no change, even by the new views and new knowledge so nobly established by John Winckelmann.  He indeed restored to the soul its full efficiency in Art, and raised it from its unworthy dependence into the realm of spiritual freedom.  Powerfully moved by the beauty of form in the works of antiquity, he taught that the production of ideal Nature, of Nature elevated above the Actual, together with the expression of spiritual conceptions, is the highest aim of Art.

But if we examine in what sense this surpassing of the Actual by Art has been understood by the most, it turns out that, with this view also, the notion of Nature as mere product, of things as a lifeless result, still continued; and the idea of a living creative Nature was in no wise awakened by it.  Thus these ideal forms also could be animated by no positive insight into their nature; and if the forms of the Actual were dead for the dead beholder, these were not less so.  Were no independent production of the Actual possible, neither would there be of the Ideal.  The object of the imitation was changed; the imitation remained.  In the place of Nature were substituted the sublime works of Antiquity, whose outward forms the pupils busied themselves in imitating, but without the spirit that fills them.  These forms, however, are as unapproachable, nay, more so, than the works of Nature, and leave us yet colder if we bring not to them the spiritual eye to penetrate through the veil and feel the stirring energy within.

On the other hand, artists, since that time, have indeed received a certain ideal impetus, and notions of a beauty superior to matter; but these notions were like fair words, to which the deeds do not correspond.  While the previous method in Art produced bodies without soul, this view taught only the secret of the soul, but not that of the body.  The theory had, as usual, passed with one hasty stride to the opposite extreme; but the vital mean it had not yet found.

Page 76

Who can say that Winckelmann had not penetrated into the highest beauty?  But with him it appeared in its dissevered elements only:  on the one side as beauty in idea, and flowing out from the soul; on the other, as beauty of forms.

But what is the efficient link that connects the two?  Or by what power is the soul created together with the body, at once and as if with one breath?  If this lies not within the power of Art, as of Nature, then it can create nothing whatever.  This vital connecting link, Winckelmann did not determine; he did not teach how, from the idea, forms can be produced.  Thus Art went over to that method which we would call the retrograde, since it strives from the form to come at the essence.  But not thus is the Unlimited reached; it is not attainable by mere enhancement of the Limited.  Hence, such works as have had their beginning in form, with all elaborateness on that side, show, in token of their origin, an incurable want at the very point where we expect the consummate, the essential, the final.  The miracle by which the Limited should be raised to the Unlimited, the human become divine, is wanting; the magic circle is drawn, but the spirit that it should inclose, appears not, being disobedient to the call of him who thought a creation possible through mere form.

* * * * *

Nature meets us everywhere, at first with reserve, and in form more or less severe.  She is like that quiet and serious beauty, that excites not attention by noisy advertisement, nor attracts the vulgar gaze.

How can we, as it were, spiritually melt this apparently rigid form, so that the pure energy of things may flow together with the force of our spirit and both become one united mold?  We must transcend Form, in order to gain it again as intelligible, living, and truly felt.  Consider the most beautiful forms; what remains behind after you have abstracted from them the creative principle within?  Nothing but mere unessential qualities, such as extension and the relations of space.  Does the fact that one portion of matter exists near another, and distinct from it, contribute anything to its inner essence? or does it not rather contribute nothing?  Evidently the latter.  It is not mere contiguous existence, but the manner of it, that makes form; and this can be determined only by a positive force, which is even opposed to separateness, and subordinates the manifoldness of the parts to the unity of one idea—­from the force that works in the crystal to the force which, comparable to a gentle magnetic current, gives to the particles of matter in the human form that position and arrangement among themselves, through which the idea, the essential unity and beauty, can become visible.

Page 77

Not only, however, as active principle, but as spirit and effective science, must the essence appear to us in the form, in order that we may truly apprehend it.  For all unity must be spiritual in nature and origin; and what is the aim of all investigation of Nature but to find science therein?  For that wherein there is no Understanding cannot be the object of Understanding; the Unknowing cannot be known.  The science by which Nature works is not, however, like human science, connected with reflection upon itself; in it, the conception is not separate from the act, nor the design from the execution.  Therefore, rude matter strives, as it were, blindly, after regular shape, and unknowingly assumes pure stereometric forms, which belong, nevertheless, to the realm of ideas, and are something spiritual in the material.

The sublimest arithmetic and geometry are innate in the stars, and unconsciously displayed by them in their motions.  More distinctly, but still beyond their grasp, the living cognition appears in animals; and thus we see them, though wandering about without reflection, bring about innumerable results far more excellent than themselves:  the bird that, intoxicated with music, transcends itself in soul-like tones; the little artistic creature, that, without practise or instruction, accomplishes light works of architecture; but all directed by an overpowering spirit, that lightens in them already with single flashes of knowledge, but as yet appears nowhere as the full sun, as in Man.

This formative science in Nature and Art is the link that connects idea and form, body and soul.  Before everything stands an eternal idea, formed in the Infinite Understanding; but by what means does this idea pass into actuality and embodiment?  Only through the creative science that is as necessarily connected with the Infinite Understanding, as in the artist the principle that seizes the idea of unsensuous Beauty is linked with that which sets it forth to the senses.

If that artist be called happy and praiseworthy before all to whom the gods have granted this creative spirit, then that work of art will appear excellent which shows to us, as in outline, this unadulterated energy of creation and activity of Nature.

It was long ago perceived that, in Art, not everything is performed with consciousness; that, with the conscious activity, an unconscious action must combine; and that it is of the perfect unity and mutual interpenetration of the two that the highest in Art is born.

Works that want this seal of unconscious science are recognized by the evident absence of life self-supported and independent of the producer; as, on the contrary, where this acts, Art imparts to its work, together with the utmost clearness to the understanding, that unfathomable reality wherein it resembles a work of Nature.

Page 78

It has often been attempted to make clear the position of the artist in regard to Nature, by saying that Art, in order to be such, must first withdraw itself from Nature, and return to it only in the final perfection.  The true sense of this saying, it seems to us, can be no other than this—­that in all things in Nature, the living idea shows itself only blindly active; were it so also in the artist, he would be in nothing distinct from Nature.  But, should he attempt consciously to subordinate himself altogether to the Actual, and render with servile fidelity the already existing, he would produce larvae, but no works of Art.  He must therefore withdraw himself from the product, from the creature, but only in order to raise himself to the creative energy, spiritually seizing the same.  Thus he ascends into the realm of pure ideas; he forsakes the creature, to regain it with thousandfold interest, and in this sense certainly to return to Nature.  This spirit of Nature working at the core of things, and speaking through form and shape as by symbols only, the artist must certainly follow with emulation; and only so far as he seizes this with genial imitation has he himself produced anything genuine.  For works produced by aggregation, even of forms beautiful in themselves, would still be destitute of all beauty, since that, through which the work on the whole is truly beautiful, cannot be mere form.  It is above form—­it is Essence, the Universal, the look and expression of the indwelling spirit of Nature.

Now it can scarcely be doubtful what is to be thought of the so-called idealizing of Nature in Art, so universally demanded.  This demand seems to arise from a way of thinking, according to which not Truth, Beauty, Goodness, but the contrary of all these, is the Actual.  Were the Actual indeed opposed to Truth and Beauty, it would be necessary for the artist, not to elevate or idealize it, but to get rid of and destroy it, in order to create something true and beautiful.  But how should it be possible for anything to be actual except the True; and what is Beauty, if not full, complete Being?

What higher aim, therefore, could Art have, than to represent that which in Nature actually is?  Or how should it undertake to excel so-called actual Nature, since it must always fall short of it?

For does Art impart to its works actual, sensuous life?  This statue breathes not, is stirred by no pulsation, warmed by no blood.

But both the pretended excelling and the apparent falling short show themselves as the consequences of one and the same principle, as soon as we place the aim of Art in the exhibiting of that which truly is.

Only on the surface have its works the appearance of life; in Nature, life seems to reach deeper, and to be wedded entirely with matter.  But does not the continual mutation of matter and the universal lot of final dissolution teach us the unessential character of this union, and that it is no intimate fusion?  Art, accordingly, in the merely superficial animation of its works, but represents Nothingness as non-existing.

Page 79

How comes it that, to every tolerably cultivated taste, imitations of the so-called Actual, even though carried to deception, appear in the last degree untrue—­nay, produce the impression of spectres; whilst a work in which the idea is predominant strikes us with the full force of truth, conveying us then only to the genuinely actual world?  Whence comes it, if not from the more or less obscure feeling which tells us that the idea alone is the living principle in things, but all else unessential and vain shadow?

On the same ground may be explained all the opposite cases which are brought up as instances of the surpassing of Nature by Art.  In arresting the rapid course of human years; in uniting the energy of developed manhood with the soft charm of early youth; or exhibiting a mother of grown-up sons and daughters in the full possession of vigorous beauty—­what does Art except to annul what is unessential, Time?

If, according to the remark of a discerning critic, every growth in Nature has but an instant of truly complete beauty, we may also say that it has, too, only an instant of full existence.  In this instant it is what it is in all eternity; besides this, it has only a coming into and a passing out of existence.  Art, in representing the thing at that instant, removes it out of Time, and sets it forth in its pure Being, in the eternity of its life.

After everything positive and essential had once been abstracted from Form, it necessarily appeared restrictive, and, as it were, hostile, to the Essence; and the same theory that had reproduced the false and powerless Ideal, necessarily tended to the formless in Art.  Form would indeed be a limitation of the Essence if it existed independent of it.  But if it exists with and by means of the Essence, how could this feel itself limited by that which it has itself created?  Violence would indeed be done it by a form forced upon it, but never by one proceeding from itself.  In this, on the contrary, it must rest contented, and feel its own existence to be perfect and complete.

Determinateness of form is in Nature never a negation, but ever an affirmation.  Commonly, indeed, the shape of a body seems a confinement; but could we behold the creative energy it would reveal itself as the measure that this energy imposes upon itself, and in which it shows itself a truly intelligent force; for in everything is the power of self-rule allowed to be an excellence, and one of the highest.

In like manner most persons consider the particular in a negative manner—­i.e., as that which is not the whole or all.  Yet no particular exists by means of its limitation, but through the indwelling force with which it maintains itself as a particular Whole, in distinction from the Universe.

Page 80

This force of particularity, and thus also of individuality, showing itself as vital character, the negative conception of it is necessarily followed by an unsatisfying and false view of the characteristic in Art.  Lifeless and of intolerable hardness would be the Art that should aim to exhibit the empty shell or limitation of the Individual.  Certainly we desire to see not merely the individual, but, more than this, its vital Idea.  But if the artist has seized the inward creative spirit and essence of the Idea, and sets this forth, he makes the individual a world in itself, a class, an eternal prototype; and he who has grasped the essential character needs not to fear hardness and severity, for these are the conditions of life.  Nature, that in her completeness appears as the utmost benignity, we see, in each particular, aiming even primarily and principally at severity, seclusion and reserve.  As the whole creation is the work of the utmost externization and renunciation [Entaeusserung], so the artist must first deny himself and descend into the Particular, without shunning isolation, nor the pain, the anguish of Form.

Nature, from her first works, is throughout characteristic; the energy of fire, the splendor of light, she shuts up in hard stone, the tender soul of melody in severe metal; even on the threshold of Life, and already meditating organic shape, she sinks back overpowered by the might of Form, into petrifaction.

The life of the plant consists in still receptivity, but in what exact and severe outline is this passive life inclosed!  In the animal kingdom the strife between Life and Form seems first properly to begin; her first works Nature hides in hard shells, and, where these are laid aside, the animated world attaches itself again through its constructive impulse to the realm of crystallization.  Finally she comes forward more boldly and freely, and vital, important characteristics show themselves, being the same through whole classes.  Art, however, cannot begin so far down as Nature.  Though Beauty is spread everywhere, yet there are various grades in the appearance and unfolding of the Essence, and thus of Beauty.  But Art demands a certain fulness, and desires not to strike a single note or tone, nor even a detached accord, but at once the full symphony of Beauty.

Art, therefore, prefers to grasp immediately at the highest and most developed, the human form.  For since it is not given it to embrace the immeasurable whole, and as in all other creatures only single fulgurations, in Man alone full entire Being appears without abatement, Art is not only permitted but required to see the sum of Nature in Man alone.  But precisely on this account—­that she here assembles all in one point—­Nature repeats her whole multiformity, and pursues again in a narrower compass the same course that she had gone through in her wide circuit.

Here, therefore, arises the demand upon the artist first to be true and faithful in detail, in order to come forth complete and beautiful in the whole.  Here he must wrestle with the creative spirit of Nature (which in the human world also deals out character and stamp in endless variety), not in weak and effeminate, but stout and courageous conflict.

Page 81

Persevering exercise in the study of that by virtue of which the characteristic in things is a positive principle, must preserve him from emptiness, weakness, inward inanity, before he can venture to aim, by ever higher combination and final melting together of manifold forms, to reach the extremest beauty in works uniting the highest simplicity with infinite meaning.

Only through the perfection of form can Form be made to disappear; and this is certainly the final aim of Art in the Characteristic.  But as the apparent harmony that is even more easily reached by the empty and frivolous than by others, is yet inwardly vain; so in Art the quickly attained harmony of the exterior, without inward fulness.  And if it is the part of theory and instruction to oppose the spiritless copying of beautiful forms, especially must they oppose the tendency toward an effeminate characterless Art, which gives itself, indeed, higher names, but therewith only seeks to hide its incapacity to fulfil the fundamental conditions.

That lofty Beauty in which the fulness of form causes Form itself to disappear, was adopted by the modern theory of Art, after Winckelmann, not only as the highest, but as the only standard.  But as the deep foundation upon which it rests was overlooked, it resulted that a negative conception was formed even of that which is the sum of all affirmation.

Winckelmann compares Beauty with water drawn from the bosom of the spring, which, the less taste it has, the wholesomer it is esteemed.  It is true that the highest Beauty is characterless, but so we say of the Universe that it has no determinate dimension, neither length, breadth nor depth, since it has all in equal infinity; or that the Art of creative Nature is formless, because she herself is subjected to no form.

In this and in no other sense can we say that Grecian art in its highest development rises into the characterless; but it did not aim immediately at this.  It was from the bonds of Nature that it struggled upward to divine freedom.  From no lightly scattered seed, but only from a deeply infolded kernel, could this heroic growth spring up.  Only mighty emotions, only a deep stirring of the fancy through the impression of all-enlivening, all-commanding energies of Nature, could stamp upon Art that invincible vigor with which from the rigid, secluded earnestness of earlier productions up to the period of works overflowing with sensuous grace, it ever remained faithful to truth, and produced the highest spiritual Reality which it is given to mortals to behold.

In like manner, as their Tragedy commences with the grandest characteristicness in morals, so the beginning of their Plastic Art was the earnestness of Nature, and the stern goddess of Athens its first and only Muse.

This epoch is marked by that style which Winckelmann describes as the still harsh and severe, from which the next or lofty style was able to develop itself by the mere enhancement of the Characteristic into the Sublime and the Simple.

Page 82

For in the statues of the most perfect or divine natures not only all the complexity of form of which human nature is capable had to be united, but moreover the union must be such as may be conceived to exist in the system of the Universe itself—­the lower forms, or those relating to inferior attributes, being comprehended under higher, and all at last under one supreme form, in which they indeed extinguish one another as separately existing, but still continue in Essence and efficiency.

Thus, though we cannot call this high and self-sufficing Beauty characteristic, so far as herewith is connected the notion of limitation or conditionality in the manifestation, yet still the characteristic continues efficient, though indistinguishable, within; as in the crystal, although transparent, the texture nevertheless remains; each characteristic element has its weight, however slight, and helps to bring about the sublime equipoise of Beauty.

The outer side or basis of all Beauty is beauty of form.  But as Form cannot exist without Essence, wherever Form is, there also is Character, whether in visible presence or only perceptible in its effects.  Characteristic Beauty, therefore, is Beauty in the root, from which alone Beauty can arise as the fruit.  Essence may, indeed, outgrow Form, but even then the Characteristic remains as the still efficient groundwork of the Beautiful.

That most excellent critic,[6] to whom the gods have given sway over Nature as well as Art, compares the Characteristic in its relation to Beauty, with the skeleton in its relation to the living form.  Were we to interpret this striking simile in our sense, we should say that the skeleton, in Nature, is not, as in our thought, detached from the living whole; that the firm and the yielding, the determining and the determined, mutually presuppose each other, and can exist only together; thus that the vitally Characteristic is already the whole form, the result of the action and reaction of bone and flesh, of Active and Passive.  And although Art, like Nature, in its higher developments, thrusts inward the previously visible skeleton, yet the latter can never be opposed to Shape and Beauty, since it has always a determining share in the production of the one as well as of the other.

But whether that high and independent Beauty should be the only standard in Art, as it is the highest, seems to depend on the degree of fulness and extent that belongs to the particular Art.

Nature, in her wide circumference, ever exhibits the higher with the lower; creating in Man the godlike, she elaborates in all her other productions only its material and foundation, which must exist in order that in contrast with it the Essence as such may appear.  And even in the higher world of Man the great mass serves again as the basis upon which the godlike that is preserved pure in the few, manifests itself in legislation, government, and the establishment of Religion.  So that wherever Art works with more of the complexity of Nature, it may and must display, together with the highest measure of Beauty, also its groundwork and raw material, as it were, in distinct appropriate forms.

Page 83

Here first prominently unfolds itself the difference in Nature of the forms of Art.

Plastic Art, in the more exact sense of the term, disdains to give Space outwardly to the object, but bears it within itself.  This, however, narrows its field; it is compelled, indeed, to display the beauty of the Universe almost in a single point.  It must therefore aim immediately at the highest, and can attain complexity only separately and in the strictest exclusion of all conflicting elements.  By isolating the purely animal in human nature it succeeds in forming inferior creations too, harmonious and even beautiful, as we are taught by the beauty of numerous Fauns preserved from antiquity; yea, it can, parodying itself like the merry spirit of Nature, reverse its own Ideal, and, for instance, in the extravagance of the Silenic figures, by light and sportive treatment appear freed again from the pressure of matter.

But in all cases it is compelled strictly to isolate the work, in order to make it self-consistent and a world in itself; since for this form of Art there is no higher unity, in which the dissonance of particulars should be melted into harmony.

Painting, on the contrary, in the very extent of its sphere, can better measure itself with the Universe, and create with epic profusion.  In an Iliad there is room even for a Thersites; and what does not find a place in the great epic of Nature and History!

Here the Particular scarcely counts anything by itself; the Universe takes its place, and that, which by itself would not be beautiful, becomes so in the harmony of the whole.  If in an extensive painting, uniting forms by the allotted space, by light, by shade, by reflection, the highest measure of Beauty were everywhere employed, the result would be the most unnatural monotony; for, as Winckelmann says, the highest idea of Beauty is everywhere one and the same, and scarcely admits of variation.  The detail would be preferred to the whole, where, as in every case in which the whole is formed by multiplicity, the detail must be subordinate to it.

[Illustration:  THE JUNGFRAU From the Painting by Moritz von Schwind]

In such a work, therefore, a gradation of Beauty must be observed, by which alone the full Beauty concentrated in the focus becomes visible; and from an exaggeration of particulars proceeds an equipoise of the whole.  Here, then, the limited and characteristic finds its place; and theory at least should direct the painter, not so much to the narrow space in which the entire Beauty is concentrically collected, as to the characteristic complexity of Nature, through which alone he can impart to an extensive work the full measure of living significance.

Thus thought, among the founders of modern art, the noble Leonardo; thus Raphael, the master of high Beauty, who shunned not to exhibit it in smaller measure, rather than to appear monotonous, lifeless, and unreal—­though he understood not only how to produce it, but also how to break up uniformity by variety of expression.

Page 84

For, although Character can show itself also in rest and equilibrium of form, it is only in action that it becomes truly alive.

By character we understand a unity of several forces, operating constantly to produce among them a certain equipoise and determinate proportion, to which, if undisturbed, a like equipoise in the symmetry of the forms corresponds.  But if this vital Unity is to display itself in act and operation, this can only be when the forces, excited by some cause to rebellion, forsake their equilibrium.  Every one sees that this is the case in the Passions.

Here we are met by the well-known maxim of the theorists, which demands that Passion should be moderated as far as possible, in its actual outburst, that beauty of Form may not be injured.  But we think this maxim should rather be reversed, and read thus—­that Passion should be moderated by Beauty itself.  For it is much to be feared that this desired moderation too may be taken in a negative sense—­whereas, what is really requisite is to oppose to Passion a positive force.  For as Virtue consists, not in the absence of passions, but in the mastery of the spirit over them, so Beauty is preserved, not by their removal or abatement, but by the mastery of Beauty over them.

The forces of Passion must actually show themselves—­it must be seen that they are prepared to rise in mutiny, but are kept down by the power of Character, and break against the forms of firmly-founded Beauty, as the waves of a stream that just fills, but cannot overflow its banks.  Otherwise, this striving after moderation would resemble only the method of those shallow moralists, who, the more readily to dispose of Man, prefer to mutilate his nature; and who have so entirely removed every positive element from actions that the people gloat over the spectacle of great crimes, in order to refresh themselves at last with the view of something positive.

In Nature and Art the Essence strives first after actualization, or exhibition of itself in the Particular.  Thus in each the utmost severity is manifested at the commencement; for without bound, the boundless could not appear; without severity, gentleness could not exist; and if unity is to be perceptible, it can only be through particularity, detachment, and opposition.  In the beginning, therefore, the creative spirit shows itself entirely lost in the Form, inaccessibly shut up, and even in its grandeur still harsh.  But the more it succeeds in uniting its entire fulness in one product, the more it gradually relaxes from its severity; and where it has fully developed the form, so as to rest contented and self-collected in it, it seems to become cheerful and begins to move in gentle lines.  This is the period of its fairest maturity and blossom, in which the pure vessel has arrived at perfection; the spirit of Nature becomes free from its bonds, and feels its relationship to the soul.  By a gentle morning blush stealing over the whole form, the coming soul announces itself; it is not yet present, but everything prepares for its reception by the delicate play of gentle movements; the rigid outlines melt and temper themselves into flexibility; a lovely essence, neither sensuous nor spiritual, but which cannot be grasped, diffuses itself over the form, and intwines itself with every outline, every vibration of the frame.

Page 85

This essence, not to be seized, as we have already remarked, but yet perceptible to all, is what the language of the Greeks designated by the name Charis, ours as Grace.

Wherever, in a fully developed form, Grace appears, the work is complete on the side of Nature; nothing more is wanting; all demands are satisfied.  Here, already, soul and body are in complete harmony; Body is Form, Grace is Soul, although not Soul in itself, but the Soul of Form, or the Soul of Nature.

Art may linger, and remain stationary at this point; for already, on one side at least, its whole task is finished.  The pure image of Beauty arrested at this point is the Goddess of Love.

But the beauty of the Soul in itself, joined to sensuous Grace, is the highest apotheosis of Nature.

The spirit of Nature is only in appearance opposed to the Soul; essentially, it is the instrument of its revelation; it brings about indeed the antagonism that exists in all things, but only that the one essence may come forth, as the utmost benignity, and the reconciliation of all the forces.

All other creatures are driven by the mere force of Nature, and through it maintain their individuality; in Man alone, as the central point, arises the soul, without which the world would be like the natural universe without the sun.  The Soul in Man, therefore, is not the principle of individuality, but that whereby he raises himself above all egoism, whereby he becomes capable of self-sacrifice, of disinterested love, and (which is the highest) of the contemplation and knowledge of the Essence of things, and thus of Art.

In him it is no longer concerned about Matter nor has it immediate concern with it, but with the spirit only as the life of things.  Even while appearing in the body, it is yet free from the body, the consciousness of which hovers in the soul in the most beauteous shapes only as a light, undisturbing dream.  It is no quality, no faculty, nor anything special of the sort; it knows not, but is Science; it is not good, but Goodness; it is not beautiful, as body even may be, but Beauty itself.

In the first instance, it is true, in a work of art, the soul of the artist is seen as invention in the detail, and in the total result as the unity that hovers over the work in serene stillness.  But the Soul must be visible in objective representation, as the primeval energy of thought, in portraitures of human beings, altogether filled by an idea, by a noble contemplation; or as indwelling, essential Goodness.

Each of these finds its distinct expression even in the completest repose, but a more living one where the Soul can reveal itself in activity and antagonism; and since it is by the passions mainly that the peace of life is interrupted, it is the generally received opinion that the beauty of the Soul shows itself especially in its quiet supremacy amid the storm of the passions.

Page 86

But here an important distinction is to be made.  For the Soul must not be called upon to moderate those passions which are only an outbreak of the lower spirits of Nature, nor can it be displayed in antithesis with these; for where calm considerateness is still in contention with them, the Soul has not yet appeared; they must be moderated by unassisted Nature in Man, by the might of the Spirit.  But there are cases of a higher sort, in which not a single force alone, but the intelligent Spirit itself breaks down all barriers—­cases, indeed, where even the Soul is subjected by the bond that connects it with sensuous existence, to pain, which should be foreign to its divine nature; where Man feels himself hard fought and attacked in the root of his existence, not by mere powers of Nature, but by moral forces; where innocent error hurries him into crime, and thus into misery; where deep-felt injustice excites to rebellion the holiest feelings of humanity.

This is the case in all situations, truly, and, in a high sense, tragic, such as the Tragedy of the ancients brings before our eyes.  Where blindly passionate forces are aroused, the collected Spirit is present as the guardian of Beauty; but if the Spirit itself be carried away, as by an irresistible might, what power shall watch over and protect sacred beauty?  Or, if even the soul participate in the struggle, how shall it save itself from pain and from desecration?

Arbitrarily to restrain the power of pain, of feeling in revolt, would be to sin against the very meaning and aim of Art, and would betray a want of feeling and soul in the artist himself.

Already therein, that Beauty, based on grand and firmly established forms, has become Character, Art has provided the means of displaying without injury to symmetry the whole intensity of Feeling.  For where Beauty rests on mighty forms, as upon immovable pillars, even a slight change in its relations, scarcely touching the form, causes us to infer the great force that was necessary in order to provide it.  Still more does Grace sanctify pain.  It is the essential nature of Grace that it does not know itself; but not being wilfully acquired, it also cannot be wilfully lost.  When intolerable anguish, when even madness, sent by avenging gods, takes away consciousness and reason, Grace stands as a protecting demon by the suffering person, and prevents it from manifesting anything unseemly, anything discordant to Humanity, but sees to it that, if the person falls, it falls at least a pure and unspotted victim.

Although not yet the Soul itself, but its forebodings only, Grace accomplishes by natural means what the Soul does by a divine power, in transforming pain, torpor, even death itself, into Beauty.

Yet Grace, which thus maintained itself in the extremest adversity, would be dead, without its transfiguration by the Soul.  But what expression can belong to the Soul in this situation?  It delivers itself from pain, and comes forth conquering, not conquered, by relinquishing its connection with sensuous existence.

Page 87

It is for the natural Spirit to exert its energies for the preservation of sensuous existence; the Soul enters not into this contest, but its presence moderates even the storms of painfully-struggling life.  Outward force can take away only outward goods, but not reach the Soul; it can tear asunder a temporal bond, not dissolve the eternal one of a truly divine love.  Not hard and unfeeling, nor giving up love itself, on the contrary the Soul displays in pain this love alone, as the sentiment that outlasts sensuous existence, and thus raises itself above the ruins of outward life or fortune in divine glory.

It is this expression of the Soul that the creator of the Niobe has presented to us.  All the means by which Art tempers even the Terrible, are here made use of.  Mightiness of form, sensuous Grace, nay, even the nature of the subject-matter itself, soften the expression, through this, that Pain, transcending all expression, annihilates itself, and Beauty, which it seemed impossible to preserve from destruction when alive, is protected from injury by the commencing torpor.

But what would it all be without the Soul, and how does this manifest itself?

We see on the countenance of the mother, not grief alone for the already prostrated flower of her children; not alone deadly anxiety for the preservation of those yet remaining, and of the youngest daughter, who has fled for safety to her bosom; nor resentment against the cruel deities; least of all, as is pretended, cool defiance-all these we see, indeed, but not these alone; for, through grief, anxiety, and resentment streams, like a divine light, eternal love, as that which alone remains; and in this is preserved the mother, as one who was not, but now is a mother, and who remains united with the beloved ones by an eternal bond.

Every one acknowledges that greatness, purity, and goodness of Soul have also their sensuous expressions.  But how is this conceivable, unless the principle that acts in Matter be itself cognate and similar to Soul?

For the representation of the Soul there are again gradations in Art, according as it is joined with the merely Characteristic, or in visible union with the Charming and Graceful.

Who perceives not already, in the tragedies of AEschylus, the presence of that lofty morality which is predominant in the works of Sophocles?  But in the former it is enveloped in a bitter rind, and passes less into the whole work, since the bond of sensuous Grace is still wanting.  But out of this severity, and the still rude charms of earlier Art, could proceed the grace of Sophocles, and with it the complete fusion of the two elements, which leaves us doubtful whether it is more moral or sensuous Grace that enchants us in the works of this poet.

The same is true of the plastic productions of the early and severe style, in comparison with the gentleness of the later.

Page 88

If Grace, besides being the transfiguration of the spirit of Nature, is also the medium of connection between moral Goodness and sensuous Appearance, it is evident how Art must tend from all points toward it as its centre.  This Beauty, which results from the perfect interpenetration of moral Goodness and sensuous Grace, seizes and enchants us when we meet it, with the force of a miracle.  For, whilst the spirit of Nature shows itself everywhere else independent of the Soul, and, indeed, in a measure opposed to it, here, it seems, as if by voluntary accord, and the inward fire of divine love, to melt into union with it; the remembrance of the fundamental unity of the essence of Nature and the essence of the Soul comes over the beholder with sudden clearness—­the conviction that all antagonism is only apparent, that Love is the bond of all things, and pure Goodness the foundation and substance of the whole Creation.

Here Art, as it were, transcends itself, and again becomes means only.  On this summit sensuous Grace becomes in turn only the husk and body of a higher life; what was before a whole is treated as a part, and the highest relation of Art and Nature is reached in this—­that it makes Nature the medium of manifesting the soul which it contains.

But though in this blossoming of Art, as in the blossoming of the vegetable kingdom, all the previous stages are repeated, yet, on the other hand, we may see in what various directions Art can proceed from this centre.  Especially does the difference in nature of the two forms of Plastic Art here show itself most strongly.  For Sculpture, representing its ideas by corporeal things, seems to reach its highest point in the complete equilibrium of Soul and Matter—­if it give a preponderance to the latter it sinks below its own idea—­but it seems altogether impossible for it to elevate the Soul at the expense of Matter, since it must thereby transcend itself.  The perfect sculptor indeed, as Winckelmann remarks apropos of the Belvedere Apollo, will use no more material than is needful to accomplish his spiritual purpose; but also, on the other hand, he will put into the Soul no more energy than is at the same time expressed in the material; for precisely upon this, fully to embody the spiritual, depends his art.  Sculpture, therefore, can reach its true summit only in the representation of those natures in whose constitution it is implied that they actually embody all that is contained in their Idea or Soul; thus only in divine natures.  So that Sculpture, even if no Mythology had preceded it, would of itself have come upon gods, and have invented such if it found none.

Moreover as the Spirit, on this lower platform, has again the same relation to Matter that we have ascribed to the Soul (being the principle of activity and motion, as Matter is that of rest and inaction), the law that regulates Expression and Passion must be a fundamental principle of its nature.

Page 89

But this law must be applicable not only to the lower passions, but also equally to those higher and godlike passions, if it is permitted so to call them, by which the Soul is affected in rapture, in devotion, in adoration.  Hence, since from these passions the gods alone are exempt, Sculpture is inclined from this side also to the imaging of divine natures.

The nature of Painting, however, seems to differ entirely from that of Sculpture.  For the former represents objects, not like the latter, by corporeal things, but by light and color, through a medium therefore itself incorporeal and in a measure spiritual.  Painting, moreover, gives out its productions nowise as the things themselves, but expressly as pictures.  From its very nature therefore it does not lay as much stress on the material as Sculpture, and seems indeed for this reason, while exalting the material above the spirit, to degrade itself more than Sculpture in a like case; on the other hand to be so much more justified in giving a clear preponderance to the Soul.

Where it aims at the highest it will indeed ennoble the passions by Character, or moderate them by Grace, or manifest in them the power of the Soul:  but on the other hand it is precisely those higher passions, depending on the relationship of the Soul with a Supreme Being, that are entirely suited to the nature of Painting.  Indeed, while Sculpture maintains an exact balance between the force whereby a thing exists outwardly and acts in Nature and that by virtue of which it lives inwardly and as Soul, and excludes mere suffering even from Matter, Painting may soften in favor of the Soul the characteristicness of the force and activity in Matter, and transform it into resignation and endurance, making it apparent that Man becomes more generally susceptible to the inspirations of the Soul, and to higher influences in general.

This diametrical difference explains of itself not only the necessary predominance of Sculpture in the ancient, and of Painting in the modern world (since in the former the tone of mind was thoroughly plastic, whereas the latter makes even the Soul the passive instrument of higher revelations); but this also is evident—­that it is not enough to strive after the Plastic in form and manner of representation, but that it is requisite, before all, to think and to feel plastically, that is, antiquely.

And as the deviation of Sculpture into the picturesque is destructive to Art, so the narrowing down of Painting to the conditions and forms belonging to Sculpture is an arbitrarily imposed limitation.  For while Sculpture, like gravitation, acts toward one point, it is permitted to Painting, as to light, to fill all space with its creative energy.

Page 90

This unlimited universality of Painting is demonstrated by History itself, and by the examples of the greatest masters, who, without injury to the essential character of their art, have developed to perfection each particular stage by itself, so that we can find also in the history of Art the same sequence that may be pointed out in its nature—­not indeed in exact order of time, but yet substantially.  For thus is represented in Michelangelo the oldest and mightiest epoch of liberated Art, that in which it displays its yet uncontrolled strength in gigantic progeny; as in the fables of the symbolic Fore-world, the Earth, after the embrace of Uranus, brought forth at first Titans and heaven-storming giants before the mild reign of the serene gods began.

Thus the painting of the Last Judgment, with which, as the sum of his art, that giant spirit filled the Sistine Chapel, seems to remind us more of the first ages of the Earth and its products, than of its last.  Attracted toward the most hidden abysses of organic, particularly of the human form, he shuns not the Terrible; nay, he seeks it purposely, and startles it from its repose in the dark workshops of Nature.  Want of delicacy, grace, pleasingness, he balances by the extremest energy; and if he excites horror by his representations, it is the terror that, according to fable, the ancient god Pan spreads around him when he suddenly appears in the assemblies of men.

It is the method of Nature to produce the extraordinary by isolation and the exclusion of opposed qualities.  Thus, it was necessary that, in Michelangelo, earnestness and the deep significant energy of Nature should prevail, rather than a sense of the grace and sensibility that belong to the Soul, in order to display the extreme of pure plastic force in the painting of modern times.

After the earlier violence and the vehement impulse of birth is assuaged, the spirit of Nature is transfigured into Soul, and Grace is born.  This point Art reached, after Leonardo da Vinci, in Correggio, in whose works the sensuous Soul is the active principle of Beauty.

* * * * *

As the modern fable of Psyche closes the circle of the old mythology; so Painting, by giving a preponderance to the Soul, attained a new, though not a higher step of Art.

This Guido Reni strove after, and became the proper painter of the Soul.  Such seems to us to be the necessary interpretation of his whole endeavor, often uncertain, and, in many of his works, losing itself in the vague.

This is shown, as, perhaps, in few of his other pictures, in the masterpiece that is offered to the admiration of all in the great collection of our king.

In the figure of the heavenward-ascending Virgin, all harshness and sternness are effaced, even to the last trace; and, indeed, does not Painting itself seem in it to soar upward, transfigured on its own pinions, as the liberated Psyche delivered from the severity of Form?

Page 91

Here nothing outward remains, with separate natural force; everything expresses receptivity and still endurance, even the perishable flesh, the character of which the Italian language designates by the term morbidezza, altogether unlike that with which Raphael invests the descending Queen of Heaven, as she appears to the adoring pope and a saint.

Though the remark be well-founded, that the original of Guido’s female heads is the Niobe of antiquity, yet the ground of this similarity is surely no mere intentional imitation; perhaps a like aim led to like means.

As the Florentine Niobe is an extreme in Sculpture, and the representation in it of the Soul, so this well-known picture is an extreme in Painting, which here ventures to lay aside even the requisite of shade and the obscure, and to work almost with pure Light.

Even though it might be permitted to Painting, from its peculiar nature, to give a distinct preponderance to the Soul, yet theory and instruction will do best constantly to aim at that original Centre, whence alone Art may be produced ever anew; whereas, at the stage last mentioned, it must necessarily stand still, or degenerate into cramped mannerism.  For even that higher passion is opposed to the idea of having reached the acme of energy, whose image and reflex Art is called upon to display.

A right intelligence will ever enjoy seeing a creature worthily, and, as far as possible, also individually, represented; yea, Deity itself would look down with pleasure on a being that, gifted with a pure soul, should stoutly assert the dignity of its nature outwardly also, and by its sensually efficient existence.

We have seen how the work of Art, springing up out of the depths of Nature, begins with determinateness and limitation, unfolds its inward plenitude and infinity, is finally transfigured in Grace, and at last attains to Soul.  But we can conceive only in detail what, in the creative act of mature Art, is but one operation.  No theory and no rules can give this spiritual, creative power.  It is the pure gift of Nature, which here, for the second time, makes a close; for, having fully actualized herself, she invests the creature with her creative energy.  But as, in the grand progress of Art, these different stages appeared successively, until, at the highest, all joined in one; so also, in particulars, sound culture can spring up only where it has unfolded itself regularly from the germ and root to the blossom.

The requirement that Art, like everything living, should commence from the first rudiments, and, to renew its youth, constantly return to them, may seem a hard doctrine to an age that has so often been assured that it has only to take from works of Art already in existence the most consummate Beauty, and thus, as at a step, to reach the final goal.  Have we not already the Excellent, the Perfect?  How then should we return to the rudimentary and unformed?

Page 92

Had the great founders of modern Art thought thus, we should never have seen their miracles.  Before them also stood the creations of the ancients, round statues and works in relief, which they might have transferred immediately to their canvas.  But such an appropriation of a Beauty not self-won, and therefore unintelligible, would not satisfy an artistic instinct that aimed throughout at the fundamental, and from which the Beautiful was again to create itself with free original energy.  They were not afraid, therefore, to appear simple, artless, dry, beside those exalted ancients; nor to cherish Art for a long time in the undistinguished bud, until the period of Grace had arrived.

Whence comes it that we still look upon these works of the older masters, from Giotto to the teacher of Raphael, with a sort of reverence, indeed with a certain predilection, if not that the faithfulness of their endeavor, and the grand earnestness of their serene voluntary limitation, compel our respect and admiration.

The same relation that they held to the ancients, the present generation holds to them.  Their time and ours are joined by no living transmission, no link of continuous, organic growth; we must reproduce Art in the way they did, but with energy of our own, in order to be like them.

Even that Indian-summer of Art, at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries, could call forth only a few new blossoms on the old stem, but no productive germs, still less plant a new tree of Art.  But to set aside the works of perfected Art, and to seek out its scanty and simple beginnings, as some have desired, would be a new and perhaps greater mistake; it would be no real return to the fundamental; simplicity would be affectation, and grow into hypocritical show.

But what prospect does the present time offer for an Art springing from a vigorous germ, and growing up from the root?  For it is in a great measure dependent on the character of its time; and who would promise the approbation of the present time to such earnest beginnings, when Art, on the one hand, scarcely obtains equal consideration with other instruments of prodigal luxury, and, on the other, artists and amateurs, with entire want of ability to grasp Nature, praise and demand the Ideal?

Art springs only from that powerful striving of the inmost powers of the heart and the spirit, which we call Inspiration.  Everything that from difficult or small beginnings has grown up to great power and height, owes its growth to Inspiration.  Thus spring empires and states, thus arts and sciences.  But it is not the power of the individual that accomplishes this, but the Spirit alone, that diffuses itself over all.  For Art especially is dependent on the tone of the public mind, as the more delicate plants on atmosphere and weather; it needs a general enthusiasm for Sublimity and Beauty, like that which, in the time of the Medici, as a warm breath of spring, called forth at once and together all those great spirits.

Page 93

* * * * *

It is only when the public life is actuated by the same forces through whose energy Art is elevated, that the latter can derive any advantage from it; for Art cannot, without giving up the nobility of its nature, aim at anything outward.

Art and Science can move only on their own axes; the artist, like every spiritual laborer, can follow only the law that God and Nature have written in his heart.  None can help him—­he must help himself; nor can he be outwardly rewarded, since anything that he should produce for the sake of aught out of itself, would thereby become a nullity; hence, too, no one can direct him, nor prescribe the path he is to tread.  Is he to be pitied if he have to contend against his time, he is deserving of contempt if he truckle to it.  But how should it be even possible for him to do this?  Without great general enthusiasm there are only sects—­no public opinion; not an established taste, not the great ideas of a whole people, but the voices of a few arbitrarily-appointed judges, determine as to merit; and Art, which in its elevation is self-sufficing, courts favor, and serves where it should rule.

To different ages are given different inspirations.  Can we expect none for this age, since the new world now forming itself, as it exists in part already outwardly, in part inwardly and in the hearts of men, can no longer be measured by any standard of previous opinion, and since everything, on the contrary, loudly demands higher standards and an entire renovation?

Should not the sense to which Nature and History have more livingly unfolded themselves, restore to Art also its great arguments?  The attempt to draw sparks from the ashes of the Past, and fan them again into universal flame, is a vain endeavor.  Only a revolution in the ideas themselves is able to raise Art from its exhaustion; only new Knowledge, new Faith, can inspire it for the work by which it can display, in a renewed life, a splendor like the past.

An Art in all respects the same as that of foregoing centuries, will never return; for Nature never repeats herself.  Such a Raphael will never be again, but another, who shall have reached in an equally original manner the summit of Art.  Only let the fundamental conditions be fulfilled, and renewed Art will show, like that which preceded it, in its first works, its aim and intent.  In the production of the distinctly characteristic, if it proceed from a fresh original energy, Grace is already present, even though hidden, and in both the advent of the Soul already determined.  Works produced in this manner, even in their rudimentary imperfection, are necessary and eternal. * * *

LATER GERMAN ROMANTICISM

By George H. Danton, PH.D

Professor of German, Butler College

Page 94

The group of later Romanticists is distinguished from the earlier pioneers by less emphasis on speculative philosophy, by greater spontaneity, and by more creative ability.  The later school was less interested in questions primarily esthetic and was more democratic.  Both groups were enemies of the aristocratic Enlightenment of the eighteenth century; but where the earlier group worked with the Kantian understanding and with a supersensuous philosophy, the younger men lived in the world and were of it; they used the people to carry on their propaganda.  Thus, though later Romanticism contains nearly all the ideas of earlier Romanticism, it displays in addition also, political, national, and social tendencies which were in the main foreign to the earlier writers.

There was in the later group a deeper sense of religion and a firmer belief in the spiritual foundations of experience than is shown by their predecessors, though all Romanticism tried to penetrate the mysteries of life and all Romanticists were seers as well as prophets.  In the later school, too, there appears a development of the nature-sense far beyond anything shown in the first group.  Indeed, the Schlegels may be said to have been without a sense for nature; in Tieck there is a great discrepancy between the man, his beliefs, and his practise, and Novalis’ nature-feeling is not attached to any specific place.  But Brentano loves the Rhine, and Eichendorff’s landscape is genuinely Silesian.  Caroline and Dorothea know nothing of the mood which makes Bettina throw herself prone in the grass to watch an insect crawl over her hand.

A keener appreciation of natural beauty led to a study of natural science; thence it was but a step to the “night-sides” of nature; and spiritism, mesmerism, occultism, and abnormal psychology fill the minds of such men as the Romantic philosopher Schubert, and of the physicians Carus and Passavant.  Justinus Kerner wrote of the Seeress of Prevorst, and Clemens Brentano watched for years at the bedside of a stigmatized nun.  On the other hand, from nature comes a love for home and country, and this love serves as a bridge to the patriotism which was the vital force in the Wars of Liberation and which, by well-marked gradations, destroyed the cosmopolitanism engendered by the French Revolution.  Art went hand in hand with nature; the wild, weird landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich, fascinating and specifically German, express the Romantic spirit fully as well as the delicate, spiritual, and thoroughly sane fancies of Philip Otto Runge, the artist of early Romanticism.

Page 95

As the earlier men centred in Jena, so the later Romanticists flourished in Heidelberg, that city which Eichendorff called “itself a magnificent Romanticism.”  The earlier group was largely North German and brought with it clear perception and a certain power of analysis, an ability to dissect and to reason.  With the Heidelberg group the South begins to play a larger part, though there were a number of North Germans in it.  The richer fancy, the longer literary tradition, now add color to their productions.  It is significant, too, that though “castle Romanticism” does not die out, a new note is struck with the celebration of the Rhine in song, story, and legend.  The river begins with Romantic tradition and in a Romantic milieu, but rises to political significance as “Germany’s stream and not Germany’s boundary.”  The southward tendency of the movement reached its climax when its centre shifted to Munich, with a culture-loving king, an Academy of Sciences and a new University.  Munich was fortunately not destined to become like Vienna, that other South German city, “a Capua of the spirit.”

Though certain members of the later Romantic group were closely associated with each other in a way that was unknown to the older set, Arnim and Savigny having each married a sister of Brentano, there was less real solidarity among them than in their forerunners.  By no means all the men treated within the confines of the present article had the close personal association which, when combined with intellectual or literary activity, goes by the rather loose name of a “school.”  The first Romanticists were held together by a common effort to formulate or to attain a speculative philosophy.  In the second group, there was a decentralizing, catholicizing tendency, and, above all, a greater individual creative ability.  It was not merely the chance difference of external fortunes that kept them apart, though they never held together after the death of Brentano’s wife in 1806, but that each projected his individuality into his literary work rather than into a common polemic ideal.  The path-finding and discovery had already been done; in the quieter backwater it was possible to develop well-rounded works of real esthetic value.

Very significant of the differences between the schools is their journalistic activity.  The ideal of the first Romanticists was to work without collaboration; but the very prospectus of Arnim’s Journal for Hermits is signed by a company of editors.  The early journals were turned to the study of German literature through a renunciation of the present; the later Germanic studies arose from a high idealism and from a sincere desire to awaken the present to new national activity.  When, later in life, Goerres remarked of these journals that their collaborators felt as if they were accompanying the Holy Roman Empire to its grave, he was thinking of the year in which the most important of them flourished, 1808.  In this, Germany’s darkest period, Kleist’s Phoebus, so cordially hated by many, and Arnim’s Journal for Hermits had their brief but influential career.

Page 96

Such a journal as the Athenaeum, with its over-emphasis on the esthetic, with its fighting spirit, its excoriating, inexorable wit, its constructive and destructive criticism, its complete and total silence on Schiller, would have been an impossibility in the later period.  The feeling for and thinking in Fragments, as practised by Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis, was foreign to the new school.  They had no illusions that such thinking would become the daily custom of the people; they kept their eyes open to that which went on about them, and though they no more dared than the earlier group to work directly upon the political conditions of the day as did Goerres later (1814) in his Rheinischer Merkur, they attempted indirectly to react on the broad mass by branching out into religion and other folk-interests as the earlier school never cared to do.  Perhaps this is an excuse for the shallowness of some of the product, especially of the fiction; at any rate, the attempt at dissemination was not without its success.

The external link connecting the two schools as well as the Romantic groups in general and the object of their star-worship, Goethe, was Clemens Maria Brentano (1778-1842), in many ways the most typical Romantic figure of either school.  Brentano’s grandmother, Sophie La Roche, had been the friend of Wieland; his mother, Maximiliane, played a not unimportant role in the life of the young Goethe and is immortalized in the latter part of Werther.  Maximiliane married Brentano, an Italian from the Como region, and Clemens was the third child of this loveless union.  Brentano’s early life was not happy; he was destined for a business career but was a failure in it, and then studied at various universities but with no great application or success.  From 1797-1800 he was at Jena, where he succeeded in making himself hated by the Schlegels in spite of his defense of them in his satirical play, Gustav Wasa (1800).  This play, in the manner of Tieck’s Puss in Boots, attempts to ridicule Kotzebue.  The method is the same as Tieck’s:  there is the play within the play, the gagged officer (to take the place of the critic Boettger), the puns, of which, perhaps, the one on Lucinde (Lux inde) is the best, and which, as often in Brentano, go beyond and surpass Tieck.  Romantic irony flourishes:  the whole world of the theatre, the author, the very lights, the building, the working day and the musical instruments in the orchestra are dramatized in turn.  The dialogue of the latter far more intimately suggests their quality than does the speech of the flutes in Tieck, where their spirit is cerulean blue. Wasa, unfortunately, runs off into dull allegory, and this work is not to be compared with August von Schlegel’s Gate of Honor as a satire on the same subject.

Page 97

Brentano’s Godwi (1801), the sub-title of which, “An Unmanageable Novel by Maria,” shows its character, is a far better production.  It has the strong, full-blooded, passionate love of life characteristic of its author, “the many-souled” Brentano, whose Romantic irony resulted from his being ashamed of his sentimentality, and whose hatred of philistinism was caused by his fear of his own latent tendency toward that point of view.  The plot of Godwi runs wild, but the satire and the interspersed lyrics make it interesting reading.  Romantic irony can go no farther than in this book, in which the author’s own death-bed scene is portrayed and in which the preceding parts of the work are referred to by page and line—­“This is the pond into which I fall on page so and so.”

If Brentano’s Rosary cycle (1809) is somewhat unpleasantly superhuman, and if, at times, he mixes sex and religion like a mystic of the Middle Ages or a Spaniard of the Counter Reformation, he rises to wonderful lyric heights when he touches his own experiences, or when he expresses the note of the people.  His use of the supernatural, of the subconscious mood, gives rise to such poems as The Lore-Lay, the legend of which was actually invented by Brentano.  Like all Romanticists, Brentano was a poet of incomplete works, of moods which abandoned him before the artistic perfection of his effort was reached; but his suggestive touches, and, above all, his constant use of the refrain in all phases and genres, especially to emphasize and summarize his musical consciousness, are a striking proof of the French adage, “Quand le coeur chante, c’est toujours un refrain.”  Brentano surrenders himself passionately to his mood.  His surrender and his distorting irony, like Heine’s, arise from his desire to assimilate all of the outside world; it explains, in part, the Romantic desire to mediate, to translate, to bridge the cleft between oneself and the world.  In part, too, it explains the desire for musical imitation so apparent in both Tieck and Brentano.  It is an attempt to express in terms of one sense the ideas or apperceptions of another.  But where Tieck falls into meaningless jingle, Brentano succeeds, not merely in suggesting but in producing the effect, as in his Merry Musicians (1803), or in bringing about its latent mood, as in his Spinner’s Song or in his version of the old folk-epithalamium, “Come out, come out, thou lovely, lovely bride.”

Brentano’s prose tales vary in quality from the over-allegorized latter part of The Fairy Tale of the Rhine and the Miller Radlauf (1816) to the simple and homely Kasper and Annie (1817), with its elemental clash of soldiers and citizens.  Through many of the tales there runs a note of satire and of symbolism, but the fancy is exuberant and the interest well maintained.  Brentano’s discovery of the Rhine as an object of poetry and veneration is completely summarized in Radlauf, where the Rhine lyrics are often of wonderful beauty and definiteness and the river becomes a benevolent deus ex machina, who—­significantly—­in dreams, guides and aids the simple, honest miller in his search for a bride.

Page 98

Later in life, Brentano returned to the Roman Church into which he had been baptized as a child, and gradually withdrew from literary activity.  Long before his death in 1842, he had renounced his earlier life as wicked and abhorrent, and had given himself over entirely to the Church.  But his career with its constant wanderings, its lack of permanency of occupation, of family ties, and of a real home, his inability to grow old, his inner unreality, his excessive productivity-in short, all that is incomplete, over-stimulated, destructive of self, make him the most typical figure of the later Romantic group.

Ludwig Achim von Arnim (1781-1831) is by no means so bizarre a figure.  Born in Berlin of a noble family, he inherited a peculiar patriotism and his love of culture, and developed these without the eccentricities which characterized his brother-in-law.  The main influences of his early years were Goethe and Jena, but, as a direct inspiration, Tieck must also be mentioned.  Arnim’s early works lie largely in the field of natural science, especially in physics.  He had little of Brentano’s lyric gift; indeed, his poems, where not wooden, are often merely reminiscent.  They show, too, in an unusual degree, the ability to adapt himself to another’s mood and assimilate it—­that which the Germans call “Nachempfinden,” a quality which stood him in excellent stead in his work on The Boy’s Magic Horn.

The drama Halle and Jerusalem (1810) is an amalgamation of the story of Cardenio and Celinde used by Gryphius and Immermann, with the story of the Wandering Jew.  The first four acts take place in Halle where Cardenio is a teacher and where he is living in incestuous relation with Olympia.  He is a Faust-nature and his father is Ahasuerus.  The fifth act is taken up with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where the romantic fates of the characters are decided.  The play abounds in contemporary satire and, as in all of Arnim’s work, there is distinct emphasis on action, the goal of human endeavor.

Arnim’s prose is better than his verse.  Soon, in The Guardians of the Crown (1817; volume 2 unfinished and published in his literary remains, 1854), he strikes an individual note.  This novel is one of the best products of German Romanticism.  The Guardians are a mysterious secret organization who guard the imperial crown in a fairy castle and are favorable to the ancient house of Hohenstaufen but inimical to the ruling Habsburgs.  The basis is the newly awakening ideal of German unity but Arnim fails to express this clearly, and the concluding motif, that Germany’s crown is to be spiritually won, resolves the whole into a frosty allegory.  The progress of the story is, however, extremely interesting; the whole spacious and varied scene of medieval life is there, and as Tieck and Wackenroder discovered Nuremberg, and Brentano the Rhine, so Arnim may be said to have shown in its full activity the Ghibelline city of Waiblingen.  It is, to be sure, a Romantic

Page 99

Waiblingen, and not the real city, as Arnim himself was afterward forced to admit with some disappointment when he actually saw it.  But as Arnim portrays it, it rises to typical value without losing any of its poetic individuality.  It is the city of the Hohenstaufens, the last stand of medievalism against the encroachment of a new civilization.  The echoes from Gotz von Berlichingen are at once apparent to the reader.  But Arnim’s city of the sixteenth century does not look backward only; the conflicts in it point forward also.  Its abbess is not the traditional pious, fat old lady, but a tall, thin, practical and active woman.  Its Faust is a figure of aggressive naturalism, a charlatan and quack who practises blood-transfusion on the hero and who lies drunk in a pig-sty—­a scene which shows Arnim’s power of drastic contrast at its best.  The hero, Berthold, does not sit back and wait for the crown to come to him, but with money mysteriously given him builds a cloth-mill on the site of his ancestral palace and becomes the mayor of the city.  How different a picture from the hazy cities of Novalis’ Heinrich von Ofterdingen!  It is a part of the new spirit in Romanticism to point the way for the people of Germany to go forward—­to leave mysticism and dreams, and to grapple with the life around them.

A similar impulse toward popularization actuated Arnim and Brentano in their joint work, The Boy’s Magic Horn (1806-8).  This is the achievement upon which their greatest fame will always rest.  It is one of the best collections of folk-songs and popular ballads in any language, and has been of the greatest influence upon Germany.  There was no desire on the part of the editors to write a learned treatise; they simply wished to gather together and record the folk-songs of the Fatherland before they were lost forever.  In Arnim’s own words:  “The richness of this our national song cannot fail to attract universal attention; it will surprise many; it will supplement many an effort of our own times, or will render such effort needless.  We expect a great deal from the joyous happy life in these songs—­a manifold, full tone in poetry, an echo of very definite ideas, or an impulse to arouse many a half-forgotten youthful memory.  These poems will not only be read, they will be remembered and sung.  They embrace in their content, perhaps the greatest portion of German poetry.  They will thus set free many an indefinite longing—­a something which is not satisfied by much re-reading.”

Goethe greeted the new undertaking with enthusiasm and urged the editors to “keep their poetic archives clean, strict, and in good order.”  He, too, urged that “this book should be in every house where joyful humans dwell, by the window, under the mirror, or where song book and cook book lie.  There it should remain, ready to be opened, and there something should be found for every varying mood.”  While this fate has not been granted the work, it has grown deservedly popular.  Philological criticism has caviled at the free hand which Arnim, especially, used in remolding the songs, but the editors are freed of any possible charge of intellectual dishonesty toward reader and source in that their object was to present artistic unities and not material for further study and dissection.

Page 100

A folk-song is a song which has become a part of the lyric consciousness of the people; often the singers do not know that what they are singing has a literary origin—­they have thoroughly assimilated it.  In the best sense of the term, the songs of The Boy’s Magic Horn are folk-songs.  They are both narrative and dramatic as well as pure lyric in form, and are simple, powerful, and direct in expression.  They treat all phases of German life of the past, from a crude version of the Lay of Hildebrant to the riddles, lullabies, and counting-out rhymes of children.  Pictures of the moral and social life of peasant Germany are followed by poems of nature and of the supernatural.  Tragedies vary with humorous skits, extravagant and mocking, and the collection is enlivened with many flyting poems about tailors—­a favorite butt of the peasant past.  Ballads of popular origin and ballads with an added sentimental touch, such as the famous Strassburg poem with the added Alpine horn motif, are found here.  Delicate, haunting rhymes alternate with crude assonances, and occasionally one meets with banalities; but, as a whole, the collection is of surprising merit.  It is a product of the Romantic return to the past, but is filled with a poetic outlook toward the future.  Of the work as a whole Heine says, “I cannot praise the book enough.  It contains the most graceful flowers of the German spirit, and he who wishes to know the German people at their best, let him read these folk-songs. * * * In these songs one feels the heart-beat of the German folk.  It is a revelation of all melancholy cheerfulness, all their foolish reason.  Here German anger beats its drum, here is the pipe of German scorn, the kiss of German love.”

The part which the Romantic mood played in the Wars of Liberation is definite and well-recognized.  The soldier, Gneisenau, felt that the politics of the future lay in the poetry of the day, and Adam Muller proudly proclaimed poetry to be a war-power:  The Romantic longing for the distance, for love, when directed to the remote past of the Fatherland, not only yielded a new life in art and religion but induced a tremendous patriotism as well.  The cosmopolitan temper which caused Lessing to say that love of country was an unknown feeling to him, gave way before an intenser nationalism.  The earlier Romanticists began it; in the later group it took more specific form and became a propaganda.  It was also precipitated in verse and prose.  The spark came from Fichte, who was gradually led to see in the destiny of the German people a large cultural fact.  Fichte, like a true German, emphasized education as the means of progress:  Arnim grasped the problem from another side; he felt himself autochthonous, and consciously set out to make his connection with the soil react on those sprung from the soil.  In him, as well as in Fichte, dawns the ideal of the German people as an entity, as a nation.

Page 101

There are three poets whose main value lies in the appeal they made to the belligerent spirit of the day.  They represent three phases of the German character.  Ernst Moritz Arndt (1769-1860), the eldest of the group, is the pamphleteer, the politician, and the teacher, as well as the poet.  He is the hard-headed, earnest intellectual whose lyric poetry, whatever its esthetic weaknesses, arouses to action by its deadly insistence on an idea, on hatred of the French, on salvation by the sword.  Arndt is all virility and fire.

The life of Theodor Koerner (1791-1813), the son of Schiller’s intimate friend, shows that mixture of idealism and practicality for which the Germans are becoming more and more noted.  Koerner was aroused from his poetic diletantism by the alarms of war.  He enlisted in the famous Luetzow corps and died a soldier’s death, thus becoming the symbol of all that was ideal for the patriotic youth of his day, the hero and the poet, the man of “Lyre and Sword.”  His patriotic poems, often composed on the very field of battle, were sung by the soldiers to the roll of cannon and the beat of drum.  The trace of Schiller’s rhetoric in Koerner’s poems adds to their effectiveness, spurring to action and firing young minds to patriotic emulation of high ideals.  Like Arndt’s lyrics, Koerner’s poems are actual documents in the struggle for liberty-verses which affected men.

The German mystic trait, the touch of the religious, marks the poetry of Max Schenkendorf (1783-1817).  His was a quieter nature, which loved the Fatherland, its language, its romantic scenes and past.  Characteristic also is his veneration for Queen Luise, whose beauty, tenderness, and fortitude had endeared her to the people as well as to the poets.

Though every Romantic poet took some stand on the questions of the day, the most distinctly lyric of them, Joseph von Eichendorff (1788-1857), was not of a military temperament.  Even he, however, followed the King of Prussia’s call to arms but, significantly enough for “the last Knight of Romanticism,” as he was called, arrived a day too late on the field of Waterloo.  The somewhat fanciful title by no means indicates a jouster at windmills; it implies, rather, that in Eichendorff there were gathered for the last time with all their poetic brilliancy, the declining rays of the Romantic movement.  After him, the enthusiasm is in its decline or changes to forms which lie outside the confines of the Romantic spirit.

Eichendorff is a thorough pleinairiste, filled with the atmosphere of his native Silesia and, in some measure, hardly intelligible apart from its landscape.  His birth-place, the castle of Lubowitz, near Ratibor, rising high on a hill in full sight of the Oder, is the ultimate background of all his nature-poetry.  Here must be localized the ever-recurring hill and valley, wood, nightingale, and castle.  Here, too, he heard the rustling of the forest leaves and

Page 102

the splashing of the fountain; here he was grounded in the strong and pious, if somewhat narrow, Catholicism of his race.  It was a Catholicism, however, which was genuinely Romantic in that it sought comfort in sorrow directly from nature, a tendency which gives rise to some of the best and most heartfelt religious poetry in German literature.  A fine example of this is to be found in Eichendorff’s beautiful poems on the death of his child.  It is interesting to see how, in this spiritual poetry, there is a constant melting of nature into religion, a dissolving of the Romantic atmosphere, of that youthful fervor which Eichendorff never really outgrew but continued to draw upon for inspiration for all his later work, into a broad, deep, manly piety.

Eichendorff’s poetry began with Tieckian notes; it was influenced by Brentano, and, unfortunately, was colored by the productions of Count Otto von Loeben (1786-1825), a pseudo-Romanticist of less than mediocre ability.  But Eichendorff’s individuality, with its constant accentuation of the acoustic, soon made itself felt and brought into German poetry what Tieck had tried for and failed in—­an effect of perfect musical synthesis.  The melody of the verse receives a peculiar lilt by frequent changes in metre between stanzas or in the midst of the stanza, and is thus saved from monotony.  Were its metrical harmony tiring in any way, it could not have been set to music with such surprising success.  As it is, Eichendorff’s poetry has become a permanent part of the musical life of the nation. The Broken Ring has passed into a folk-song, and "O valleys wide!" with Mendelssohn’s music is a popular choral of deep religious import.

Yet Eichendorff does not attract either by the variety of his themes or of his rhymes.  It is his very repetitions which so endear him to the popular heart.  His is not passionate poetry, nor does it subjectively portray the soul-life of its author.  In fact, it is saved from monotony of content at times only by its extreme honesty and its lovable simplicity.  There is none of Goethe’s power of suggesting landscape in a few touches, none of Goethe’s logic of description, none of Goethe’s clear inner objectivity, but a certain haze lies over Eichendorff’s landscapes—­the haze of a lyric Corot; at the same time, this landscape has the power of suggestion to the German mind.  Paul Heyse, himself a poet, makes one of his characters say, “I have always carried Eichendorff Is book of songs with me on my travels.  Whenever a feeling of strangeness comes over me in the variegated days, or I feel a longing for home, I turn its leaves and am at home again.  None of our poets has the same magic reminiscence of home which captures our hearts with such touching monotony, with so few pictures and notes. * * * He is always new, as the voices of Nature itself, and never oppresses, but rather lulls one to sweet dreams as if a mother were singing her child to sleep.”

Page 103

The one novel of Eichendorff which has lived, From the Life of a Good-for-nothing (1826), is a last Romantic shoot of Friedrich Schlegel’s doctrine of divine laziness—­a delightful story, abounding in those elements which perennially endear Romanticism to the young heart, for it is full of nature and love and fortunate happenings.  What could be more charming than the spirit in which the hero throws away the vegetables in his garden and puts in flowers?  What more naive than his spyings, his fiddlings?  The strength of the story lies in the fact that while its head is in the clouds, its feet are on the ground.  There is no sentimentalizing, no breaking down of class distinctions; the good-for-nothing marries his lady-love, but she is of his own rank.  The pseudo-Romanticism of modern novels is avoided; the hero neither wins a kingdom nor is he the long-lost heir of some potentate—­he remains just what he was, a lovable good-for-nothing.  The weather-eye on probability is what in later times has helped the Romanticists to slip so easily into Realism—­and to reactionary views.

Of all the great mass of material left by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque (1777-1843), only a lyric or two and the fairy tale Undine have any value for the present day.  Fouque represents the talent which develops in the glare of the world, is popular for a decade, but soon withers when the sun is set.  His relations to Romanticism are largely external; he frequented the salons of Rachel Levin and Henrietta Herz in Berlin, was aided by August von Schlegel, and was praised by Jean Paul; but in his heart he was not inspired by any of the deeper longings that characterize the true Romantic spirit.  Even though he is to be credited with the first modern dramatization of the Nibelungen story, The Hero of the North (1810), and though he took subjects from the Germanic past and from the chivalric days, he brought no new life to his rehabilitations.  Fouque was too productive, too facile, too external, too indifferent to psychological motivation to be real.  He diluted Romanticism and sentimentalized it.  In him patriotism becomes chauvinism; love, philandering; and his age of chivalry, a thinly veiled and sentimental picture of his own times.  The strength and the indigenousness of Arnim are gone, and that power to throw a Romantic glamor over life which Tieck and Hoffmann had, is lacking.

Only in his charming fairy-tale, Undine (1811), does Fouque rise above his milieu.  Undine, the source of which, according to Fouque himself, is to be found in a work of Paracelsus on supernatural beings, remains one of the best creations of the Romantic school and, like Eichendorff’s novel, has become international, not only in its original form but in the opera by Lortzing (first performance, Hamburg, 1845).  The value of the story lies in the author’s power to make the reader believe in Undine, the water sprite, and in the presentation of a new nature-mythology.  All Romanticists have consciously or unconsciously attempted to satisfy Friedrich Schlegel’s demand for anew mythology:  Fouque’s earth, air, and water spirits people the elements with graceful forms from the world of nature; the nymph Undine in the form of a flowing stream embraces even in death the grave of her lover.

Page 104

Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862) was not fundamentally a Romantic personality.  He is called “the classicist of Romanticism,” and with justice.  The term shows that he is felt to have something of completion, of inner perfection, of harmony of form and content which was lacking in the truer Romanticists.  Uhland was without their early cosmopolitanism.  Political life as manifested in him was, first of all, Suabian—­for Uhland was a Suabian and most intimately associated with that section of Germany.  He was actively and practically interested in the politics of his native land as a member of its legislative bodies and as delegate to the national parliament at Frankfurt in 1848.  Uhland had a conservative love for the “good old Suabian law.”  He felt the doubtful position of the South German states in the struggle against Napoleon, and it was only when Wuertemberg took its stand with the allies in the final conflict that the embarrassment of his position was relieved, and Uhland’s patriotic verse assumed its full tone.  But his poetry never became a spur to national achievement like the verse of Arndt, that other German poet-professor.  As a member of the national parliament, Uhland was opposed to the exclusion of Austria from the hegemony, and to the two-chamber system of legislation.  But Uhland’s conservatism is unalterably honest without any reactionary traits; he resigned his professorship rather than be hindered in his political activities, and refused, with the peasant’s dourness, all the orders and distinctions that were offered him.

Indeed, there is something of the peasant nature in all of Uhland’s verse.  Sturdy reserve characterizes it—­that reserve which forbids the peasant to show his feelings under the stress of the greatest emotion.  Uhland does not carry his feelings to market; like Schiller, he is not a love poet.  There is no display, no self-analysis, no self-exaltation, no amalgamation of self with nature.  Uhland as a poet is not interested in his own psychology, but in the impinging world and in the tender past.  When Goethe said that Uhland was primarily a balladist, he was right, for the ballad presupposes just that permeation of the object by the emotion that satisfies the unquestionable lyric gift possessed by Uhland, without in any way destroying the essentially narrative objectivity of his style.

Uhland’s greatest fame rests, then, on his ballads.  The difference between these and those of Goethe and Schiller is not merely in the so-called “castle-Romanticism” of Uhland, not in a lingering sentimentality in some of the poorer ones, but in Uhland’s ability at will to catch the folk-tone.  Sometimes this folk-tone is a question of certain technical tricks, such as the abrupt shift of scene, repetition, varying series of scenes or words, archaized language; but it is just as often in the mood which Uhland throws over the whole.  He thus can catch the inner form and essential mood of the popular ballad in a way that

Page 105

not even Goethe does in his Erlking.  Uhland’s ballads and romances vary greatly in quality; none, perhaps, has the grandiose dramatic and ethical note of Schiller’s The Cranes of Ibycus and none the power of revealing the hidden forces of nature in anthropomorphic and demoniac form as Goethe does in his Erlking and The Fisher.  But Uhland’s poems are more varied in treatment, even though he cannot be said to have brought any new forms and themes into German verse.  There is much talk of poets and poetry in his verse and much of the tender melancholy of parting lovers, of separation and death.  There are also some very healthy bacchic notes.  Often the ballads are a mere presentation of a scene, with neither plot nor moral; once in a while, too, Uhland shows a humorous touch.  But various as are his themes and treatments, the treatment is always nicely adapted to the theme.

It is difficult to imagine a better suiting of form and content than in The Singer’s Curse.  The management of the vowel sequences is truly wonderful and the rhymes carry the emotional words with a fine virtuosity. The Luck of Edenhall, a variation of a Scottish theme and also of the Biblical “Mene tekel,” displays without sermonizing the greatest ethical vigor.  It has far more dramatic energy than either Byron’s or Heine’s “Belshazzar” poems, with fully as much dismal foreboding. Taillefer, which has been called “the sparkling queen” of Uhland’s ballads, has fresh vigor but lacks the power of handling the moral forces of the universe with as much dramatic vividness.  It has a naive joy of life not elsewhere found in Uhland’s ballads.

Uhland was the greatest poet of the “Suabian School,” a group of young men who objected to being denominated a school.  Among them was William Hauff (1802-27), who is known for several lyrics, a number of excellent short stories, and a historical novel, Lichtenstein (1826), in the manner of Scott.  His Trooper’s Song is a variation of an old theme and is of great metrical interest in that here, as in Uhland, one may observe how the subtle handling of rhythm, the lengthening or shortening of a line, or the shift of stress, brings with it a corresponding shift of emotion. Lichtenstein is the story of the struggle of Ulrich of Wuertemberg against the Suabian League and gives us a Romantic picture of the Duke which is not justified by the facts.  It was, however, an attempt to vitalize history and owes its origin to the Romantic longing for fatherland.  Its immediate impulse among Scott’s novels was Quentin Durward and, like Quentin Durward, it has a double plot—­the sentimental young lovers and the romantic ruler.  It also shows all the pageantry of Romanticism and the naive technique of the beginning of an art-form in the early stages of a new literary movement.

Page 106

Friedrich Rueckert (1788-1866) was prevented from taking part in the Wars of Liberation by poor health, but added his Sonnets in Harness to the poetry of the period.  These sonnets had no such stirring effect as the poems of Koerner, not only because of their literary form, but because, in spite of their unquestioned belligerency, they had not the tone of religious conviction against the enemy which characterized the verses of Arndt and the rest.  Other poems, like Koerner’s Spirit, show how deeply Rueckert felt himself in sympathy with his times; his reward has been to have added a very large number of poems to the every-day repertory of Germany.  His Barbarossa is found in almost every reading book.

The cycle Love’s Spring is an imperishable monument to his love for Louisa Wiethaus.  But too many of the poems are dedicated to her and too many inconsequential moods relating to her are recorded.  In spite of this, Rueckert has resolved the discord between every-day life and poetry with the simplest poetic apparatus.  Rueckert has also enriched the German language with a mass of gnomic poetry, to the writing of which he was led by his Oriental studies.  This gnomic poetry (The Wisdom of the Brahman) has been aptly said to recall at times the ripeness of the mature Goethe and at other times—­Polonius.  Rueckert was one of the first to introduce the Orient and its verse-forms into German literature.  Here the influence of Friedrich Schlegel is unmistakable.  He was also a master in the reproduction of the complicated metres of the East and South.  Though many of these verse-forms have refused to become indigenous in Germany, a large number of new words invented by Rueckert have had poetical vogue, and even where the new formations were too bold or too recherche, they accustomed German ears to a new idea-presentation through sound.  Rueckert, like the average Romanticist, lacked moderation in his production, and was utterly without critical faculty in respect to his own verse.  Much that he has written has perished, but some of his work—­both original and translation—­is a permanent part of the best of German lyric verse.

More individual than Rueckert is Adalbert von Chamisso (1781-1838).  Though he was born in the Champagne in France, and was therefore a fellow-countryman of Joinville and La Fontaine, he became a German by education and preference, and his name is inseparably linked with German scholarship and letters.  It is remarkable that Chamisso began to write German only after 1801 and is reported never to have spoken it perfectly; yet his verse ranks with the best products of Germany in fluency and in form.  Much of it, especially that with woman’s love as its theme, is extremely German in thought and feeling, though perhaps French in its keenness of analysis.  So German is Chamisso felt to be that at his best he is ranked with Goethe and Heine.

Page 107

When the boy Chamisso was nine years old, the family was driven from France but was later allowed to return, though Adalbert never went back permanently.  Thus it was that during the years 1806-13, the young expatriate led a life of the greatest mental torment; France no longer meant anything to him, and in Germany he felt himself a stranger and an outcast.  Always awkward personally, and of a nervous temperament, he found it difficult to adjust himself to surrounding conditions.  His scholarly zeal, however, and his ability to sit for hours in close study, show how completely his mentality was adjustable to the German manner.  In Berlin he was accepted by the younger Romantic group and was a member of the famous North Star Club with Arnim and his set.  In 1815-18 he made a trip around the world, and in later years devoted himself especially to the study of botany.

Only the poetry of Chamisso’s later period is of supreme consequence.  As a man in the fifties, he wrote some of his most beautiful verse.  He was a naive poet, but a poet of many moods.  His love poetry is the poetry of longing, and ranks with that of Brentano in its ability to suggest states of feeling.  Among his best poems are his verse-tales, such as The Women of Weinsberg, where his narrative genius ranks with that of his fellow-countryman, La Fontaine.  Especially good are his poems in terzines.  These mark the real introduction of this metre into Germany.  The best of these, Salas y Gomez, has the additional advantage of real experience, for the material observation at the basis of it is derived from his tour of circumnavigation.  His poems in this metre are often genre poems, pure prose in part, but frequently of a drastic humor that ranks with that of the best of the old French fabliaux.  His realism is, however, never common, and, in such poems as The Old Washerwoman, to quote Goethe’s Tasso, “he often ennobles what seems vulgar to us.”

Chamisso is Romantic in his interest in translations, in early reminiscences of Uhland’s “castle-Romanticism,” and in his poetry of indefinite longing, but his admiration for Napoleon and his tendency toward realism point the way which all Romanticism naturally took—­the way leading through Heine to Young Germany on the one hand and through Tieck’s novelettes to realistic prose on the other.

As a matter of fact, the work for which Chamisso is best known, a work which has become international in popularity, Peter Schlemihl (1813), is an early bit of such realistic prose.  The tale of the man who sells his shadow to the devil for the sake of the sack of Fortunatus has become in Chamisso’s hands a genuine folk-fairy-tale in key-note and style.  At the same time it is thoroughly Romantic in subject-matter and treatment.  The word Schlemihl is a Hebrew word variously interpreted as “Lover of God,” or as “awkward fellow.”  If it mean the former, Schlemihl then becomes a Theophilus, that

Page 108

medieval Faust who also made a compact with the devil; if the latter, one who breaks his finger when sticking it into a custard pie; then Schlemihl is Chamisso himself, “that dean of Schlemihls,” feeling himself at a loss in any environment.  He may be the man without a country, he may be the man who draws attention to himself by selling what seems of little value to him, but which afterward proves indispensable for the right conduct of life.  The story in this way brings forward a bit of popular ethics, or, rather, it examines an ethical note from the popular point of view.  Like Hoffmann, Chamisso takes his reader into the midst of current life, but, unlike Hoffmann, his moods are not the dissolving views which leave the reader in doubt as to whether the whole is a phantasmagoria and a hallucination. Schlemihl is genuinely and consistently realistic.  It is a story in the first person and has a rigidly logical arrangement of episodes leading up to its climax.  It does not make mood—­it has mood.

The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are the products of Romantic scholarship; they represent the highest type of scholarly attainment and of scholarly personality.  They are always thought of together, for they shared all possessions alike and were not drawn apart by the fact that William married and Jacob remained a bachelor.  Their fidelity to each other is touching, and no more lovable story is told than that of Jacob’s breaking down in a lecture and crying, “My brother is so sick!”

Jacob (1785-1863) was the philologist, the inductive gatherer of scientific material, the close logical deducer of facts.  He “presented Germany with its mythology, with its history of legal antiquities, with its grammar and its history of language.”  He is the author of Grimm’s law of consonant permutation which laid the foundations of modern philological science and is the founder of philological science in general.

Wilhelm (1786-1859), no less exact a scientist, was more a Romantic nature, with a greater power of synthesis under poetic stress.  The two brothers began their collecting activities under the influence of Arnim, and their work with folk-tales in prose corresponds to The Boy’s Magic Horn in verse.  It was Wilhelm who gave Grimms’ Fairy Tales their artistic form.  He remolded, joined, separated—­in fact, wrought the crude materials into such shape that this work has penetrated into every land and has become a household word for young and old.  The various early editions show the progress in the method of Wilhelm.  The first edition (1812) reproduces more exactly what the brothers heard; the later ones show that Wilhelm consciously attempted to give artistic form to the tales.  That his method was justified the history of the stories proves; they are not only material for ethnological study, but are dear to all hearts.  The stories have the genuine folk-tone; they are true products of the folk-imagination, with all the logic of that imagination.  All phases of life are touched and the interest never flags.  The spirit of nature has been kept.

Page 109

The Romanticists were not successful in the drama.  Kleist, the greatest dramatist of the period, was not primarily a Romantic poet.  The Schlegels wrote frosty plays and Tieck attempted dramatic production.  It was left for the most bizarre of the Romantic group to write the play of greatest power in it and to set a dramatic fashion which for more than a decade carried all before it.

Zacharias Werner (1768-1823), after a life of wild sensual excesses, finally found refuge in the Roman Church and as a popular and sensational preacher aroused Vienna with drastic sermons and clownish antics.  Of his various plays, The Sons of the Valley (1803) and the Cross on the Baltic (1806) deserve mention for their religious and mystic subject-matter, for which Werner himself has attempted an explanation, though without adding to their understanding. Martin Luther, or the Consecration of Power (1807) is a pageant play of great interest.  Its recantation, The Power of Weakness, was written after Werner’s conversion.  More important than these is his so-called “fate tragedy,” The 24th of February (1810 per formed in Weimar; published 1815).  This day was a day of terror to Werner, for on it he lost in the same year his mother and his most intimate friend.  He therefore in the play invests the day with a fatal significance, and on it a malignant fate has especial power over the fortunes of the persons of the drama; there is also a fatal requisite and a general atmosphere of fatalism.  The play started a whole series; some of these were crude and weak imitations, others, like Grillparzer’s The Ancestress, were of great power.  These plays were conditioned by something in the air.  Perhaps Napoleon, the man of fate, ruling the minds and destinies of a whole continent, had something to do with the philosophical background.  Werner caught the fatalistic spirit, gave it concise and logical form, and succeeded in producing a play which has both atmosphere and logic of development.  In all of these plays, in so far as they are good, the effect is produced by the recognition scenes which hold the reader rapt to the end.  But the weak and vulgar imitations of the category outnumbered the powerful plays in the genre, and the well-merited death-blow was given them by Platen’s The Fateful Fork (1826).

E.T.A.  Hoffmann (1776-1822) was a thoroughly Romantic person.  Like his fellow-Koenigsberger, Werner, he went through a period of wildest dissipation, and all his life was easily influenced by alcohol.  He was a painter, a writer, and a musician.  His ability in the pictorial arts was mainly in caricature and his career as a composer is typically Romantic; though he never but once completed a composition, that he started, he was thoroughly at home in the theory of the art.  Like all Romanticists, Hoffmann was interested in and tried all phases of life and refused to recognize the boundaries between the various parts

Page 110

of existence, between the arts, and between reality and unreality.  Hoffmann, with all his North German power of reasoning and his zeal and conscientiousness in public office, was emphatically that Romanticist associated with the night-sides of literature and life.  There is something uncanny both in the man and his writings.  His power of putting the scene of his most unreal stories in the midst of well-known places, his ability to shift the reader from the real to the unreal and vice versa, make some of his stories seem like phantasmagorias.

In all of Hoffmann’s stories there is some unpleasant, bizarre character; this is the author’s satire on his own strange personality.  There is none of Poe’s objectivity in Hoffmann, but he uses his subjectivity in a peculiarly Romantic fashion.  It is his idea to raise the reader above the every-day point of view, to flee from this to a magic world where the unusual shall take the place of the real and where wonder shall rule.  So there are in Hoffmann’s stories a series of characters who are really doubles.  To the uninitiated they seem every-day creatures; to those who know, they are fairies or beings from the supernatural world.  Such characters are found at their best in The Golden Pot.

Hoffmann has influenced both French and English literatures more than any other Romantic poet.  Hawthorne and Poe read him, and he was felt by the French to be one of the first Germans whom they understood.  It was not merely that his clear reason appealed to the French, but that they saw in him one endowed as with a sixth sense.  He has a fineness of observation, especially for the ridiculous sides of humanity, together with a tenderness of spirit, that was new in German literature as such men as Sainte-Beuve and Gautier saw it.  The soul at war with itself, uncovering its most secret thoughts, the "malheur d’etre poete," coupled with wit, taste, gaiety, and the comedy spirit—­all these the French found in Hoffmann as in no other German.  Poe was also influenced by Hoffmann, but Poe’s whole world is the supernatural, and where Hoffmann slips with fantastic but logical changes from the real to the unreal, Poe’s metempsychosis is the real in his world and he has a deeper insight into the world of terror.  The difference between Hawthorne and Hoffmann is even more striking, for in the American the supernatural is the embodiment of the Puritan New England conscience.  In Hoffmann there is no such elevation of the moral world to the rank of an atmosphere.

In Hoffmann there is no out-of-doors, no lyric love; some of his characters are frankly insane.  The musical takes on a supreme significance among the sensations, and music seemed the only art which was able to draw the soul of the man from his earth-bound habitation.  Only in music did Hoffmann find the ability to make the Romantic escape from the homelessness of this existence to the all-embracing world of the unreal.  But too often in his works does the unreal fail to satisfy the reader.  There is an effort felt, an effect sought for, and, while the amalgamation of the two worlds is perfect, the world to which Hoffmann is able to take us proves to be without the cogency which our imaginations expect.  Here Hoffmann fails.  His world of the imagination cannot always be taken seriously.

Page 111

Count August von Platen-Hallermund (1796-1835) is characterized by the eternal Romantic homelessness; at every turn of his career this impresses one.  Of ancient noble Franconian stock, he felt himself a foreigner in Bavaria which had acquired Franconia in the Napoleonic period.  In his early life in the military academy at Munich he was never thoroughly at home, for his was not a military spirit and he was unable to follow his literary tastes.  When finally he was enabled to study at Wuerzburg and Erlangen, even the friendship of Schelling could not compensate for the late beginning of a university career which was filled with the study of modern European and Oriental languages but which had the bitterest personal disappointments.  Even in Italy, the land of every German poet’s dreams, Platen never felt himself at home, and the pictures of him from his Italian life are of a tragic, lonesome figure.  The discord between body and soul, that homelessness in one’s own physical body which characterized Hoffmann and made him seem diabolical to so many, is also to be noted in Platen.  Carried over to the moral world, it accounts for his ardent cultivation of friendship rather than love, and frees him from the bitter accusations of Heine, whose attack in The Baths of Lucca is one of the most scurrilous and venomous pasquils in all literary history.  Finally, in the esthetic world, Platen seems largely un-German.  His esthetics were of the Classical and Renaissance times; in an age of the breaking down of conventions and of literary revolutions, Platen held himself rigidly aristocratic; he clung to a canon of beauty in an age which was giving birth to realism.

Platen’s poetry falls into two periods—­the early German tentative period and the later or foreign period, the poems of which were mostly written in Italy and in imitation of, or adapted from, foreign metres.  Platen is always represented as a master of form, and, since Jacob Grimm’s characterization of him, has been accused of “marble coldness.”  That Platen handled difficult metres with virtuosity is not to be laid against him; it is to the advantage of German verse that such poems as his ghasels made indigenous, in part, the feeling for mere beauty in verse.  German poets have too often gone the road of mere formlessness.  Platen cultivated style, polished and revised his lines with as great care as did his arch-enemy Heine, and it is only a confession of lack of ear to refuse him the name of poet.  No one who reads his Polish Songs can help feeling that they are the products of fire and inspiration.

It must be confessed, however, that there is in Platen a remarkable lack of inner experience.  He went through life without ever having been shaken to the depths of his nature and was, unfortunately, not of so Olympian a calmness that, like Goethe, he could present the world in plastic repose and sublimity.  With all his refinement and fervor he has left but few poems of lasting interest, and of these The Grave in the Busento is perhaps the best.

Page 112

[Illustration:  THE MAGIC HORN]

LUDWIG ACHIM VON ARNIM AND CLEMENS BRENTANO

* * * * *

  THE BOY’S MAGIC HORN[7] (1806)

WERE I A LITTLE BIRD

Were I a little bird, And had two little wings, I’d fly to thee; But I must stay, because That cannot be.

  Though I be far from thee,
  In sleep I dwell with thee,
  Thy voice I hear. 
  But when I wake again,
  Then all is drear.

  Each nightly hour my heart
  With thoughts of thee will start
  When I’m alone;
  For thou ’st a thousand times
  Pledged me thine own.

* * * * *

THE MOUNTAINEER

  Oh, would I were a falcon wild,
    I should spread my wings and soar;
  Then I should come a-swooping down
    By a wealthy burgher’s door.

  In his house there dwells a maiden,
    She is called fair Magdalene,
  And a fairer brown-eyed damsel
    All my days I have not seen.

  On a Monday morning early,
    Monday morning, they relate,
  Magdalene was seen a-walking
    Through the city’s northern gate.

  Then the maidens said:  “Thy pardon—­
    Magdalene, where wouldst thou go?”
  “Oh, into my father’s garden,
    Where I went the night, you know.”

  And when she to the garden came,
    And straight into the garden ran,
  There lay beneath the linden-tree
    Asleep, a young and comely man.

  “Wake up, young man, be stirring,
    Oh rise, for time is dear,
  I hear the keys a-rattling,
    And mother will be here.”

  “Hearst thou her keys a-rattling,
    And thy mother must be nigh,
  Then o’er the heath this minute
    Oh come with me, and fly!”

  And as they wandered o’er the heath,
    There for these twain was spread,
  A shady linden-tree beneath,
    A silken bridal-bed.

  And three half hours together,
    They lay upon the bed. 
  “Turn round, turn round, brown maiden;
    Give me thy lips so red!”

  “Thou sayst so much of turning round,
    But naught of wedded troth,
  I fear me I have slept away
    My faith and honor both.”

  “And fearest thou, thou hast slept away
    Thy faith and honor too,
  I say I’ll wed thee yet, my dear,
    So thou shalt never rue.”

  Who was it sang this little lay,
    And sang it o’er with cheer? 
  On St. Annenberg by the town,
    It was the mountaineer.

  He sang it there right gaily,
    Drank mead and cool red wine,
  Beside him sat and listened
    Three dainty damsels fine.

Page 113

As many as sand-grains in the sea, As many as stars in heaven be, As many as beasts that dwell in fields, As many as pence which money yields, As much as blood in veins will flow, As much as heat in fire will glow, As much as leaves in woods are seen And little grasses in the green, As many as thorns that prick on hedges, As grains of wheat that harvest pledges, As much as clover in meadows fair, As dust a-flying in the air, As many as fish in streams are found, And shells upon the ocean’s ground, And drops that in the sea must go, As many as flakes that shine in snow—­ As much, as manifold as life abounds both far and nigh, So much, so many times, for e’er, oh thank the Lord on high!

[Illustration:  LUDWIG ACHIM VON ARNIM Stroehling]

[Illustration:  CLEMENS BRENTANO E. Linder]

* * * * *

THE SWISS DESERTER

  At Strassburg in the fort
  All woe began for me
  The Alpine bugle’s call enticed me o’er,
  I had to swim to my dear country’s shore;
  That should not be.

  One hour ’twas in the night,
  They took me in my plight,
  And led me straightway to the captain’s door. 
  O God, they caught me in the stream—­what more? 
  Now all is o’er.

  Tomorrow morn at ten
  The regiment I’ll have to face;
  They’ll lead me there to beg for grace. 
  I’ll have my just reward, I know. 
  It must be so.

  Ye brothers, all ye men,
  Ye’ll never see me here again;
  The shepherd boy, I say, began it all,
  And I accuse the Alpine bugle-call
  Of this my fall.

  I pray ye, brothers three,
  Come on and shoot at me;
  Fear not my tender life to hurt,
  Shoot on and let the red blood spurt—­
  Come on, I say!

  O Lord of heaven, on high! 
  Take my poor erring soul
  Unto its heavenly goal;
  There let it stay forever—­
  Forget me never!

* * * * *

THE TAILOR IN HELL

  A tailor ’gan to wander
  One Monday morning fair,
  And then he met the devil,
  Whose feet and legs were bare: 
  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Come now with me to hell—­oh,
  And measure clothes for us to wear,
  For what we will, is well, oh!

  The tailor measured, then he took
  His scissors long, and clipped
  The devils’ little tails all off,
  And to and fro they skipped. 
  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Now hie thee out of hell—­oh,
  We do not need this clipping, sir,
  For what we will, is well, oh!

  The tailor took his iron out,
  And tossed it in the fire;
  The devils’ wrinkles then he pressed;
  Their screams were something dire. 
  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Begone now from our hell—­oh,
  We do not need this pressing,
  For what we will, is well, oh!

Page 114

  “Keep still!” he said and pierced their heads
  With a bodkin from his sack. 
  “This way we put the buttons on,
  For that’s our tailor’s knack! 
  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Now get thee out of hell—­oh,
  We do not need this dressing,
  For what we will, is well, oh!

  With thimble and with needle then
  His stitching he began,
  And closed the devils’ nostrils up
  As tight as e’er one can.

  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Now his thee out of hell—­oh,
  We cannot use our noses,
  Do what we will for smell, oh!

  Then he began to cut away—­
  It must have made them smart;
  With all his might the tailor ripped
  The devils’ ears apart. 
  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Now march away from hell—­oh,
  We else should need a doctor,
  If what we will were well—­oh!

  And last of all came Lucifer
  And cried:  “What horror fell! 
  No devil has his little tail;
  So drive him out of hell.” 
  Hallo, thou tailor-fellow,
  Now his thee out of hell—­oh,
  We need to wear no clothes at all—­
  For what we will, is well, oh!

  And when the tailor’s sack was packed,
  He felt so very well—­oh! 
  He hopped and skipped without dismay
  And had a laughing spell, oh! 
  And hurried out of hell—­oh,
  And stayed a tailor-fellow;
  And the devil will catch no tailor now,
  Let him steal, as he will—­it is well, though!

[Illustration:  THE REAPER Walter Crane]

* * * * *

THE REAPER

  There is a reaper, Death his name;
  His might from God the highest came. 
  Today his knife he’ll whet,
  ’Twill cut far better yet;
  Soon he will come and mow,
  And we must bear the woe—­
  Beware, fair flower!

  The flowers fresh and green today,
  Tomorrow will be mowed away
  Narcissus so white,
  The meadows’ delight,
  The hyacinthias pale
  And morning-glories frail—­
  Beware, fair flower!

  Full many thousand blossoms blithe
  Must fall beneath his deadly scythe: 
  Roses and lilies pure,
  Your end is all too sure! 
  Imperial lilies rare
  He will not spare—­
  Beware, fair flower!

  The bluet wee, of heaven’s hue,
  The tulips white and yellow too,
  The dainty silver bell,
  The golden phlox as well—­
  All sink upon the earth. 
  Oh, what a sorry dearth! 
  Beware, fair flower!

  Sweet lavender of lovely scent,
  And rosemary, dear ornament,
  Sword-lilies proud, unfurled,
  And basil, quaintly curled,
  And fragile violet blue—­
  He soon will seize you too! 
  Beware, fair flower!

  Death, I defy thee!  Hasten near
  With one great sweep—­I have no fear! 
  Though hurt, I’ll stay undaunted,
  For I shall be transplanted
  Into the garden by heaven’s gate,
  The heavenly garden we all await. 
  Rejoice, fair flower!

Page 115

JACOB AND WILHELM GRIMM

* * * * *

FAIRY TALES[8] (1812)

TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY MARGARET HUNT

THE FROG-KING, OR IRON HENRY

In old times, when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face.  Close by the King’s castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was warm the King’s child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was dull she took a golden ball and threw it up high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that, on one occasion, the princess’ golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but onto the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water.  The King’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep so deep that the bottom could not be seen.  On this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted.  And as she thus lamented, some one said to her:  “What ails thee, King’s daughter?  Thou weepest so that even a stone would show pity.”  She looked around to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its thick, ugly head from the water.  “Ah! old water-splasher, is it thou?” asked she; “I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well.”

[Illustration:  JACOB GRIMM E. Hader]

[Illustration:  WILLIAM GRIMM E. Hader]

“Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered the frog; “I can help thee; but what wilt thou give me if I bring thy plaything up again?” “Whatever thou wilt have, dear frog,” said she—­“my clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing.”

The frog answered, “I do not care for thy clothes, thy pearls and jewels, or thy golden crown, but if thou wilt love me and let me be thy companion and play-fellow, and sit by thee at thy little table, and eat off thy little golden plate, and drink out of thy little cup, and sleep in thy little bed—­if thou wilt promise me this I will go down below and bring thee thy golden ball again.”

“Oh, yes,” said she, “I promise thee all thou wishest, if thou wilt but bring me my ball back again.”  She, how ever, thought, “How the silly frog does talk!  He lives in the water with the other frogs and croaks, and can be no companion to any human being!”

But the frog, when he had received this promise, put his head into the water and sank down, and in a short time came swimming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass.  The King’s daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it.  “Wait, wait,” said the frog; “take me with thee; I can’t run as thou canst.”  But what did it avail him to scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could?  She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was forced to go back into his well again.

Page 116

The next day, when she had seated herself at the table with the King and all the courtiers and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”  She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it.  Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened.  The King saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what art thou so afraid of?  Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry thee away?” “Ah, no,” replied she, “it is no giant, but a disgusting frog.”

“What does the frog want with thee?” “Ah, dear father, yesterday when I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water.  And because I cried so the frog brought it out again for me, and because he insisted so on it, I promised him he should be my companion; but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water!  And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried

  “Princess! youngest princess! 
  Open the door for me! 
  Dost thou not know what thou saidst to me
  Yesterday by the cool waters of the fountain! 
  Princess, youngest princess! 
  Open the door for me!”

Then said the King, “That which thou has promised must thou perform.  Go and let him in.”  She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair.  There he sat still and cried, “Lift me up beside thee.”  She delayed, until at last the King commanded her to do it.  When the frog was once on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push thy little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.”  She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly.  The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her.  At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied; now I am tired, carry me into thy little room and make thy little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”

The King’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed.  But the King grew angry and said, “He who helped thee when thou wert in trouble ought not afterward to be despised by thee.”  So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner.  But when she was in bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as thou; lift me up or I will tell thy father.”  Then she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall.  “Now thou wilt be quiet, odious frog,” said she. 

Page 117

But when he fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with beautiful kind eyes.  He by her father’s will was now her dear companion and husband.  Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that tomorrow they would go together into his kingdom.  Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind stood the young King’s servant, faithful Henry.  Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness.  The carriage was to conduct the young King into his kingdom.  Faithful Henry helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because of this deliverance.  And when they had driven a part of the way, the King’s son heard a crackling behind him as if something had broken.  So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.”

“No, master, it is not the carriage.  It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the well.”  Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, and each time the King’s son thought the carriage was breaking; but it was only the bands which were springing from the heart of faithful Henry because his master was set free and was happy.

* * * * *

THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN LITTLE KIDS

There was once on a time an old goat who had seven little kids, and she loved them with all the love of a mother for her children.  One day she wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food.  So she called all seven to her and said, “Dear children, I have to go into the forest; be on your guard against the wolf; if he comes in, he will devour you all—­skin, hair, and everything.  The wretch often disguises himself, but you will know him at once by his rough voice and his black feet.”  The kids said, “Dear mother, we will take good care of ourselves; you may go away without any anxiety.”  Then the old one bleated and went on her way with an easy mind.

It was not long before some one knocked at the house door, and cried, “Open the door, dear children; your mother is here, and has brought something back with her for each of you.”  But the little kids knew that it was the wolf, by the rough voice.  “We will not open the door,” cried they; “thou art not our mother.  She has a soft, pleasant voice, but thy voice is rough; thou art the wolf!” Then the wolf went away to a shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this, and made his voice soft with it.  Then he came back, knocked at the door of the house, and cried, “Open the door, dear children; your mother is

Page 118

here and has brought something back with her for each of you.”  But the wolf had laid his black paws against the window, and the children saw them and cried, “We will not open the door; our mother has not black feet like thee; thou art the wolf!” Then the wolf ran to a baker and said, “I have hurt my feet, rub some dough over them for me.”  And when the baker had rubbed his feet over, he ran to the miller and said, “Strew some white meal over my feet for me.”  The miller thought to himself, “The wolf wants to deceive some one,” and refused; but the wolf said, “If thou wilt not do it, I will devour thee.”  Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him.  Truly men are like that.

So now the wretch went for the third time to the house door, knocked at it, and said, “Open the door for me, children; your dear little mother has come home, and has brought every one of you something back from the forest with her.”  The little kids cried, “First show us thy paws that we may know if thou art our dear little mother.”  Then he put his paws in through the window, and when the kids saw that they were white, they believed that all he said was true, and opened the door.  But who should come in but the wolf!  They were terrified and wanted to hide themselves.  One sprang under the table, the second into the bed, the third into the stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth into the cupboard, the sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh into the clock-case.  But the wolf found them all, and used no great ceremony; one after the other he swallowed them down his throat.  The youngest in the clock-case was the only one he did not find.  When the wolf had satisfied his appetite he took himself off, laid himself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and went to sleep.  Soon afterward the old goat came home again from the forest.  Ah! what a sight she saw there!  The house door stood wide open.  The table, chairs, and benches were thrown down, the washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were pulled off the bed.  She sought her children, but they were nowhere to be found.  She called them one after another by name, but no one answered.  At last, when she came to the youngest, a soft voice cried, “Dear mother, I am in the clock-case.”  She took the kid out, and it told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others.  Then you may imagine how she wept over her poor children.

At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with her.  When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree snoring so loud that the branches shook.  She looked at him on every side and saw that something was moving and struggling in his gorged body.  “Ah, heavens!” said she, “is it possible that my poor children, whom he has swallowed down for his supper, can be still alive?” Then the kid had to run home and fetch scissors, and a needle and thread, and the goat cut open the monster’s stomach.  Hardly had she

Page 119

made one cut than one little kid thrust its head out; and, when she had cut further, all six sprang out one after another.  They were all still alive and had suffered no injury whatever, for in his greediness the monster had swallowed them down whole.  What rejoicing there was!  Then they embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a tailor at his wedding.  The mother, however, said, “Now go and look for some big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast’s stomach with them while he is still asleep.”  Then the seven kids dragged the stones thither with all speed, and put as many of them into his stomach as they could get in; and the mother sewed him up again in the greatest haste, so that he was not aware of anything, and never once stirred.

When the wolf at length had had his sleep out, he got on his legs, and, as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he wanted to go to a well to drink.  But when he began to walk and to move about, the stones in his stomach knocked against one another and rattled.  Then cried he—­

  “What rumbles and tumbles
  Against my poor bones? 
  I thought ’twas six kids,
  But it’s naught but big stones.”

And when he got to the well and stooped over the water and was just about to drink, the heavy stones made him fall in and there was no help, but he had to drown miserably.  When the seven kids saw that, they came running to the spot, and cried aloud, “The wolf is dead!  The wolf is dead!” and danced for joy round about the well with their mother.

* * * * *

RAPUNZEL

There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child.  At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire.  These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs.  It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world.  One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat some.  This desire increased every day, and as she knew that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away and looked pale and miserable.  Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, “What aileth thee, dear wife?” “Ah,” she replied, “if I can’t get some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, to eat, I shall die.”  The man, who loved her, thought, “Sooner than let my wife die, I will bring her some of the rampion myself, let it cost me what it will.”  In the twilight of evening, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it

Page 120

to his wife.  She at once made herself a salad of it and ate it with much relish.  She, however, liked it so much, so very much, that the next day she longed for it three times as much as before, and, if he was to have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden.  In the gloom of evening, therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before him.  “How can’t thou dare,” said she with angry look, “to descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief?  Thou shalt suffer for it!” “Ah,” answered he, “let mercy take the place of justice; I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity.  My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some to eat.”  Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him, “If the case be as thou sayest, I will allow thee to take away with thee as much rampion as thou wilt, only I make one condition—­thou must give me the child which thy wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated and I will care for it like a mother.”  The man in his terror consented to everything, and when the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.

Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child beneath the sun.  When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower which lay in a forest and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a little window.  When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath this, and cried cried—­

  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
  Let down thy hair to me.”

Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.

After a year or two, it came to pass that the King’s son rode through the forest and went by the tower; there he heard a song, which was so charming that he stood still and listened.  This was Rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound.  The King’s son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found.  He rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart that every day he went out into the forest and listened to it.  Once, when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried—­

  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
  Let down thy hair.”

Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress climbed up to her.  “If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I will for once try my fortune,” said he; and the next day when it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried—­

Page 121

  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
  Let down thy hair.”

Immediately the hair fell down and the King’s son climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man such as her eyes had never yet beheld came to her; but the King’s son began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her.  Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought, “He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does;” and she said yes, and laid her hand in his.  She said, “I will willingly go away with thee, but I do not know how to get down.  Bring with thee a skein of silk every time that thou comest, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready I will descend, and thou wilt take me on thy horse.”  They agreed that, until that time, he should always come to see her in the evening, for the old woman came by day.  The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said to her, “Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young King’s son—­he is with me in a moment.”  “Ah! thou wicked child,” cried the enchantress, “what do I hear thee say?  I thought I had separated thee from all the world, and yet thou hast deceived me!” In her anger she clutched Rapunzel’s beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the right, and, snip, snap, they were cut off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground.  And she was so pitiless that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and misery.

On the same day, however, that she cast out Rapunzel, the enchantress in the evening fastened the braids of hair which she had cut off to the hook of the window, and when the King’s son came and cried cried—­

  “Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
  Let down thy hair,”

she let the hair down.  The King’s son ascended, but he did not find his dearest Rapunzel above-only the enchantress, who gazed at him with wicked and venomous looks.  “Aha!” she cried mockingly, “thou wouldst fetch thy dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest; the cat has got it, and will scratch out thy eyes as well.  Rapunzel is lost to thee; thou wilt never see her more.”  The King’s son was beside himself with pain, and in his despair leapt down from the tower.  He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes.  Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and berries, and did nothing but lament and weep over the loss of his dearest wife.  Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness.  He heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went toward it, and, when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept.  Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again so that he could see with them as before.  He led her to his kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterward, happy and contented.

Page 122

* * * * *

HAENSEL AND GRETHEL

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his two children.  The boy was called Haensel and the girl Grethel.  He had little to bite and to break, and once, when great scarcity fell on the land, he could no longer procure daily bread.  Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he groaned and said to his wife, “What is to become of us?  How are we to feed our poor children when we no longer have anything even for ourselves?” “I’ll tell you what, husband,” answered the woman, “early tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest, and there we will light a fire for them, and give each of them one piece of bread more; then we will go to our work and leave them alone.  They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them.”  “No, wife,” said the man, “I will not do that; how can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest?  The wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces.”  “O, thou fool!” said she, “then we must all four die of hunger and thou mayest as well plane the planks for our coffins;” and she left him no peace until he consented.  “But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the same,” said the man.

[Illustration:  HAeNSEL AND GRETHEL Ludwig Richter]

The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had heard what their step-mother had said to their father.  Grethel wept bitter tears, and said to Haensel, “Now all is over with us.”  “Be quiet, Grethel,” said Haensel.  “Do not distress thyself, I will soon find a way to help us.”  And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he got up, put on his coat, opened the door below, and crept outside.  The moon shone brightly and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house glittered like real silver pennies.  Haensel stooped and put as many of them in the little pocket of his coat as he could possibly get in.  Then he went back and said to Grethel, “Be comforted, dear little sister, and sleep in peace; God will not forsake us;” and he lay down again in his bed.  When day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the two children, saying, “Get up, you sluggards! we are going into the forest to fetch wood.”  She gave each a little piece of bread, and said, “There is something for your dinner, but do not eat it up before then, for you will get nothing else.”  Grethel took the bread under her apron, as Haensel had the stones in his pocket.  Then they all set out together on the way to the forest.  When they, had walked a short time, Haensel stood still and peeped back at the house, and did so again and again.  His father said, “Haensel, what art thou looking at there and staying behind for?  Mind what thou art about, and do not forget how to use thy legs.”  “Ah, father,” said Haensel, “I am looking at my little white cat, which is sitting upon the roof, and wants to say good-bye to me.”  The wife said, “Fool, that is not thy little cat; that is the morning sun which is shining on the chimneys.”  Haensel, however, had not been looking back at the cat, but had been constantly throwing one of the white pebble-stones out of his pocket on the road.

Page 123

When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said, “Now, children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not be cold.”  Haensel and Grethel gathered brushwood together, as high as a little hill.  The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were burning very high the woman said, “Now, children, lay yourselves down by the fire and rest and we will go into the forest and cut some wood.  When we have done, we will come back and fetch you away.”

Haensel and Grethel sat by the fire, and, when noon came, each ate a little piece of bread, but, as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe, they believed that their father was near.  It was, however, not the axe; it was a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind was blowing backward and forward; and, as they had been sitting such a long time, their eyes shut with fatigue and they fell fast asleep.  When at last they awoke it was already dark night.  Grethel began to cry and said, “How are we to get out of the forest now?” But Haensel comforted her and said, “Just wait a little, until the moon has risen, and then we will soon find the way.”  And when the full moon had risen, Haensel took his little sister by the hand and followed the pebbles, which shone like newly-coined silver pieces and showed them the way.

They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more to their father’s house.  They knocked at the door, and when the woman opened it and saw that it was Haensel and Grethel, she said, “You naughty children, why have you slept so long in the forest?  We thought you were never coming back at all!” The father, however, rejoiced, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them behind alone.

Not long afterward, there was once more great scarcity in all parts, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their father, “Everything is eaten again; we have one-half loaf left, and after that there is an end.  The children must go.  We will take them farther into the wood, so that they will not find their way out again; there is no other means of saving ourselves!” The man’s heart was heavy, and he thought, “It would be better for thee to share the last mouthful with thy children.”  The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he had to say, but scolded and reproached him.  He who says A must say B likewise, and, as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a second time also.

The children were, however, still awake and had heard the conversation.  When the old folks were asleep, Haensel again got up, and wanted to go out and pick up pebbles; but the woman had locked the door, and Haensel could not get out.  Nevertheless he comforted his little sister, and said, “Do not cry, Grethel, go to sleep quietly.  The good God will help us.”

Page 124

Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of their beds.  Their bit of bread was given to them, but it was still smaller than the time before.  On the way into the forest Haensel crumbled his in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a morsel on the ground.  “Haensel, why dost thou stop and look around?” asked the father; “go on.”  “I am looking back at my little pigeon which is sitting on the roof, and wants to say good-bye to me,” answered Haensel.  “Simpleton!” said the woman, “that is not thy little pigeon, that is the morning sun that is shining on the chimney.”  Haensel, however, little by little, threw all the crumbs on the path.

The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they had never in their lives been before.  Then a great fire was again made, and the mother said, “Just sit there, you children, and when you are tired you may sleep a little; we are going into the forest to cut wood, and in the evening, when we are done, we will come and fetch you away.”  When it was noon, Grethel shared her piece of bread with Haensel, who had scattered his by the way.  Then they fell asleep and evening came and went, but no one came to the poor children.  They did not awake until it was dark night; but Haensel comforted his little sister and said, “Just wait, Grethel, until the moon rises, and then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have strewn about.  They will show us our way home again.”  When the moon rose they set out, but they found no crumbs, for the many thousands of birds which fly about in the woods and fields had picked them all up.  Haensel said to Grethel, “We shall soon find the way,” but they did not find it.  They walked the whole night and all the next day too, from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest, and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three berries which grew on the ground.  And as they were so weary that their legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree and fell asleep.

It was now three mornings since they had left their father’s house.  They began to walk again, but they always got so much deeper into the forest that, if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness.  When it was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bough, which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened to it.  And when it had finished its song, it spread its wings and flew away before them, and they followed it until they reached a little house, on the roof of which it alighted; and when they came quite up to the little house they saw that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, and that the windows were of clear sugar.  “We will set to work on that,” said Haensel, “and have a good meal.  I will eat a bit of the roof, and thou, Grethel, canst eat some of the window; it will taste sweet.”  Haensel reached up above, and broke off a little of the roof to try how it tasted, and Grethel leant against the window and nibbled at the panes.  Then a soft voice cried from the room—­

Page 125

  “Nibble, nibble, gnaw,
  Who is nibbling at my little house?”

The children answered—­

  “The wind, the wind,
  The heaven-born wind,”

and went on eating without disturbing themselves.

Haensel, who thought the roof tasted very nice, tore down a great piece of it, and Grethel pushed out the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed herself with it.  Suddenly the door opened, and a very, very old woman, who supported herself on crutches, came creeping out.  Haensel and Grethel were so terribly frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands.  The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said, “Oh, you dear children, who has brought you here?  Do come in, and stay with me.  No harm shall happen to you.”  She took them both by the hand, and led them into her little house.  Then good food was set before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts.  Afterward two pretty little beds were covered with clean white linen, and Haensel and Grethel lay down in them, and thought they were in heaven.

The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the little bread house in order to entice them there.  When a child fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast day with her.  Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have a keen scent, like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near.  When Haensel and Grethel came into her neighborhood, she laughed maliciously, and said mockingly, “I have them; they shall not escape me again!” Early in the morning, before the children were awake, she was already up, and when she saw both of them sleeping and looking so pretty, with their plump red cheeks, she muttered to herself, “That will be a dainty mouthful!” Then she seized Haensel with her shriveled hand, carried him into a little stable, and shut him in with a grated door.  He might scream as he liked, that was of no use.  Then she went to Grethel, shook her till she awoke, and cried, “Get up, lazy thing, fetch some water, and cook something good for thy brother; he is in the stable outside, and is to be made fat.  When he is fat, I will eat him.”  Grethel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in vain; she was forced to do what the wicked witch ordered her.

And now the best food was cooked for poor Haensel, but Grethel got nothing but crab-shells.  Every morning the woman crept to the little stable, and cried, “Haensel, stretch out thy finger that I may feel if thou wilt soon be fat.”  Haensel, however, stretched out a little bone to her, and the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not see it, and thought it was Haensel’s finger, and was astonished that there was no way of fattening him.  When four weeks had gone by, and Haensel still continued thin, she was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer.  “Hola, Grethel,”

Page 126

she cried to the girl, “be active, and bring some water.  Let Haensel be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill him and cook him.”  Ah, how the poor little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water, and how her tears did flow down over her cheeks!  “Dear God, do help us!” she cried.  “If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we should at any rate have died together.”  “Just keep thy noise to thyself,” said the old woman; “all that won’t help thee at all.”

Early in the morning, Grethel had to go out and hang up the caldron with the water, and light the fire.  “We will bake first,” said the old woman; “I have already heated the oven, and kneaded the dough.”  She pushed poor Grethel out to the oven from which flames of fire were already darting.  “Creep in,” said the witch, “and see if it is properly heated, so that we can shut the bread in.”  And when once Grethel was inside, she intended to shut the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would eat her, too.  But Grethel saw what she had in her mind, and said, “I do not know how I am to do it; how do you get in?” “Silly goose,” said the old woman.  “The door is big enough; just look, I can get in myself!” and she crept up and thrust her head into the oven.  Then Grethel gave her a push that drove her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt.  Oh! then she began to howl quite horribly, but Grethel ran away, and the godless witch was miserably burnt to death.

Grethel, however, ran as quick as lightning to Haensel, opened his little stable, and cried, “Haensel, we are saved!  The old witch is dead!” Then Haensel sprang out like a bird from its cage when the door is opened for it.  How they did rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each other!  And as they had no longer any need to fear her, they went into the witch’s house; and in every corner there stood chests full of pearls and jewels.  “These are far better than pebbles!” said Haensel, and thrust into his pockets whatever could be got in; and Grethel said, “I, too, will take something home with me,” and filled her pinafore full.  “But now we will go away,” said Haensel, “that we may get out of the witch’s forest.”

When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great piece of water.  “We cannot get over,” said Haensel, “I see no foot-plank, and no bridge.”  “And no boat crosses either,” answered Grethel, “but a white duck is swimming there; if I ask her, she will help us over.”  Then she cried—­

  “Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
  Haensel and Grethel are waiting for thee? 
  There’s never a plank, or bridge in sight,
  Take us across on thy back so white.”

Page 127

The duck came to them, and Haensel seated himself on its back, and told his sister to sit by him.  “No,” replied Grethel, “that will be too heavy for the little duck; she shall take us across, one after the other.”  The good little duck did so, and when they were once safely across and had walked for a short time, the forest seemed to be more and more familiar to them, and at length they saw from afar their father’s house.  Then they began to run, rushed into the parlor, and threw themselves into their father’s arms.  The man had not known one happy hour since he had left the children in the forest; the woman, however, was dead.  Grethel emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the room, and Haensel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to add to them.  Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness.  My tale is done.  There runs a mouse; whosoever catches it may make himself a big fur cap out of it.

* * * * *

THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE

There was once on a time a Fisherman who lived with his wife in a miserable hovel close by the sea, and every day he went out fishing.  And once as he was sitting with his rod, looking at the clear water, his line suddenly went down, far down below, and when he drew it up again he brought out a large Flounder.  Then the Flounder said to him, “Hark, you Fisherman, I pray you, let me live; I am no Flounder really, but an enchanted prince.  What good will it do you to kill me?  I should not be good to eat; put me in the water again, and let me go.”  “Come,” said the Fisherman, “there is no need for so many words about it—­a fish that can talk I should certainly let go, anyhow.”  With that he put him back again into the clear water, and the Flounder went to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind him.  Then the Fisherman got up and went home to his wife in the hovel.  “Husband,” said the woman, “have you caught nothing today?” “No,” said the man; “I did catch a Flounder, who said he was an enchanted prince, so I let him go again.”  “Did you not wish for anything first?” said the woman.  “No,” said the man; “what should I wish for?” “Ah,” said the woman, “it is surely hard to have to live always in this dirty hovel.  You might have wished for a small cottage for us.  Go back and call him.  Tell him we want to have a small cottage; he will certainly give us that.”  “Ah,” said the man, “why should I go there again?” “Why,” said the woman, “you did catch him, and you let him go again; he is sure to do it.  Go at once.”  The man still did not quite like to go, but did not like to oppose his wife, either, and so went to the sea.  When he got there the sea was all green and yellow, and no longer smooth, as before; so he stood and said—­

  “Flounder, Flounder, in the sea,
  Come, I pray thee, here to me;
  For my wife, good Ilsabil,
  Wills not as I’d have her will.”

Page 128

Then the Flounder came swimming to him and said, “Well, what does she want, then?” “Ah,” said the man, “I did catch you, and my wife says I really ought to have wished for something.  She does not like to live in a wretched hovel any longer; she would like to have a cottage.”  “Go, then,” said the Flounder, “she has it already.”

When the man went home, his wife was no longer in the hovel, but, instead of it, there stood a small cottage, and she was sitting on a bench before the door.  Then she took him by the hand and said to him, “Just come inside, look, now isn’t this a great deal better?” So they went in, and there was a small porch, and a pretty little parlor and bedroom and a kitchen and pantry, with the best of furniture, and fitted up with the most beautiful things made of tin and brass, whatsoever was wanted.  And behind the cottage there was a small yard, with hens and ducks, and a little garden with flowers and fruit.  “Look,” said the wife, “is not that nice!” “Yes,” said the husband, “and so we must always think it; now we will live quite contented.”  “We will think about that,” said the wife.  With that they ate something and went to bed.

Everything went well for a week or a fortnight, and then the woman said, “Hark you, husband, this cottage is far too small for us, and the garden and yard are little; the Flounder might just as well have given us a larger house.  I should like to live in a great stone castle; go to the Flounder, and tell him to give us a castle.”  “Ah, wife,” said the man, “the cottage is quite good enough; why should we live in a castle?” “What!” said the woman; “just go there, the Flounder can always do that.”  “No, wife,” said the man, “the Flounder has just given us the cottage; I do not like to go back so soon.  It might make him angry.”  “Go,” said the woman, “he can do it quite easily, and will be glad to do it; just you go to him.”

The man’s heart grew heavy, and he would not go.  He said to himself, “It is not right,” and yet he went.  And when he came to the sea the water was quite purple and dark-blue, and gray and thick, and no longer green and yellow; but it was still quiet.  And he stood there and said—­

  “Flounder, Flounder, in the sea,
  Come, I pray thee, here to me;
  For my wife, good Ilsabil,
  Wills not as I’d have her will.”

“Well, what does she want, then?” said the Flounder.  “Alas,” said the man, half scared, “she wants to live in a great stone castle.”  “Go to it, then, she is standing before the door,” said the Flounder.

Then the man went away, intending to go home, but when he got there, he found a great stone palace, and his wife was just standing on the steps going in, and she took him by the hand and said, “Come in.”  So he went in with her, and in the castle was a great hall paved with marble, and many servants, who flung wide the doors; and the walls were all bright with beautiful hangings, and in the

Page 129

rooms were chairs and tables of pure gold, and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms and bedrooms had carpets, and food and wine of the very best were standing on all the tables so that they nearly broke down beneath it.  Behind the house, too, there was a great courtyard, with stables for horses and cows, and the very best of carriages; there was a magnificent large garden, too, with the most beautiful flowers and fruit-trees, and a park quite half a mile long, in which were stags, deer, and hares, and everything that could be desired.  “Come,” said the woman, “isn’t that beautiful?” “Yes, indeed,” said the man; “now let it be; we will live in this beautiful castle and be content.”  “We will consider about that,” said the woman, “and sleep upon it;” thereupon they went to bed.

Next morning the wife awoke first, and it was just daybreak, and from her bed she saw the beautiful country lying before her.  Her husband was still stretching himself, so she poked him in the side with her elbow, and said, “Get up, husband, and just peep out of the window.  Look you, couldn’t we be the King over all that land?  Go to the Flounder, we will be the King.”  “Ah, wife,” said the man, “why should we be King?  I do not want to be King.”  “Well,” said the wife, “if you won’t be King, I will; go to the Flounder, for I will be King.”  “Oh, wife,” said the man, “why do you want to be King?  I do not like to say that to him.”  “Why not?” asked the woman; “go to him this instant; I must be King!” So the man went, and was quite unhappy because his wife wished to be King.  “It is not right; it is not right,” thought he.  He did not wish to go; but yet he went.

And when he came to the sea, it was quite dark-gray, and the water heaved up from below, and smelt putrid.  Then he went and stood by it, and said—­

  “Flounder, Flounder, in the sea,
  Come, I pray thee, here to me;
  For my wife, good Ilsabil,
  Wills not as I’d have her will.”

“Well, what does she want, then?” asked the Flounder.  “Alas,” said the man, “she wants to be King.”  “Go to her; she is King already.”

So the man went, and when he came to the palace, the castle had become much larger, and had a great tower and magnificent ornaments, and the sentinel was standing before the door, and there were numbers of soldiers with kettle-drums and trumpets.  And when he went inside the house, everything was of real marble and gold, with velvet covers and great golden tassels.  Then the doors of the hall were opened, and there was the court in all its splendor, and his wife was sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds, with a great crown of gold on her head, and a sceptre of pure gold and jewels in her hand, and on both sides of her stood her maids-in-waiting in a row, each of them always one head shorter than the last.

Then he went and stood before her, and said, “Ah, wife, and now you are King!” “Yes,” said the woman, “now I am King.”  So he stood and looked at her, and when he had looked at her thus for a time he said, “And now that you are King, let all else be; now we will wish for nothing more.”  “Nay, husband,” said the woman, quite anxiously, “I find time pass very heavily; I can bear it no longer; go to the Flounder.  I am King, but I must be Emperor, too.”

Page 130

“Alas, wife, why do you wish to be Emperor?” “Husband,” said she, “go to the Flounder.  I will be Emperor.”  “Alas, wife,” said the man, “he cannot make you Emperor; I may not say that to the fish.  There is only one Emperor in the land.  An Emperor the Flounder cannot make you!  I assure you he cannot.”

“What!” said the woman, “I am the King, and you are nothing but my husband; will you go this moment?  Go at once!  If he can make a king he can make an emperor.  I will be Emperor; go instantly.”  So he was forced to go.  As the man went, however, he was troubled in mind, and thought to himself, “It will not end well; it will not end well!  Emperor is too shameless!  The Flounder will at last be tired out.”

With that he reached the sea, and the sea was quite black and thick, and began to boil up from below, so that it threw up bubbles, and such a sharp wind blew over it that it curdled, and the man was afraid.  Then he went and stood by it, and said—­

  “Flounder, Flounder, in the sea,
  Come, I pray thee, here to me;
  For my wife, good Ilsabil,
  Wills not as I’d have her will.”

“Well, what does she want, then?” asked the Flounder.  “Alas, Flounder,” said he, “my wife wants to be Emperor.”  “Go to her,” said the Flounder; “she is Emperor already.”

So the man went, and when he got there the whole palace was made of polished marble with alabaster figures and golden ornaments, and soldiers were marching before the door blowing trumpets, and beating cymbals and drums; and in the house, barons, and counts, and dukes were going about as servants.  Then they opened the doors to him, which were of pure gold.  And when he entered, there sat his wife on a throne, which was made of one piece of gold, and was quite two miles high; and she wore a great golden crown that was three yards high, and set with diamonds and carbuncles, and in one hand she had the sceptre, and in the other the imperial orb; and on both sides of her stood the yeomen of the guard in two rows, each being smaller than the one before him, from the biggest giant, who was two miles high, to the very smallest dwarf, just as big as my little finger.  And before it stood a number of princes and dukes.

Then the man went and stood among them, and said, “Wife, are you Emperor now?” “Yes,” said she, “now I am Emperor.”  Then he stood and looked at her well; and when he had looked at her thus for some time, be said, “Ah, wife, be content, now that you are Emperor.”  “Husband,” said she, “why are you standing there?  Now, I am Emperor, but I will be Pope too; go to the Flounder.”

“Alas, wife,” said the man, “what will you not wish for?  You cannot be Pope; there is but one in Christendom; he cannot make you Pope.”  “Husband,” said she, “I will be Pope; go immediately, I must be Pope this very day.”  “No, wife,” said the man, “I do not like to say that to him; that would not do; it is too much; the Flounder can’t make you Pope.”  “Husband,” said she, “what nonsense!  If he can make an emperor he can make a pope.  Go to him directly.  I am Emperor and you are nothing but my husband; will you go at once?”

Page 131

Then he was afraid, and went; but he was quite faint, and shivered and shook, and his knees and legs trembled.  And a high wind blew over the land, and the clouds flew, and toward evening all grew dark, and the leaves fell from the trees, and the water rose and roared as if it were boiling, and splashed upon the shore; and in the distance he saw ships which were firing guns in their sore need, pitching and tossing on the waves.  And yet in the midst of the sky there was still a small bit of blue, though on every side it was as red as in a heavy storm.  So, full of despair, he went and stood in much fear and said—­

  “Flounder, Flounder, in the sea,
  Come, I pray thee, here to me;
  For my wife, good Ilsabil,
  Wills not as I’d have her will.”

“Well, what does she want, then?” asked the Flounder.  “Alas,” said the man, “she wants to be Pope.”  “Go to her then,” said the Flounder; “she is Pope already.”

So he went, and when he got there, he saw what seemed to be a large church surrounded by palaces.  Inside, however, everything was lighted up with thousands and thousands of candles, and his wife was clad in gold, and she was sitting on a much higher throne, and had three great golden crowns on, and around about her there was much ecclesiastical splendor; and on both sides of her was a row of candles the largest of which was as tall as the very tallest tower, down to the very smallest kitchen candle, and all the emperors and kings were on their knees before her, kissing her shoe.  He pushed his way through the crowd.  “Wife,” said the man, and looked attentively at her, “are you now Pope?” “Yes,” said she, “I am Pope.”  So he stood and looked at her, and it was just as if he was looking at the bright sun.  When he had stood looking at her thus for a short time, he said, “Ah, wife, if you are Pope, do let well alone!” But she looked as stiff as a post, and did not move or show any signs of life.  Then said he, “Wife, now that you are Pope, be satisfied; you cannot become anything greater now.”  “I will consider about that,” said the woman.  Thereupon they both went to bed, but she was not satisfied, and greediness let her have no sleep, for she was continually thinking what there was left for her to be.

The man slept well and soundly, for he had run about a great deal during the day; but the woman could not fall asleep at all, and flung herself from one side to the other the whole night through, thinking always what more was left for her to be, but unable to call to mind anything else.  At length the sun began to rise, and when the woman saw the red of dawn, she sat up in bed and looked at it.  And when, through the window, she saw the sun thus rising, she said, “Cannot I, too, order the sun and moon to rise?” “Husband,” said she, poking him in the ribs with her elbow, “wake up! go to the Flounder, for I wish to be even as God is.”  The man was still half asleep, but he was so horrified that he fell out of bed.  He thought he must have heard amiss, and rubbed his eyes, and said, “Alas, wife, what are you saying?” “Husband,” said she, “if I can’t order the sun and moon to rise, and have to look on and see the sun and moon rising, I can’t bear it.  I shall not know what it is to have another happy hour, unless I can make them rise myself.”

Page 132

Then she looked at him so terribly that a shudder ran over him, and said, “Go at once; I wish to be like unto God.”  “Alas, wife,” said the man, falling on his knees before her, “the Flounder cannot do that; he can make an emperor and a pope; I beseech you, go on as you are, and be Pope.”  Then she fell into a rage, and her hair flew wildly about her head, and she cried, “I will not endure this, I’ll not bear it any longer; wilt thou go?” Then he put on his trousers and ran away like a madman.  But outside a great storm was raging and blowing so hard that he could scarcely keep his feet; houses and trees toppled over, the mountains trembled, rocks rolled into the sea, the sky was pitch black, and it thundered and lightened, and the sea came in with black waves as high as church-towers and mountains, and all with crests of white foam at the top.  Then he cried, but could not hear his own words—­

  “Flounder, Flounder, in the sea,
  Come, I pray thee, here to me;
  For my wife, good Ilsabil,
  Wills not as I’d have her will”

“Well, what does she want, then?” asked the Flounder.  “Alas,” said he, “she wants to be like unto God.”  “Go to her, and you will find her back again in the dirty hovel.”  And there they are living still at this very time.

ERNST MORITZ ARNDT

* * * * *

  SONG OF THE FATHERLAND[9] (1813)

  God, who gave iron, purposed ne’er
    That man should be a slave;
  Therefore the sabre, sword, and spear
    In his right hand He gave. 
  Therefore He gave him fiery mood,
    Fierce speech, and free-born breath,
  That he might fearlessly the feud
    Maintain through blood and death.

  Therefore will we what God did say,
    With honest truth, maintain—­
  And ne’er a fellow-creature slay,
    A tyrant’s pay to gain! 
  But he shall perish by stroke of brand
    Who fighteth for sin and shame,
  And not inherit the German land
    With men of the German name.

  O Germany! bright Fatherland! 
    O German love so true! 
  Thou sacred land—­thou beauteous land—­
    We swear to thee anew! 
  Outlawed, each knave and coward shall
    The crow and raven feed;
  But we will to the battle all—­
    Revenge shall be our meed.

  Flash forth, flash forth, whatever can,
    To bright and flaming life! 
  Now, all ye Germans, man for man,
    Forth to the holy strife! 
  Your hands lift upward to the sky—­
    Your hearts shall upward soar—­
  And man for man let each one cry,
    Our slavery is o’er!

  Let sound, let sound, whatever can
    Trumpet and fife and drum! 
  This day our sabres, man for man,
    To stain with blood, we come;
  With hangman’s and with coward’s blood,
    O glorious day of ire
  That to all Germans soundeth good!—­
    Day of our great desire!

Page 133

  Let wave, let wave, whatever can—­
    Standard and banner wave! 
  Here will we purpose, man for man,
    To grace a hero’s grave. 
  Advance, ye brave ranks, hardily—­
    Your banners wave on high;
  We’ll gain us freedom’s victory,
    Or freedom’s death we’ll die!

[Illustration:  ERNST MORITZ ARNDT Julius Roeting]

* * * * *

  UNION SONG[10] (1814)

  This blessed hour we are united,
    Of German men a mighty choir,
  And from the lips of each, delighted,
    Our praying souls to heaven aspire;
  With high and sacred awe abounding
    We join in solemn thoughts today,
  And so our hearts should be resounding
    In clear harmonic song and play.

  To whom shall foremost thanks be given? 
    To God, the great, so long concealed,
  Who, when the cloud of shame was riven,
    Himself in flames to us revealed,
  Who, stubborn foes with lightning felling,
    Restored to us our strength of yore,
  Who, on the stars in power dwelling,
    Reigns ever and forevermore.

  Who should our second wish be hearing? 
    The majesty of Fatherland—­
  Destroyed be those who still are sneering! 
    Hail them who with it fall and stand! 
  By virtue winning admiration,
    Beloved for honesty and might,
  Long live through centuries our nation
    As strong in honor and in might!

  The third is German manhood’s treasure—­
    Ring out it shall, with clearness mete! 
  For Freedom is the German pleasure,
    And Germans step to Freedom’s beat. 
  Be life and death by her inspired—­
    Of German hearts, oh, longing bright! 
  And death for Freedom’s sake desired
    Is German honor and delight.

  The fourth—­for noble consecration
    Now lift on high both heart and hand! 
  Old loyalty within our nation
    And German faith forever stand!—­
  These virtues shall, our weal assuring,
    Remain our union’s shield and stay;
  Our manly word will be enduring
    Until the world shall pass away.

  Now let the final chord be ringing
    In jubilee—­stand not apart! 
  Let sound our mighty, joyful singing
    From lip to lip, from heart to heart! 
  The weal from which no devils bar us,
    The word that doth our league infold—­
  The bliss which tyrants cannot mar us
    We must believe in, we must hold!

THEODOR KOeRNER

* * * * *

  MEN AND KNAVES[11] (1813)

  The storm is out; the land is roused;
  Where is the coward who sits well-housed? 
  Fie, on thee, boy, disguised in curls,
  Behind the stove, ’mong gluttons and girls! 
    A graceless, worthless wight thou must be;
    No German maid desires thee,
    No German song inspires thee,
    No German Rhine-wine fires thee. 
        Forth in the van,
        Man by man,
    Swing the battle-sword who can!

Page 134

  When we stand watching, the livelong night,
  Through piping storms, till morning light,
  Thou to thy downy bed canst creep,
  And there in dreams of rapture sleep.

  Chorus.

  When, hoarse and shrill, the trumpet’s blast,
  Like the thunder of God, makes our hearts beat fast,
  Thou in the theatre lov’st to appear,
  Where trills and quavers tickle the ear.

  Chorus.

  When the glare of noonday scorches the brain,
  When our parched lips seek water in vain,
  Thou canst make the champagne corks fly,
  At the groaning tables of luxury.

  Chorus.

  When we, as we rush to the strangling fight,
  Send home to our true loves a long “Good night,”
  Thou canst hie thee where love is sold,
  And buy thy pleasure with paltry gold.

  Chorus.

  When lance and bullet come whistling by,
  And death in a thousand shapes draws nigh,
  Thou canst sit at thy cards, and kill
  King, queen, and knave, with thy spadille.

  Chorus.

  If on the red field our bell should toll,
  Then welcome be death to the patriot’s soul. 
  Thy pampered flesh shall quake at its doom,
  And crawl in silk to a hopeless tomb. 
    A pitiful exit thine shall be;
    No German maid shall weep for thee,
    No German song shall they sing for thee,
    No German goblets shall ring for thee. 
        Forth in the van,
        Man for man,
    Swing the battle-sword who can!

* * * * *

  LUeTZOW’S WILD BAND[12] (1813)

  What gleams through the woods in the morning sun? 
    Hear it nearer and nearer draw! 
  It winds in and out in columns dun,
  And the trumpet-notes on the roused winds run,
    And they startle the soul with awe. 
  Should you of the comrades black demand—­
  That is Luetzow’s wild and untamed band.

  What passes swift through the darksome glade,
    And roves o’er the mountains all? 
  It crouches in nightly ambuscade;
  The hurrah breaks round the foe dismayed,
    And the Frankish sergeants fall. 
  Should you of the rangers black demand—­
  That is Luetzow’s wild and audacious band.

  Where the vineyards flourish, there roars the Rhine;
    There the tyrant thought him secure;
  Then by thunder-crash and lightning-shine
  In the waters plunges the fighting line;
    Of the hostile bank makes sure. 
  Should you of the swimmers black demand—­
  That is Luetzow’s wild and foolhardy band.

  There down in the valley what clamorous fight! 
    What clangor of bloody swords! 
  Fierce-hearted horsemen wage the fight,
  And the spark of freedom’s at last alight,
    Flaming red the heavens towards. 
  Should you of the horsemen black demand—­
  That is Luetzow’s wild and intrepid band.

Page 135

  Who with death-rattle there bid the day farewell
    ’Mid the moans of prostrate foes? 
  Of the hand of death the drawn features tell,
  Yet the dauntless hearts triumphant swell,
    For his Fatherland’s safe each knows! 
  Should you of the black-clad fallen demand—­
  That is Luetzow’s wild and invincible band.

  The wild, fierce band and the Teuton band,
    For all tyrants’ blood athirst!—­
  So you who would mourn us, be not unmanned;
  For the morning dawns, and we freed our land,
    Though to free it we won death first! 
  Then tell, at your grandsons’ rapt demand: 
  That was Luetzow’s wild and unconquered band!

[Illustration:  THEODOR KOeRNER]

* * * * *

  PRAYER DURING BATTLE[13](1813)

        Father, I call to thee. 
  The roaring artillery’s clouds thicken round me,
  The hiss and the glare of the loud bolts confound me. 
        Ruler of battles, I call on thee
        O Father, lead thou me!

        O Father, lead thou me;
  To victory, to death, dread Commander, O guide me;
  The dark valley brightens when thou art beside me;
        Lord, as thou wilt, so lead thou me. 
        God, I acknowledge thee.

        God, I acknowledge thee;
  When the breeze through the dry leaves of autumn is moaning,
  When the thunder-storm of battle is groaning,
        Fount of mercy, in each I acknowledge thee. 
        O Father, bless thou me!

        O Father, bless thou me;
  I trust in thy mercy, whate’er may befall me;
  ’Tis thy word that hath sent me; that word can recall me. 
        Living or dying, O bless thou me! 
        Father, I honor thee.

        Father, I honor thee;
  Not for earth’s hoards or honors we here are contending;
  All that is holy our swords are defending;
        Then falling, and conquering, I honor thee. 
        God, I repose in thee.

        God, I repose in thee;
  When the thunders of death my soul are greeting,
  When the gashed veins bleed, and the life is fleeting,
        In thee, my God, I repose in thee. 
        Father, I call on thee.

MAXIMILIAN GOTTFRIED VON SCHENKENDORF

* * * * *

  THE MOTHER TONGUE[14] (1814)

  Mother tongue, oh, tongue most dear,
  Sweet and gladsome to mine ear! 
    Word that first I heard, endearing
  Word of love, first timid sound
    That I stammered—­still I’m hearing
  Thee within my soul profound.

  Oh, my heart will ever grieve
  When my Fatherland I leave,
    For in foreign tongues repeating
  Words of strangers, I lose cheer. 
    Oh, they seem not like a greeting,
  And I’ll never hold them dear.

  Speech so wonderful to hear—­
  How thou ringest pure and clear! 
    Though thy beauty hath enthralled me,
  Still I’ll deepen my delight,
    Awed, as if my fathers called me
  From the grave’s eternal night.

Page 136

  Ring on ever, tongue of old,
  Tongue of lovers, heroes bold! 
    Rise, old song, though lost for ages,
  From thy secret tomb, and go
    Live again in sacred pages,
  Set all hearts once more aglow.

  Breath of God is everywhere,
  Custom sacred here as there. 
    Yet when I give thanks, am praying,
  A beloved heart would seek,
    When my highest thoughts I’m saying—­
  Then my mother tongue I speak.

[Illustration:  MAXIMILIAN GOTTFRIED VON SCHENKENDORF]

* * * * *

  SPRING GREETING TO THE FATHERLAND[15] (1814)

  Fatherland, thy pleasures greet me
    After bondage, war’s distress! 
  I must steep my soul completely
    Here in all thy gorgeousness. 
  Where the oak-trees murmur mildly
    With their crowns to heaven raised,
  Mighty streams are roaring wildly—­
    There the German land be praised.

  From the Rhinefall, all delighted,
    I have walked, from Danube’s spring;
  Mildly, in my soul benighted
    Love-stars rose, illumining;
  Now I would descend, and brightly
    Radiate a joyous shine
  Into Neckar’s valleys sprightly,
    O’er the blue and silver Main.

  Onward fly, my message, bringing
    Freedom’s greeting evermore,
  Far away thou shalt be ringing
    By my home on Memel’s shore. 
  Where the German tongue is spoken,
    Hearts have fought to make her free—­
  Fought right gladly—­there unbroken
    Stays our sacred Germany.

  All with sunlight seems a-blazing,
    All things seem adorned with green—­
  Pastures where the herds are grazing,
    Hills where ripening grapes are seen. 
  Such a spring time has not graced thee,
    Fatherland, for thousand years;
  Glory of thy fathers faced thee
    Once in dreams, and now appears.

  Once more weapons must be wielded;
    Go, a spirit-fray begin,
  Till the latest foe has yielded—­
    He who threatens you within. 
  Passions vile ye should be blighting,
    Hate, suspicion, envy, greed—­
  Then take, after heavy fighting,
    German hearts, the rest ye need.

  Then shall all men be possessing
    Honor, humbleness, and might,
  And thus only can the blessing
    Sent our monarch shine with right. 
  All the ancient sins must perish—­
    In the God-sent deluge all,
  And the heritage we cherish
    To a worthy heir must fall.

  God has blessed the grain that’s growing
    And the vineyard’s fruit no less;
  Men with hunter’s joy are glowing;
    In the homes reigns happiness. 
  And our freedom’s sure foundation,
    Pious longing, fills the breast;
  Love that charms in every nation
    In our German land is best.

Page 137

  Ye that are in castles dwelling,
    Or in towns that grace our soil,
  Farmers that in harvests swelling
    Reap the fruits of German toil—­
  German brothers dear, united,
    Mark my words both old and new! 
  That our land may stay unblighted,
    Keep this concord, and be true!

* * * * *

  FREEDOM[16] (1815)

  Freedom that I love,
    Shining in my heart,
  Come now from above,
    Angel that thou art.

  Wilt thou ne’er appear
    To the world oppressed? 
  With thy grace and cheer
    Only stars are blessed?

  In the forest gay
    When the trees are green,
  ’Neath the blooming spray,
    Freedom, thou art seen.

  Oh, what dear delight! 
    Music fills the air,
  And thy secret might
    Thrills us everywhere,

  When the rustling boughs
    Friendly greetings send,
  When we lovers’ vows
    Looks and kisses spend.

  But the heart aspires
    Upward evermore,
  And our high desires
    Ever sky-ward soar.

  From his simple kind
    Comes my rustic child,
  Shows his heart and mind
    To the world beguiled;

  For him gardens bloom,
    For him fields have grown,
  Even in, the gloom
    Of a world of stone.

  Where in that man’s breast
    Glows a God-sent flame
  Who with loyal zest
    Loves the ancient name,

  Where the men unite
    Valiantly to face
  Foes of honor’s right—­
    There dwells freedom’s race.

  Ramparts, brazen doors
    Still may bar the light,
  Yet the spirit soars
    Into regions bright;

  For the fathers’ grave,
    For the church to fall,
  And for dear ones—­brave,
    True at freedom’s call—­

  That indeed is light,
    Glowing rosy-red;
  Heroes’ cheeks grow bright
    And more fair when dead.

  Down to us, oh, guide
    Heaven’s grace, we pray! 
  In our hearts reside—­
    German hearts—­to stay!

  Freedom sweet and fair,
    Trusting, void of fear,
  German nature e’er
    Was to thee most clear.

LUDWIG UHLAND

* * * * *

  THE CHAPEL[17] (1805)

  Yonder chapel, on the mountain,
    Looks upon a vale of joy;
  There, below, by moss and fountain,
    Gaily sings the herdsman’s boy.

  Hark!  Upon the breeze descending,
    Sound of dirge and funeral bell;
  And the boy, his song suspending,
    Listens, gazing from the dell.

  Homeward to the grave they’re bringing
    Forms that graced the peaceful vale;
  Youthful herdsman, gaily singing! 
    Thus they’ll chant thy funeral wail.

* * * * *

  THE SHEPHERD’S SONG ON THE LORD’S DAY[18] (1805)

Page 138

    The Lord’s own day is here! 
  Alone I kneel on this broad plain;
  A matin bell just sounds; again
    ’Tis silence, far and near.

    Here kneel I on the sod;
  O deep amazement, strangely felt! 
  As though, unseen, vast numbers knelt
    And prayed with me to God!

    Yon heav’n afar and near—­
  So bright, so glorious seems its cope
  As though e’en now its gates would ope—­
    The Lord’s own day is here!

[Illustration:  LUDWIG UHLAND]

* * * * *

  THE CASTLE BY THE SEA[19] (1805)

  Hast thou seen that lordly castle,
    That castle by the sea? 
  Golden and red above it
    The clouds float gorgeously.

  And fain it would stoop downward
    To the mirrored lake below;
  And fain it would soar upward
    In the evening’s crimson glow.

  Well have I seen that castle,
    That castle by the sea,
  And the moon above it standing,
    And the mist rise solemnly.

  The winds and the waves of ocean—­
    Had they a merry chime? 
  Didst thou hear, from those lofty chambers,
    The harp and the minstrel’s rhyme?

  The winds and the waves of ocean,
    They rested quietly;
  But I heard in the gale a sound of wail,
    And tears came to mine eye.

  And sawest thou on the turrets
    The king and his royal bride,
  And the wave of their crimson mantles,
    And the golden crown of pride?

  Led they not forth, in rapture,
    A beauteous maiden there,
  Resplendent as the morning sun,
    Beaming with golden hair!

  Well saw I the ancient parents,
    Without the crown of pride;
  They were moving slow, in weeds of woe—­
    No maiden was by their side!

* * * * *

  SONG OF THE MOUNTAIN BOY[20] (1806)

  The mountain shepherd-boy am I;
  The castles all below me spy. 
  The sun sends me his earliest beam,
  Leaves me his latest, lingering gleam. 
    I am the boy of the mountain!

  The mountain torrent’s home is here,
  Fresh from the rock I drink it clear;
  As out it leaps with furious force,
  I stretch my arms and stop its course. 
    I am the boy of the mountain!

  I claim the mountain for my own;
  In vain the winds around me moan;
  From north to south let tempests brawl—­
  My song shall swell above them all. 
    I am the boy of the mountain!

  Thunder and lightning below me lie,
  Yet here I stand in upper sky;
  I know them well, and cry, “Harm not
  My father’s lowly, peaceful cot.” 
    I am the boy of the mountain!

  But when I hear the alarm-bell sound,
  When watch-fires gleam from the mountains round,
  Then down I go and march along,
  And swing my sword, and sing my song. 
    I am the boy of the mountain!

Page 139

[Illustration:  THE VILLA BY THE SEA From the Painting by Arnold Boecklin]

* * * * *

  DEPARTURE[21] (1806)

  What jingles and carols along the street! 
  Fling open your casements, damsels sweet! 
  The prentice’ friends, they are bearing
  The boy on his far wayfaring.

  ’Mid fluttering ribbons and tossing caps,
  Full merry the rabble huzzas and claps;
  But the boy regards not the token—­
  He walks like one heartbroken.

  Full clear clinks the wine-can, full red gleams the wine
  “Drink deep and drink deeper, dear brother mine!”
  “Oh, have done with the red wine of parting
  That burns me within with its smarting!”

  And outside from the cottage, last of all,
  A maiden peeps out and her tear-drops fall,
  Yet her tear-drops to none she discloses
  But forget-me-nots and roses.

  And outside by the cottage, last of all,
  The boy glances up at a casement small,
  And glances down without greeting. 
  ’Neath his hand his heart is beating.

  “What, brother!  Art lacking a bright nosegay? 
  See yonder—­the beckoning, blossomy spray! 
  God save thee, thou prettiest sweeting! 
  Drop down now a nosegay for greeting!”

  “Nay, brothers, pass yonder casement by. 
  No prettiest sweeting like her have I.
  In the sun those blossoms would wither;
  The wind it would blow them thither.”

  So farther and farther with shout and song! 
  And the maiden listens and harkens long
  “Ah, me! he is flown now beyond me—­
  The boy I have loved so fondly!

  And here I stay, with my lonely lot,
  With roses, ah!—­and forget-me-not,
  And he whose heart I’d be sharing—­
  He is gone on his far wayfaring!”

* * * * *

  FAREWELL[22] (1807)

  Farewell, farewell!  From thee
    Today, love, must I sever. 
  One kiss, one kiss give me,
    Ere I quit thee forever!

  One blossom from yon tree
    O give to me, I pray! 
  No fruit, no fruit for me! 
    So long I may not stay.

[Illustration:  LEAVING AT DAWN]

* * * * *

  THE HOSTESS’ DAUGHTER[23] (1809)

  Three students had cross’d o’er the Rhine’s dark tide;
  At the door of a hostel they turned aside.

  “Hast thou, Dame hostess, good ale and wine
  And where is thy daughter, so sweet and fine?”

  “My ale and wine are cool and clear;
  On her death-bed lieth my daughter dear.”

  And when to the chamber they made their way,
  In a sable coffin the damsel lay.

  The first—­the veil from her face he took,
  And gazed upon her with mournful look: 

  “Alas! fair maiden—­didst thou still live,
  To thee my love would I henceforth give!”

Page 140

  The second—­he lightly replaced the shroud,
  Then round he turned him, and wept aloud: 

  “Thou liest, alas I on thy death-bed here;
  I loved thee fondly for many a year!”

  The third—­he lifted again the veil,
  And gently he kissed those lips so pale: 

  “I love thee now, as I loved of yore,
  And thus will I love thee forevermore!”

* * * * *

  THE GOOD COMRADE[24] (1809)

  I had a gallant comrade,
    No better e’er was tried;
  The drum beat loud to battle—­
  Beside me, to its rattle,
    He marched, with equal stride.

  A bullet flies toward us us—­
    “Is that for me or thee?”
  It struck him, passing o’er me;
  I see his corpse before me
    As ’twere a part of me!

  And still, while I am loading,
    His outstretched hand I view;
  “Not now—­awhile we sever;
  But, when we live forever,
    Be still my comrade true!”

* * * * *

  THE WHITE HART[25] (1811)

  Three huntsmen forth to the greenwood went;
  To hunt the white hart was their intent.

  They laid them under a green fir-tree,
  And a singular vision befell those three.

  THE FIRST HUNTSMAN

  I dreamt I arose and beat on the bush,
  When forth came rushing the stag—­hush, hush!

  THE SECOND

  As with baying of hound he came rushing along,
  I fired my gun at his hide—­bing, bang!

  THE THIRD

  And when the stag on the ground I saw,
  I merrily wound my horn—­trara!

  Conversing thus did the huntsmen lie,
  When lo! the white hart came bounding by;

  And before the huntsmen had noted him well,
  He was up and away over mountain and dell!—­
      Hush, hush!—­bing, bang!—­trara!

* * * * *

  THE LOST CHURCH[26] (1812)

  When one into the forest goes,
    A music sweet the spirit blesses;
  But whence it cometh no one knows,
    Nor common rumor even guesses. 
  From the lost Church those strains must swell
    That come on all the winds resounding;
  The path to it now none can tell,
    That path with pilgrims once abounding.

  As lately, in the forest, where
    No beaten path could be discover’d,
  All lost in thought, I wander’d far,
    Upward to God my spirit hover’d. 
  When all was silent round me there,
    Then in my ears that music sounded;
  The higher, purer, rose my prayer,
    The nearer, fuller, it resounded.

  Upon my heart such peace there fell,
    Those strains with all my thoughts so blended,
  That how it was I cannot tell
    That I so high that hour ascended. 
  It seem’d a hundred years and more
    That I had been thus lost in dreaming,
  When, all earth’s vapors op’ning o’er,
    A free large place stood, brightly beaming.

Page 141

  The sky it was so blue and bland,
    The sun it was so full and glowing,
  As rose a minster vast and grand,
    The golden light all round it flowing. 
  The clouds on which it rested seem’d
    To bear it up like wings of fire;
  Piercing the heavens, so I dream’d,
    Sublimely rose its lofty spire.

  The bell—­what music from it roll’d! 
    Shook, as it peal’d, the trembling tower;
  Rung by no mortal hand, but toll’d
    By some unseen, unearthly power. 
  The selfsame power from Heaven thrill’d
    My being to its utmost centre,
  As, all with fear and gladness fill’d,
    Beneath the lofty dome I enter.

  I stood within the solemn pile—­
    Words cannot tell with what amazement,
  As saints and martyrs seem’d to smile
    Down on me from each gorgeous casement. 
  I saw the picture grow alive,
    And I beheld a world of glory,
  Where sainted men and women strive
    And act again their godlike story.

  Before the altar knelt I low—­
    Love and devotion only feeling,
  While Heaven’s glory seem’d to glow,
    Depicted on the lofty ceiling. 
  Yet when again I upward gazed,
    The mighty dome in twain was shaken,
  And Heaven’s gate wide open blazed,
    And every veil away was taken.

  What majesty I then beheld,
    My heart with adoration swelling;
  What music all my senses fill’d,
    Beyond the organ’s power of telling,
  In words can never be exprest;
    Yet for that bliss who longs sincerely,
  O let him to the music list,
    That in the forest soundeth clearly!

* * * * *

  CHARLEMAGNE’S VOYAGE[27] (1812)

  With comrades twelve upon the main
    King Charles set out to sail. 
  The Holy Land he hoped to gain,
    But drifted in a gale.

  Then spake Sir Roland, hero brave: 
    “Well I can fight and shield;
  Yet neither stormy wind nor wave
    Will to my weapon yield.”

  Sir Holger spoke, from Denmark’s strand: 
    “The harp I feign would play;
  But what avails the music bland
    When tempests roaring sway!”

  Sir Oliver was not too glad;
    Upon his sword he’d stare: 
  “For my own weal ’twere not so bad,
    I grieve, for good Old Clare.”

  Said wicked Ganilon with gall
    (He said it ’neath his breath): 
  “The devil come and take ye all—­
    Were I but spared this death!”

  Archbishop Turpin deeply sighed: 
    “The knights of God are we. 
  O come, our Savior, be our guide,
    And lead us o’er the sea!”

  Then spake Sir Richard Fearless stern: 
    “Ye demons there in hell,
  I served ye many a goodly turn,
    Now serve ye me as well!”

  “My counsel often has been heard,”
    Sir Naimes did remark. 
  “Fresh water, though, and helpful word
    Are rare upon a bark.”

Page 142

  Then spake Sir Riol, old and gray: 
    “An aged knight am I;
  And they shall lay my corpse away
    Where it is good and dry.”

  And then Sir Guy began to sing—­
    He was a courtly knight: 
  “Feign would I have a birdie’s wing,
    And to my love take flight!”

  Then Count Garein, the noble, said: 
    “God, danger from us keep! 
  I’d rather drink the wine so red
    Than water in the deep.”

  Sir Lambert spake, a sprightly youth: 
    “May God behold our state! 
  I’d rather eat good fish, forsooth,
    Than be myself a bait.”

  Then quoth Sir Gottfried:  “Be it so,
    I heed not how I fare;
  Whatever I must undergo,
    My brothers all would share.”

  But at the helm King Charles sat by,
    And never said a word,
  And steered the ship with steadfast eye
    Till no more tempest stirred.

* * * * *

  FREE ART[28] (1812)

  Thou, whom song was given, sing
    In the German poets’ wood! 
  When all boughs with music ring—­
    Then is life and pleasure good.

  Nay, this art doth not belong
    To a small and haughty band;
  Scattered are the seeds of song
    All about the German land.

  Music set thy passions free
    From the heart’s confining cage;
  Let thy love like murmurs be,
    And like thunder-storm thy rage!

  Singest thou not all thy days,
    Joy of youth should make thee sing. 
  Nightingales pour forth their lays
    In the blooming months of spring!

  Though in books they hold not fast
    What the hour to thee imparts,
  Leaves unto the breezes cast,
    To be seized by youthful hearts!

  Fare thou well, thou secret lore: 
    Necromancy, Alchemy! 
  Formulas shall bind no more,
    And our art is poesy.

  Names we deem but empty air;
    Spirits we revere alone;
  Though we honor masters rare. 
    Art is free—­it is our own!

  Not in haunts of marble chill,
    Temples drear where ancients trod—­
  Nay, in oaks on woody hill,
    Lives and moves the German God.

* * * * *

  TAILLEFER[29] (1812)

  Duke William of the Normans spoke unto his servants all: 
  “Who is it sings so sweetly in the court and in the hall? 
  Who sings from early morn till the house is still at night
  So sweetly that he fills my heart with laughter and delight?”

  “’Tis Taillefer,” they answered him, “so joyously that sings
  Within the courtyard, as the wheel above the well he swings,
  And when the fire upon the hearth he stirs to burn more bright,
  And when he rises to his toil or lays him down at night.”

  Then spoke the Duke, “In him I trow I have a faithful knave—­
  This Taillefer that serves me here, so loyal and so brave;
  He turns the wheel and stirs the fire with willing, sturdy arm,
  And, best of all, with blithesome song he knows my heart to charm.”

Page 143

  Then out spake lusty Taillefer, “Ah, lord, if I were free,
  Far better would I serve thee then, and gladly sing to thee. 
  How on my stately charger would I serve thee in the field,
  How sing before thee cheerily, with clang of sword and shield!”

  The days went by, and Taillefer rode out as rides a knight
  Upon a prancing charger borne, a gay and gallant sight;
  And from the tower looked down on him Duke William’s sister fair,
  And softly murmured, “By my troth, a stately knight goes there!”

  When as he rode before the tower, and spied her harkening,
  Now sang he like a driving storm, now like a breeze of spring;
  She cried, “To hear that wondrous song is of all joys the best—­
  The very stones they tremble, and the heart within my breast.”

  And now the Duke has called his men and crossed the salt sea-foam;
  With gallant knights and vassals bold to England he has come. 
  And as he sprang from out the ship, he slipped upon the strand,
  And “By this token, thus,” he cried, “I seize a subject land!”

  And now on Hastings field arrayed, the host for fight prepare;
  Before the Duke reins up his horse the valiant Taillefer: 
  “If I have sung and blown the fire for many a weary year,
  And since for other years have borne the knightly shield and spear,

  “If I have sung and served thee well, and praises won from thee,
  First as a lowly knave and then a warrior, bold and free,
  Today I claim my guerdon just, that all the host may know—­
  To ride the foremost to the field, strike first against the foe!”

  So Taillefer rode on before the glittering Norman line
  Upon his stately steed, and waved a sword of temper fine;
  Above the embattled plain his song rang all the tumult o’er—­
  Of Roland’s knightly deeds he sang and many a hero more.

  And as the noble song of old with tempest-might swelled out,
  The banners waved and knights pressed on with war-cry and with shout;
  And every heart among the host throbbed prouder still and higher,
  And still through all sang Taillefer, and blew the battle-fire.

  Then forward, lance in rest, against the waiting foe he dashed,
  And at the shock an English knight from out the saddle crashed;
  Anon he swung his sword and struck a grim and grisly blow,
  And on the ground beneath his feet an English knight lay low.

  The Norman host his prowess saw, and followed him full fain;
  With joyful shouts and clang of shields the whole field rang again,
  And shrill and fast the arrows sped, and swords made merry play—­
  Until at last King Harold fell, his stubborn carles gave way.

  The Duke his banner planted high upon the bloody plain,
  And pitched his tent a conqueror amid the heaps of slain;
  Then with his captains sat at meat, the wine-cup in his hand,
  Upon his head the royal crown of all the English land.

Page 144

  “Come hither, valiant Taillefer, and drink a cup with me! 
  Full oft thy song has soothed my grief, made merrier my glee;
  But all my life I still shall hear the battle-shout that pealed
  Above the noise of clashing arms today on Hastings field!”

* * * * *

  SUABIAN LEGEND[30] (1814)

  When Emperor Redbeard with his band
  Came marching through the Holy Land,
  He had to lead, the way to seek,
  His noble force o’er mountains bleak. 
  Of bread there rose a painful need,
  Though stones were plentiful indeed,
  And many a German rider fine
  Forgot the taste of mead and wine. 
  The horses drooped from meagre fare,
  The rider had to hold his mare. 
  There was a knight from Suabian land
  Of noble build and mighty hand;
  His little horse was faint and ill,
  He dragged it by the bridle still;
  His steed he never would forsake,
  Though his own life should be at stake. 
  And so the horseman had to stay
  Behind the band a little way. 
  Then all at once, right in his course,
  Pranced fifty Turkish men on horse. 
  And straight a swarm of arrows flew;
  Their spears as well the riders threw. 
  Our Suabian brave felt no dismay,
  And calmly marched along his way. 
  His shield was stuck with arrows o’er,
  He sneered and looked about—­no more;
  Till one, whom all this pastime bored,
  Above him swung a crooked sword. 
  The German’s blood begins to boil,
  He aims the Turkish steed to foil,
  And off he knocks with hit so neat
  The Turkish charger’s two fore-feet. 
  And now that he has felled the horse,
  He grips his sword with double force
  And swings it on the rider’s crown
  And splits him to the saddle down;
  He hews the saddle into bits,
  And e’en the charger’s back he splits. 
  See, falling to the right and left,
  Half of a Turk that has been cleft! 
  The others shudder at the sight
  And hie away in frantic flight,
  And each one feels, with gruesome dread,
  That he is split through trunk and head. 
  A band of Christians, left behind,
  Came down the road, his work to find;
  And they admired, one by one,
  The deed our hero bold had done. 
  From these the Emperor heard it all,
  And bade his men the Suabian call,
  Then spake:  “Who taught thee, honored knight,
  With hits like those you dealt, to fight?”
  Our hero said, without delay
  “These hits are just the Suabian way. 
  Throughout the realm all men admit,
  The Suabians always make a hit.”

* * * * *

  THE BLIND KING[31] (1804, 1814)

  Why stands uncovered that northern host
    High on the seaboard there? 
  Why seeks the old blind king the coast,
    With his white, wild-fluttering hair? 
  He, leaning on his staff the while,
    His bitter grief outpours,
  Till across the bay the rocky isle
    Sounds from its caverned shores.

Page 145

  “From the dungeon-rock, thou robber, bring
    My daughter back again! 
  Her gentle voice, her harp’s sweet string
    Soothed an old father’s pain. 
  From the dance along the green shore
    Thou hast borne her o’er the wave;
  Eternal shame light on thy head;
    Mine trembles o’er the grave.”

  Forth from his cavern, at the word,
    The robber comes, all steeled,
  Swings in the air his giant sword,
    And strikes his sounding shield. 
  “A goodly guard attends thee there;
    Why suffered they the wrong? 
  Is there none will be her champion
    Of all that mighty throng?”

  Yet from that host there comes no sound;
    They stand unmoved as stone;
  The blind king seems to gaze around;
    Am I all, all alone?”
  “Not all alone!” His youthful son
    Grasps his right hand so warm—­
  “Grant me to meet this vaunting foe! 
    Heaven’s might inspires my arm.”

  “O son! it is a giant foe;
    There’s none will take thy part;
  Yet by this hand’s warm grasp, I know
    Thine is a manly heart. 
  Here, take the trusty battle-sword—­
    ’Twas the old minstrel’s prize;—­
  If thou art slain, far down the flood
    Thy poor old father dies!”

  And hark! a skiff glides swiftly o’er,
    With plashing, spooming sound;
  The king stands listening on the shore;
    ’Tis silent all around—­
  Till soon across the bay is borne
    The sound of shield and sword,
  And battle-cry, and clash, and clang,
    And crashing blows, are heard.

  With trembling joy then cried the king: 
    “Warrior! what mark you?  Tell! 
  ’Twas my good sword; I heard it ring;
    I know its tone right well.” 
  “The robber falls; a bloody meed
    His daring crime hath won;
  Hail to thee, first of heroes! hail! 
    Thou monarch’s worthy son!”

  Again ’tis silent all around;
    Listens the king once more;
  “I hear across the bay the sound
    As of a plashing oar.” 
  Yes, it is they!—­They come!—­They come—­
    Thy son, with spear and shield,
  And thy daughter fair, with golden hair,
    The sunny-bright Gunild.”

  “Welcome!” exclaims the blind old man,
    From the rock high o’er the wave;
  “Now my old age is blest again;
    Honored shall be my grave. 
  Thou, son, shalt lay the sword I wore
    Beside the blind old king. 
  And thou, Gunilda, free once more,
    My funeral song shalt sing.”

* * * * *

  THE MINSTREL’S CURSE[32] (1814)

  Once in olden times was standing
    A castle, high and grand,
  Broad glancing in the sunlight,
    Far over sea and land. 
  And round were fragrant gardens,
    A rich and blooming crown;
  And fountains, playing in them,
    In rainbow brilliance shone.

Page 146

  There a haughty king was seated,
    In lands and conquests great;
  Pale and awful was his countenance,
    As on his throne he sate;
  For what he thinks, is terror,
    And what he looks, is wrath,
  And what he speaks, is torture,
    And what he writes, is death. 
  And ’gainst a marble pillar
    He shiver’d it in twain;
  And thus his curse he shouted,
    Till the castle rang again: 

  “Woe, woe, thou haughty castle,
    With all thy gorgeous halls! 
  Sweet string or song be sounded
    No more within thy walls. 
  No, sighs alone, and wailing,
    And the coward steps of slaves! 
  Already round thy towers
    The avenging spirit raves!

  “Woe, woe, ye fragrant gardens,
    With all your fair May light! 
  Look on this ghastly countenance,
    And wither at the sight! 
  Let all your flowers perish! 
    Be all your fountains dry! 
  Henceforth a horrid wilderness,
    Deserted, wasted, lie!

  “Woe, woe, thou wretched murderer,
    Thou curse of minstrelsy! 
  Thy struggles for a bloody fame,
    All fruitless shall they be. 
  Thy name shall be forgotten,
    Lost in eternal death,
  Dissolving into empty air
    Like a dying man’s last breath!”

  The old man’s curse is utter’d,
    And Heaven above hath heard. 
  Those walls have fallen prostrate
    At the minstrel’s mighty word. 
  Of all that vanish’d splendor
    Stands but one column tall;
  And that, already shatter’d,
    Ere another night may fall.

  Around, instead of gardens,
    In a desert heathen land,
  No tree its shade dispenses,
    No fountains cool the sand. 
  The king’s name, it has vanish’d;
    His deeds no songs rehearse;
  Departed and forgotten—­
    This is the minstrel’s curse.

* * * * *

  THE LUCK OF EDENHALL[33] (1834)

  Of Edenhall the youthful lord
    Bids sound the festal trumpets’ call;
  He rises at the banquet board,
    And cries, ’mid the drunken revelers all,
  “Now bring me the Luck of Edenhall!”

  The butler hears the words with pain—­
    The house’s oldest seneschal—­
  Takes slow from its silken cloth again
    The drinking glass of crystal tall;
  They call it the Luck of Edenhall.

  Then said the lord, “This glass to praise,
    Fill with red wine from Portugal!”
  The graybeard with trembling hand obeys;
    A purple light shines over all;
  It beams from the Luck of Edenhall.

  Then speaks the lord, and waves it light—­
    “This glass of flashing crystal tall
  Gave to my sires the Fountain-Sprite;
    She wrote in it, ’If this glass doth fall,
  Farewell then, O Luck of Edenhall!’”

  “’Twas right a goblet the fate should be
    Of the joyous race of Edenhall! 
  We drink deep draughts right willingly;
    And willingly ring, with merry call,
  Kling! klang! to the Luck of Edenhall!”

Page 147

  First rings it deep, and full, and mild,
    Like to the song of a nightingale;
  Then like the roar of a torrent wild;
    Then mutters, at last, like the thunder’s fall,
  The glorious Luck of Edenhall.

  “For its keeper, takes a race of might
    The fragile goblet of crystal tall;
  It has lasted longer than is right;
    Kling! klang!—­with a harder blow than all
  We’ll try the Luck of Edenhall!”

  As the goblet, ringing, flies apart,
    Suddenly cracks the vaulted hall;
  And through the rift the flames upstart;
    The guests in dust are scattered all
  With the breaking Luck of Edenhall!

  In storms the foe with fire and sword! 
    He in the night had scaled the wall;
  Slain by the sword lies the youthful lord,
    But holds in his hand the crystal tall,
  The shattered Luck of Edenhall.

  On the morrow the butler gropes alone,
    The graybeard, in the desert hall;
  He seeks his lord’s burnt skeleton;
    He seeks in the dismal ruin’s fall
  The shards of the Luck of Edenhall.

  “The stone wall,” saith he, “doth fall aside;
    Down must the stately columns fall;
  Glass is this earth’s Luck and Pride;
    In atoms shall fall this earthly hall,
  One day, like the Luck of Edenhall!”

* * * * *

  ON THE DEATH OF A CHILD[34] (1859)

  You came, you went, as angels go,
    A fleeting guest within our land. 
  Whence and where to?—­We only know: 
    Forth from God’s hand into God’s hand.

JOSEPH VON EICHENDORFF

* * * * *

  THE BROKEN RING[35] (1810)

  Down in yon cool valley
    I hear a mill-wheel go: 
  Alas! my love has left me,
    Who once dwelt there below.

  A ring of gold she gave me,
    And vowed she would be true;
  The vow long since was broken,
    The gold ring snapped in two.

  I would I were a minstrel,
    To rove the wide world o’er,
  And sing afar my measures,
    And rove from door to door;

  Or else a soldier, flying
    Deep into furious fight,
  By silent camp-fires lying
    A-field in gloomy night.

  Hear I the mill-wheel going: 
    I know not what I will;
  ’Twere best if I were dying—­
    Then all were calm and still.

[Illustration:  JOSEPH VON EICHENDORFF]

* * * * *

  MORNING PRAYER[36] (1833)

  O silence, wondrous and profound! 
    O’er earth doth solitude still reign;
  The woods alone incline their heads,
    As if the Lord walked o’er the plain.

  I feel new life within me glow;
    Where now is my distress and care? 
  Here in the blush of waking morn,
    I blush at yesterday’s despair.

Page 148

  To me, a pilgrim, shall the world,
    With all its joy and sorrows, be
  But as a bridge that leads, O Lord,
    Across the stream of time to Thee.

  And should my song woo worldly gifts,
    The base rewards of vanity—­
  Dash down my lyre!  I’ll hold my peace
    Before thee to eternity.

FROM THE LIFE OF A GOOD-FOR-NOTHING (1826)

BY JOSEPH VON EICHENDORFF TRANSLATED BY MRS. A.L.W.  WISTER

CHAPTER I

The wheel of my father’s mill was once more turning and whirring merrily, the melting snow trickled steadily from the roof, the sparrows chirped and hopped about, as I, taking great delight in the warm sunshine, sat on the door-step and rubbed my eyes to rid them of sleep.  Then my father made his appearance; he had been busy in the mill since daybreak, and his nightcap was all awry as he said to me—­

You Good-for-nothing!  There you sit sunning yourself, and stretching yourself till your bones crack, leaving me to do all the work alone.  I can keep you here no longer.  Spring is at hand.  Off with you into the world and earn your own bread!”

“Well,” said I, “all right; if I am a Good-for-nothing, I will go forth into the world and make my fortune.”  In fact, I was very glad to have my father speak thus, for I myself had been thinking of starting on my travels; the yellow-hammer, which all through the autumn and winter had been chirping sadly at our window, “Farmer, hire me; farmer, hire me,” was, now that the lovely spring weather had set in, once more piping cheerily from the old tree, “Farmer, nobody wants your work.”  So I went into the house and took down from the wall my fiddle, on which I could play quite skilfully; my father gave me a few pieces of money to set me on my way; and I sauntered off along the village street.  I was filled with secret joy as I saw all my old acquaintances and comrades right and left going to their work digging and ploughing, just as they had done yesterday and the day before, and so on, whilst I was roaming out into the wide world.  I called out “Good-by!” to the poor people on all sides, but no one took much notice of me.  A perpetual Sabbath seemed to reign in my soul, and when I got out among the fields I took out my dear fiddle and played and sang, as I walked along the country road—­

  “The favored ones, the loved of Heaven,
    God sends to roam the world at will;
  His wonders to their gaze are given
    By field and forest, stream and hill.

  “The dullards who at home are staying
    Are not refreshed by morning’s ray;
  They grovel, earth-born calls obeying,
    And petty cares beset their day.

  “The little brooks o’er rocks are springing,
    The lark’s gay carol fills the air;
  Why should not I with them be singing
    A joyous anthem free from care?

Page 149

  “I wander on, in God confiding,
    For all are His, wood, field, and fell;
  O’er earth and skies He, still presiding,
    For me will order all things well.”

As I was looking around, a fine traveling-carriage drove along very near me; it had probably been just behind me for some time without my perceiving it, so filled with melody had I been, for it was going quite slowly, and two elegant ladies had their heads out of the window, listening.  One was especially beautiful, and younger than the other, but both pleased me extremely.  When I stopped singing the elder ordered the coachman to stop his horses, and accosted me with great condescension:  “Aha, my merry lad, you know how to sing very pretty songs!” I, nothing loath, replied, “Please Your Grace, I know some far prettier.”  “And where are you going so early in the morning?” she asked.  I was ashamed to confess that I did not myself know, and so I said, boldly, “To Vienna.”  The two ladies then talked together in a strange tongue which I did not understand.  The younger shook her head several times, but the other only laughed, and finally called to me, “Jump up behind; we too are going to Vienna.”  Who more ready than I!  I made my best bow, and sprang up behind the carriage, the coachman cracked his whip, and away we bowled along the smooth road so swiftly that the wind whistled in my ears.

Behind me vanished my native village with its gardens and church-tower, before me appeared fresh villages, castles, and mountains, beneath me on either side the meadows in the tender green of spring flew past, and above me countless larks were soaring in the blue air.  I was ashamed to shout aloud, but I exulted inwardly, and shuffled about so on the foot-board behind the carriage that I well-nigh lost my fiddle from under my arm.  But when the sun rose higher in the sky, while heavy, white, noonday clouds gathered on the horizon, and the air hung sultry and still above the gently-waving grain, I could not but remember my village and my father, and our mill, and how cool and comfortable it was beside the shady mill-pool, and how far, far away from me it all was.  And the most curious sensation overcame me; I felt as if I must turn and run back; but I stuck my fiddle between my coat and my vest, settled myself on the foot-board, and went to sleep.

When I opened my eyes again, the carriage was standing beneath tall linden-trees, on the other side of which a broad flight of steps led between columns into a magnificent castle.  Through the trees beyond I saw the towers of Vienna.  The ladies, it appeared, had left the carriage, and the horses had been unharnessed.  I was startled to find myself alone, and I hurried into the castle.  As I did so I heard some one at a window above laughing.

Page 150

An odd time I had in this castle.  First, as soon as I found myself in the cool, spacious vestibule, some one tapped me on the shoulder with a stick.  I turned quickly about, and there stood a tall gentleman in state apparel, with a broad bandolier of silk and gold crossing his breast from his shoulder to his hip, a staff in his hand, gilded at the top, and an extraordinarily large Roman nose; he strutted up to me, swelling like a ruled-up turkey-cock, and asked me what I wanted there.  I was taken entirely aback, and in my confusion was unable to utter a word.  Several servants passed, going up and down the staircase; they said nothing, but eyed me superciliously.  Then a lady’s-maid appeared; she came up to me, declared that I was a charming young fellow, and that her mistress had sent to ask me if I did not want a place as gardener’s boy.  I put my hand in my pocket—­the few coins I had possessed were gone.  They must have been jerked out by my shuffling on the foot-board behind the carriage.  I had nothing to depend upon save my skill with the fiddle, for which the gentleman with the staff, as he informed me in passing, would not give a farthing.  Therefore, in my distress, I said “yes” to the maid, keeping my eyes fixed the while upon the portentous figure pacing the hall to and fro like the pendulum of a clock in a church-tower, appearing from the background with imposing majesty and with unfailing regularity.  At last a gardener came, muttering something about boors and vagabonds, and led me off to the garden, preaching me a long sermon on the way about my being diligent and industrious and never loitering about the world any more, and how, if I would give up all my idle and foolish ways, I might come to some good in the end.  There was a great deal of exhortation in this strain, very good and useful, but I have since forgotten it nearly all.  In fact, I really hardly know how it all came about; I went on saying “yes” to everything, and I felt like a bird with its wings clipped.  But, thank God, in the end I was earning my living!

I found life delightful in that garden.  I had a hot dinner every day and plenty of it, and more money than I needed for my glass of wine, only, unfortunately, I had quite a deal to do.  The pavilions, and arbors, and long green walks delighted me, if I could only have sauntered about and talked pleasantly like the gentlemen and ladies who came there every day.  Whenever the gardener was away and I was alone, I took out my short tobacco-pipe, sat down, and thought of all the beautiful, polite things with which I could have entertained that lovely young lady who had brought me to the castle, had I been a cavalier walking beside her.  Or on sultry afternoons I lay on my back on the grass, when all was so quiet that you could hear the bees humming, and I gazed up at the clouds sailing away toward my native village, and around me at the waving grass and flowers, and thought of the lovely lady; and it sometimes chanced that I really saw her in the distance walking in the garden, with her guitar or a book, tall and beautiful as an angel, and I was only half conscious whether I were awake or dreaming.

Page 151

Thus, once as I was passing a summer-house on my way to work, I was singing to myself—­

  “I gaze around me, going
    By forest, dale, and lea,
  O’er heights where streams are flowing,
  My every thought bestowing,
    Ah, Lady fair, on thee!”—­

when, through the half-opened lattice of the cool, dark summer-house buried amid flowers, I saw the sparkle of a pair of beautiful, youthful eyes.  I was so startled that I could not finish my song, but passed on to my work without looking round.

In the evening—­it was Saturday, and, in joyous anticipation of the coming Sunday, I was standing, fiddle in hand, at the window of the gardener’s house, still thinking of the sparkling eyes—­the lady’s-maid came tripping through the twilight—­“The gracious Lady fair sends you this to drink her health, and a ‘Good-Night’ besides!” And in a twinkling she put a flask of wine on the window-sill and vanished among the flowers and shrubs like a lizard.

I stood looking at the wonderful flask for a long time, not knowing what to think.  And if before I played the fiddle merrily, I now played it ten times more so, and I sang the song of the Lady fair all through, and all the other songs that I knew, until the nightingales wakened outside and the moon and stars lit up the garden.  Ah, that was a lovely night!

No cradle-song tells the child’s future; a blind hen finds many a grain of wheat; he laughs best who laughs last; the unexpected often happens; man proposes, God disposes:  thus did I meditate the next day, sitting in the garden with my pipe, and as I looked down at myself I seemed to myself to be a downright dunce.  Contrary to all my habits hitherto, I now rose betimes every day, before the gardener and the other assistants were stirring.  It was most beautiful then in the garden.  The flowers, the fountains, the rose-bushes, the whole place, glittered in the morning sunshine like pure gold and jewels.  And in the avenues of huge beeches it was as quiet, cool, and solemn as a church, only the little birds fluttered around and pecked in the gravel paths.  In front of the castle, just under the windows, there was a large bush in full bloom.  Thither I used to go in the early morning, and crouch down beneath the branches where I could watch the windows, for I had not the courage to appear in the open.  Thence I sometimes saw the Lady fair in a snow-white robe come, still drowsy and warm, to the open window.  She would stand there braiding her dark-brown hair, gazing abroad over the garden and shrubbery, or she would tend and water the flowers upon her window-sill, or would rest her guitar upon her white arm and sing out into the clear air so wondrously that to this day my heart faints with sadness when one of her songs recurs to me.  And ah, it was all so long ago!

So my life passed for a week and more.  But once—­she was standing at the window and all was quiet around—­a confounded fly flew directly up my nose, and I was seized with an interminable fit of sneezing.  She leaned far out of the window and discovered me cowering in the shrubbery.  I was overcome with mortification and did not go there again for many a day.

Page 152

At last I ventured to return to my post, but the window remained closed.  I hid in the bushes for four, five, six mornings, but she did not appear.  Then I grew tired of my hiding-place and came out boldly, and every morning promenaded bravely beneath all the windows of the castle.  But the lovely Lady fair was not to be seen.  At a window a little farther on I saw the other lady standing; I had never before seen her so distinctly.  She had a fine rosy face, and was plump, and as gorgeously attired as a tulip.  I always made her a low bow, and she acknowledged it, and her eyes twinkled very kindly and courteously.  Once only, I thought I saw the Lady fair standing behind the curtain at her window, peeping out.

Many days passed and I did not see her, either in the garden or at the window.  The gardener scolded me for laziness; I was out of humor, tired of myself and of all about me.

I was lying on the grass one Sunday afternoon, watching the blue wreaths of smoke from my pipe, and fretting because I had not chosen some other trade which would not have bored me so day after day.  The other fellows had all gone off to the dance in the neighboring village.  Every one was strolling about in Sunday attire, the houses were gay, and there was melody in the very air.  But I walked off and sat solitary, like a bittern among the reeds, by a lonely pond in the garden, rocking myself in a little skiff tied there, while the vesper bells sounded faintly from the town and the swans glided to and fro on the placid water.  A sadness as of death possessed me.

On a sudden I heard, in the distance, voices talking gaily, and bursts of merry laughter.  They sounded nearer and nearer, and red and white kerchiefs and hats and feathers were visible through the shrubbery.  A party of gentlemen and ladies were coming from the castle, across the meadow, directly toward me, and my two ladies among them.  I stood up and was about to retire, when the elder perceived me.  “Aha, you are just what we want!” she called to me, smiling.  “Row us across the pond to the other side.”  The ladies cautiously took their seats in the boat, assisted by the gentlemen, who made quite a parade of their familiarity with the water.  When all the ladies were seated, I pushed off from the shore.  One of the young gentlemen who stood in the prow began, unperceived, to rock the boat.  The ladies looked frightened, and one or two screamed.  The Lady fair, who had a lily in her hand, and was sitting well in the centre of the skiff, looked down with a quiet smile into the clear water, touching the surface of the pond now and then with a lily, her image, amid the reflections of the clouds and trees, appearing like an angel soaring gently through the deep blue skies.

Page 153

As I was gazing at her, the other of my two ladies, the plump, merry one, suddenly took it into her head that I must sing as we glided along.  A very elegant young gentleman with an eye-glass, who sat beside her, instantly turned to her, and, as he kissed her hand, said, “Thanks for the poetic idea!  A folk-song sung by one of the people in the open air is an Alpine rose, upon the very Alps—­the Alpine horns are nothing but herbaria—­the soul of the national consciousness.”  But I said I did not know anything fine enough to sing to such great people.  Then the pert lady’s-maid, who was beside me with a basket of cups and bottles, and whom I had not perceived before, said, “He knows a very pretty little song about a lady fair.”  “Yes, yes, sing that one!” the lady exclaimed.  I felt hot all over, and the Lady fair lifted her eyes from the water and gave me a look that went to my very soul.  So I did not hesitate any longer, but took heart and sang with all my might might—­

  “I gaze around me, going
    By forest, dale, and lea,
  O’er heights where streams are flowing,
  My every thought bestowing,
    Ah, Lady fair, on thee!

  “And in my garden, finding
    Bright flowers fresh and rare,
  While many a wreath I’m binding,
  Sweet thoughts therein I’m winding
    Of thee, my Lady fair.

  “For me ’twould be too daring
    To lay them at her feet. 
  They’ll soon away be wearing,
  But love beyond comparing
    Is thine, my Lady sweet.

  “In early morning waking,
    I toil with ready smile,
  And though my heart be breaking,
  I’ll sing to hide its aching,
    And dig my grave the while.”

The boat touched the shore, and all the party got out; many of the young gentlemen, as I had perceived, had made game of me in whispers to the ladies while I was singing.  The gentleman with the eye-glass took my hand as he left the boat, and said something to me, I do not remember what, and the elder of my two ladies gave me a kindly glance.  The Lady fair had never raised her eyes all the time I was singing, and she went away without a word.  As for me, before my song was ended the tears stood in my eyes; my heart seemed like to burst with shame and misery.  I understood now for the first time how beautiful she was, and how poor and despised and forsaken I, and when they had all disappeared behind the bushes I could contain myself no longer, but threw myself down on the grass and wept bitterly.

CHAPTER II

The highroad was close on one side of the castle garden, and separated from it only by a high wall.  A very pretty little toll-house with a red-tiled roof stood near, with a gay little flower-garden inclosed by a picket-fence behind it.  A breach in the wall connected this garden with the most secluded and shady part of the castle garden itself.  The toll-gate keeper who occupied the cottage died suddenly,

Page 154

and early one morning, when I was still sound asleep, the Secretary from the castle waked me in a great hurry and bade me come immediately to the Bailiff.  I dressed myself as quickly as I could and followed the brisk Secretary, who, as we went, plucked a flower here and there and stuck it into his button-hole, made scientific lunges in the air with his cane, and talked steadily to me all the while, although my eyes and ears were so filled with sleep that I could not understand anything he said.  When we reached the office, where as yet it was hardly light, the Bailiff, behind a huge inkstand and piles of books and papers, looked at me from out of his huge wig like an owl from out its nest, and began:  “What’s your name?  Where do you come from?  Can you read, write, and cipher?” And when I assented, he went on, “Well, her Grace, in consideration of your good manners and extraordinary merit, appoints you to the vacant post of Receiver of Toll.”  I hurriedly passed in mental review the conduct and manners that had hitherto distinguished me, and was forced to admit that the Bailiff was right.  And so, before I knew it, I was Receiver of Toll.  I took possession of my dwelling, and was soon comfortably established there.  The deceased toll-gate keeper had left behind him for his successor various articles, which I appropriated, among others a magnificent scarlet dressing-gown dotted with yellow, a pair of green slippers, a tasseled nightcap, and several long-stemmed pipes.  I had often wished for these things at home, where I used to see our village pastor thus comfortably provided.  All day long, therefore—­I had nothing else to do—­I sat on the bench before my house in dressing-gown and nightcap, smoking the longest pipe from the late toll-gate keeper’s collection, and looking at the people walking, driving, and riding on the high-road.  I only wished that some of the folks from our village, who had always said that I never would be worth anything, might happen to pass by and see me thus.  The dressing-gown became my complexion, and suited me extremely well.  So I sat there and pondered many things—­the difficulty of all beginnings, the great advantages of an easier mode of existence, for example—­and privately resolved to give up travel for the future, save money like other people, and in time do something really great in the world.  Meanwhile, with all my resolves, anxieties, and occupations, I in no wise forgot the Lady fair.

I dug up and threw out of my little garden all the potatoes and other vegetables that I found there, and planted it instead with the choicest flowers, which proceeding caused the Porter from the castle with the big Roman nose—­who since I had been made Receiver often came to see me, and had become my intimate friend—­to eye me askance as a person crazed by sudden good fortune.  But that did not deter me.  For from my little garden I could often hear feminine voices not far off in the castle garden, and among them I thought I could distinguish the voice of my Lady fair, although, because of the thick shrubbery, I could see nobody.  And so every day I plucked a nosegay of my finest flowers, and when it was dark in the evening, I climbed over the wall and laid it upon a marble table in an arbor near by, and every time that I brought a fresh nosegay the old one was gone from the table.

Page 155

One evening all the castle inmates were away hunting; the sun was just setting, flooding the landscape with flame and color, the Danube wound toward the horizon like a band of gold and fire, and the vine-dressers on all the hills throughout the country were glad and gay.  I was sitting with the Porter on the bench before my cottage, enjoying the mild air and the gradual fading to twilight of the brilliant day.  Suddenly the horns of the returning hunting-party sounded on the air; the notes were tossed from hill to hill by the echoes.  My soul delighted in it all, and I sprang up and exclaimed, in an intoxication of joy, “That is what I ought to follow in life, the huntsman’s noble calling!” But the Porter quietly knocked the ashes out of his pipe and said, “You only think so; I’ve tried it.  You hardly earn the shoes you wear out, and you’re never without a cough or a cold from perpetually getting your feet wet.”  I cannot tell how it was, but upon hearing him speak thus, I was seized with such a fit of foolish rage that I fairly trembled.  On a sudden the entire fellow, with his bedizened coat, his big feet, his snuff, his big nose, and everything about him, became odious to me.  Quite beside myself, I seized him by the breast of his coat and said, “Home with you, Porter, on the instant, or I’ll send you there in a way you won’t like!” At these words the Porter was more than ever convinced that I was crazy.  He gazed at me with evident fear, extricated himself from my grasp, and went without a word, looking reproachfully back at me, and striding toward the castle, where he reported me as stark, staring mad.

But after all I burst into a hearty laugh, glad in fact to be rid of the pompous fellow, for it was just the hour when I was wont to carry my nosegay to the arbor.  I clambered over the wall, and was just about to place the flowers on the marble table, when I heard the sound of a horse’s hoofs at some distance.  There was no time for escape; my Lady fair was riding slowly along the avenue in a green hunting-habit, apparently lost in thought.  All that I had read in an old book of my father’s about the beautiful Magelona came into my head—­how she used to appear among the tall forest-trees, when horns were echoing and evening shadows were flitting through the glades.  I could not stir from the spot.  She started when she perceived me and paused involuntarily.  I was as if intoxicated with intense joy, dread, and the throbbing of my heart, and when I saw that she actually wore at her breast the flowers I had left yesterday, I could no longer keep silent, but said in a rapture, “Fairest Lady fair, accept these flowers too, and all the flowers in my garden, and everything I have!  Ah, if I could only brave some danger for you!” At first she had looked at me so gravely, almost angrily, that I shivered, but then she cast down her eyes, and did not lift them while I was speaking.  At that moment voices and the tramp of horses were heard in the distance.  She snatched the flowers from my hand, and without saying a word, swiftly vanished at the end of the avenue.

Page 156

After this evening I had neither rest nor peace.  I felt continually, as I had always felt when spring was at hand, restless and merry, and as if some great good fortune or something extraordinary were about to befall me.  My wretched accounts in especial never would come right, and when the sunshine, playing among the chestnut boughs before my window, cast golden-green gleams upon my figures, illuminating “Bro’t over” and “Total,” my addition grew sometimes so confused that I actually could not count three.  The figure “eight” always looked to me like my stout, tightly-laced lady with the gay head-dress, and the provoking “seven” like a finger-post pointing the wrong way, or a gallows.  The “nine” was the queerest, suddenly, before I knew what it was about, standing on its head to look like “six,” whilst “two” would turn into a pert interrogation-point, as if to ask me, “What in the world is to become of you, you poor zero?  Without the others, the slender ‘one’ and all the rest, you never can come to anything!”

I had no longer any ease in sitting before my door.  I took out a stool to make myself more comfortable, and put my feet upon it; I patched up an old parasol, and held it over me like a Chinese pleasure-dome.  But all would not do.  As I sat smoking and speculating, my legs seemed to stretch to twice their size from weariness, and my nose lengthened visibly as I looked down at it for hours.  And when sometimes, before daybreak, an express drove up, and I went out, half asleep, into the cool air, and a pretty face, but dimly seen in the dawning except for its sparkling eyes, looked out at me from the coach window and kindly bade me good-morning, while from the villages around the cock’s clear crow echoed across the fields of gently-waving grain, and an early lark, high in the skies among the flushes of morning, soared here and there, and the Postilion wound his horn and blew, and blew—­as the coach drove off, I would stand looking after it, feeling as if I could not but start off with it on the instant into the wide, wide world.

I still took my flowers every day, when the sun had set, to the marble table in the dim arbor.  But since that evening all had been over.  Not a soul took any notice of them, and when I went to look after them early the next morning, there they lay as I had left them, gazing sadly at me with their heads hanging, and the dew-drops glistening upon their fading petals as if they were weeping.  This distressed me, and I plucked no more flowers.  I let the weeds grow in my garden as they pleased, and the flowers stayed on their stalks until the wind blew them away.  Within me there were the same desolation and neglect.

Page 157

In this critical state of affairs it happened once that, as I was leaning out of my window gazing dully into vacancy, the lady’s-maid from the castle came tripping across the road.  When she saw me she came and stood just outside the window.  “His Grace returned from his travels yesterday,” she remarked, hurriedly.  “Indeed!” I said, surprised, for I had taken no interest in anything for several weeks, and did not even know that his Grace had been traveling.  “Then his lovely daughter will be very glad.”  The maid looked at me with a strange expression of face, so that I began to wonder whether I had said anything especially stupid.  “He knows absolutely nothing!” she said at last, turning up her little nose.  “Well,” she resumed, “there is to be a ball and masquerade this evening at the castle in honor of his Grace.  My lady is to be dressed as a flower-girl—­understand, as a flower-girl.  And she has noticed that you have particularly pretty flowers in your garden.”  “That’s strange,” I thought to myself; “there is hardly a flower to be seen there for the weeds!” But she continued:  “And since my lady needs perfectly fresh flowers for her costume, you are to bring her some this evening, and wait under the big pear-tree in the castle garden when it is dark until she comes for the flowers herself.”

I was completely dazed with joy at this intelligence, and in my rapture I leaped out of the window and ran after the maid.

“Ugh, what an ugly dressing-gown!” she exclaimed, when she saw me with my fluttering robe in the open air.  This vexed me, but, not to be behindhand in gallantry, I capered gaily after her to give her a kiss.  Unluckily, my feet became entangled in my dressing-gown, which was much too long for me, and I fell flat on the ground.  When I had picked myself up the maid was gone, and I heard her in the distance laughing fit to kill herself.

Now I had delightful food for my reflections.  After all, she still remembered me and my flowers!  I went into my garden and hastily tore up all the weeds from the beds, throwing them high above my head into the sunlit air, as if with the roots I were eradicating all melancholy and annoyance from my life.  Once more the roses were like her lips, the sky-blue convolvulus was like her eyes, the snowy lily with its pensive, drooping head was her very image.  I put them all tenderly in a little basket; the evening was calm and lovely, not a speck of a cloud in the sky.  Here and there a star appeared; the murmur of the Danube was heard afar over the meadows; in the tall trees of the castle garden countless birds were twittering to one another merrily.  Ah, I was so happy!

When at last night came I took my basket on my arm and set out for the large garden.  The flowers in the little basket looked so gay, white, red, blue, and smelled so sweet, that my very heart laughed when I peeped in at them.

Filled with joyous thoughts, I walked in the lovely moonlight over the trim paths strewn with gravel, across the little white bridge, beneath which the swans were sleeping on the bosom of the water, and past the pretty arbors and summer-houses.  I soon found the big pear-tree; it was the same under which, while I was gardener’s boy, I used to lie on sultry afternoons.

Page 158

All around me here was dark and lonely.  A tall aspen quivered and kept whispering with its silver leaves.  The music from the castle was heard at intervals, and now and then there were voices in the garden; sometimes they passed quite near me, and then all would be still again.

My heart beat fast.  I had a strange uncomfortable sensation as if I were a robber.  I stood for a long time stock-still, leaning against the tree and listening; but when no one appeared I could bear it no longer.  I hung my basket on my arm and clambered up into the pear-tree to breathe a purer air.

The music of the dance floated up to me over the tree-tops.  I overlooked the entire garden and gazed directly into the brilliantly illuminated windows of the castle.  Chandeliers glittered there like galaxies of stars; a multitude of gaily-dressed gentlemen and ladies wandered and waltzed and whirled about unrecognizable, like the gay figures of a magic-lantern; at times some of them leaned out of the windows and looked down into the garden.  In front of the castle the brilliant light gilded the grass, the shrubbery, and the trees, so that the flowers and the birds seemed to be aroused by it.  All around and below me, however, the garden lay black and still.

She is dancing there now,” I thought to myself up in the tree,” and has long since forgotten you and your flowers.  All are gay; not a human being cares for you in the least.  And thus it is with me, always and everywhere.  Every one has his little nook marked out for him on this earth, his warm hearth, his cup of coffee, his wife, his glass of wine in the evening, and is perfectly happy; even the Porter with his big nose is content.  For me there is no place, I seem to be just too late everywhere; the world has not a bit of need of me.”

As I was philosophizing thus, I suddenly heard something rustle on the grass below me.  Two soft voices were speaking together in a low tone.  In a moment the foliage of the shrubbery was parted, and the lady’s-maid’s little face appeared among the leaves, peering about on all sides.  The moonlight sparkled in her saucy eyes as they peeped out.  I held my breath and stared down at her.  Before long the flower-girl did actually appear among the trees, just as the maid had described her to me yesterday.  My heart throbbed as if it would burst.  She had on a mask, and seemed to be gazing around in surprise.  Somehow she did not look to me as slender and graceful as she had been.  At last she reached the tree, and took off her mask.  It was the other—­the elder lady!

How glad I was, when I had recovered from the first shock, that I was up here in safety!  How in the world did she chance to come here?  If the dear, lovely Lady fair should happen to come at this instant for her flowers, there would be a fine to-do!  I could have cried for vexation at the whole affair.

Meanwhile the disguised flower-girl beneath me began:  “It is so stifling hot in the ball-room, I had to come out to cool myself in this lovely open air.”  Thereupon she fanned herself with her mask and puffed and blew.  In the bright moonlight I could plainly see how swollen were the cords of her neck; she looked very angry and quite scarlet in the face.  The lady’s maid was all the while searching behind every bush, as if she were looking for a lost pin.

Page 159

“I do so need more fresh flowers for my character,” the flower-girl continued.  “Where can he be?” The maid went on searching, and kept chuckling to herself.  “What did you say, Rosetta?” the flower-girl asked, shrewishly.  “I say what I always have said,” the maid replied, putting on a very serious, honest face; “the Receiver is a lazy fellow; of course he is lying behind some bush sound asleep.”

My blood tingled with longing to jump down and defend my reputation, when on a sudden a burst of music and loud shouts were heard from the castle.

The flower-girl could stay no longer.  “The people are cheering his Grace,” she said passionately.  “Come, we shall be missed!” And she clapped on her mask in a hurry, and ran in a rage with the maid toward the castle.  The trees and bushes seemed to point after her with long, derisive fingers, the moonlight danced nimbly up and down over her stout figure as though over the key-board of a piano, and thus to the sound of trumpets and kettle-drums she made her exit, like many a singer whom I have seen upon the stage.

I, seated above in my tree, was downright bewildered, and gazed fixedly at the castle; a circle of tall torches upon the steps of the entrance cast a strange glare upon the glittering windows and deep into the garden; the assembled servants were to serenade their master.  In the midst of them stood the gorgeous Porter, like a minister of state, before a music-stand, working away busily at a bassoon.

Just as I had settled myself to listen to the beautiful serenade, the folding-doors leading to the balcony above the entrance parted.  A tall gentleman, very handsome and dignified, in uniform and glittering with orders, stepped out on the balcony, leading by the hand the lovely young Lady fair, dressed in white like a lily in the night, or like the moon in the clear skies.

I could not take my eyes from her, and garden, trees, and fields disappeared before me, as she stood there tall and slender, so wondrously illuminated by the torch-light, now speaking with such grace to the young officer, and now nodding down kindly to the musicians.  The people below were beside themselves with delight, and at last I too could restrain myself no longer, and joined in the cheers with all my might.

But when, soon after, she disappeared from the balcony, one after another the torches below were extinguished and the music-stands cleared away, and the garden around was once more dark, and the trees rustled as before—­then it all became clear to me; I saw that it was really only the aunt who had ordered the flowers of me, that the Lady fair never thought of me and had been married long ago, and that I myself was a big fool.

All this plunged me into an abyss of reflection.  I rolled myself round like a hedgehog on the prickles of my own thoughts.  Snatches of music still reached me now and then from the ball-room—­the clouds floated lonely away above the dim garden.  And there I sat, all through the night, up in the tree, like a night-owl, amid the ruins of my happiness.

Page 160

The cool breeze of morning aroused me at last from my dreamings.  I was startled as I looked about me.  The music and dancing had long since ceased, and everything around the castle and on the lawn, and the marble steps and columns, all looked quiet, cool, and solemn; the fountain alone plashed on before the entrance.  Here and there in the boughs near me the birds were awaking, shaking their bright feathers, and as they stretched their little wings, peering curiously and amazed at their strange fellow-sleeper.  The joyous rays of morning flashed across my breast and over the garden.

I stood erect in my tree, and for the first time for a long while looked far abroad over the country, to where the ships glided down the Danube among the vineyards, and the high-roads, still deserted, stretched like bridges across the gleaming landscape and far over the distant hills and valleys.

I cannot tell how it was, but all at once my former love of travel took possession of me, all the old melancholy, and delight, and ardent expectation.  And at the same moment I thought of the Lady fair over in the castle sleeping among flowers, beneath silken coverlets, with an angel surely keeping watch beside her bed in the silence of the dawn.  “No!” I cried aloud.  “I must go away from here, far, far away—­as far as the sky stretches its blue arch!”

As I uttered the words I tossed my basket high into the air, so that it was beautiful to see how the flowers fell among the branches and lay in gay colors on the green sod below.  Then I got down as quickly as possible, and went through the quiet garden to my dwelling.  I paused many times at spots where I had seen her pass, or where I had lain in the shade and thought of her.

In and about my cottage all was just as I had left it the day before.  The garden was torn up and laid waste, the big account-book lay open on the table in my room, my fiddle, which I had almost clean forgotten, hung dusty on the wall; a ray of morning light glittered upon the strings.  It struck a chord in my heart.  “Yes,” I said, “come here, thou faithful instrument!  Our kingdom is not of this world!”

So I took the fiddle from the wall, and leaving behind me the account-book, dressing-gown, slippers, pipes, and parasol, I walked out of my cottage, as poor as when I entered it, and down along the gleaming high-road.

I looked back often and often; I felt very strange, sad, and yet merry, like a bird escaping from his cage.  And when I had walked some distance I took out my fiddle and sang—­

  “I wander on, in God confiding,
    For all are His, wood, field, and fell;
  O’er earth and skies He still presiding,
    For me will order all things well.”

The castle, the garden, and the spires of Vienna vanished behind me in the morning mists; far above me countless larks exulted in the air; thus, past gay villages and hamlets and over green hills, I wandered on toward Italy.

Page 161

CHAPTER III

Here was a puzzle!  It had never occurred to me that I did not know my way.  Not a human being was to be seen in the quiet early morning whom I could question, and right before me the road divided into many roads, which went on far, far over the highest mountains, as though to the very end of the world—­so that I actually grew giddy as I looked along them.

At last a peasant appeared, going to church I fancy, as it was Sunday, in an old-fashioned coat with large silver buttons, and swinging a long malacca cane with a massive silver head, which sparkled from afar in the sunlight.  I immediately asked him very politely, “Can you tell me which is the road to Italy?” The fellow stood still, stared at me, thrust out his under lip reflectively, and stared at me again.  I began once more:  “To Italy, where oranges grow.”  “What do I care for your oranges!” said the peasant, and walked on sturdily.  I should have credited the fellow with more politeness, for he really looked very fine.

What was to be done?  Turn round and go back to my native village?  Why, the folks would have jeered me, and the boys would have run after me crying, “Oh, indeed! you’re welcome back from ‘out in the world.’  How does it look ‘out in the world?’ Haven’t you brought us some ginger-nuts from ‘out in the world?’” The Porter with the High Roman nose, who certainly was familiar with Universal History, used often to say to me, “Respected Herr Receiver, Italy is a beautiful country; the dear God takes care of every one there.  You can lie on your back in the sunshine and raisins drop into your mouth; and if a tarantula bites you, you dance with the greatest ease, although you never in your life before learned to dance.”  “Ay, to Italy! to Italy!” I shouted with delight, and, heedless of any choice of roads, hurried on along the first that came.

After I had gone a little way I saw on the right a most beautiful orchard, with the morning sun shimmering on the trunks and through the tree-tops so brilliantly that it looked as if the ground were spread with golden rugs.  As no one was in sight, I clambered over the low fence and lay down comfortably on the grass under an apple-tree; all my limbs were still aching from camping out in the tree on the previous night.  From where I lay I could see far abroad over the country, and as it was Sunday the sound of the church-bells from the far distance came to me over the quiet fields, and gaily-dressed peasants were walking across the meadows and along the lanes to church.  I was glad at heart; the birds sang in the tree overhead; I thought of my father’s mill, and of the garden of the lovely Lady fair, and of how far, far away it all was—­until I fell sound asleep.  I dreamed that the Lady fair came walking, or rather slowly flying, toward me from the lovely landscape to the music of the church-bells, in long white robes that waved in the rosy morning.  Then again it

Page 162

seemed that we were not in a strange country, but in my native village, in the deep shade beside the mill.  But everything was still and deserted, as it is when the people are all gone to church and only the solemn sounds of the organ wafted down through the trees break the stillness; I was oppressed with melancholy.  But the Lady fair was very kind and gentle, and put her hand in mine and walked along with me, and sang, amid this solitude, the beautiful song that she used to sing to her guitar early in the morning at her open window, and in the placid mill-pool I saw her image, lovelier even than herself, except that the eyes were wondrous large and looked at me so strangely that I was almost afraid.  Then suddenly the mill-wheel began to turn, at first slowly, then faster and more noisily; the pool became dark and troubled, the Lady fair turned very pale, and her robes grew longer and longer, and fluttered wildly in long strips like pennons of mist up toward the skies; the roaring of the mill-wheel sounded ever louder, and it seemed as though it were the Porter blowing upon his bassoon, so that I waked up with my heart throbbing violently.

In fact, a breeze had arisen, which was gently stirring the leaves of the apple-tree above me; but the noise and roaring came neither from the mill nor from the Porter’s bassoon, but from the same peasant who had before refused to show me the way to Italy.  He had taken off his Sunday coat and put on a white smock-frock.  “Oho!” he said, as I rubbed my sleepy eyes, “do you want to pick your oranges here, that you trample down all my grass instead of going to church, you lazy lout, you?” I was vexed that the boor should have waked me, and I started up and cried, “Hold your tongue!  I have been a better gardener than you will ever be, and a Receiver, and if you had been driving to town, you would have had to take off your dirty cap to me, sitting at my door in my yellow-dotted, red dressing-gown—­” But the fellow was nothing daunted, and, putting his arms akimbo, merely asked, “What do you want here? eh! eh!” I saw that he was a short, stubbed, bow-legged fellow, with protruding goggle-eyes, and a red, rather crooked nose.  And when he went on saying nothing but “Eh! eh!” and kept advancing toward me step by step, I was suddenly seized with so curious a sensation of disgust that I hastily jumped to my feet, leaped over the fence, and, without looking round, ran across country until my fiddle in my pocket twanged again.

When at last I stopped to take breath, the orchard and the whole valley were out of sight and I was in a beautiful forest.  But I took little note of it, for I was downright provoked at the peasant’s impertinence, and I fumed for a long time, to myself.  I walked on quickly, going farther and farther from the high-road and in among the mountains.  The plank-roadway which I had been following ceased, and before me was only a narrow, unfrequented foot-path.  Not a soul was to be seen anywhere, and no sound was to be heard.  But it was very pleasant walking; the trees rustled and the birds sang sweetly.  I resigned myself to the guidance of heaven, and, taking out my violin, played all my favorite airs.  Very joyous they sounded in the lonely forest.

Page 163

I grew tired of playing after a while, for I stumbled every minute over the tiresome roots of the trees, and I began to grow very hungry, while the wood seemed endless.  Thus I wandered for the entire day, until the sun’s rays came aslant through the trunks of the trees, when at last I emerged on a little grassy vale shut in by the mountains and gay with red and yellow flowers, above which myriads of butterflies were fluttering in the golden light of the setting sun.  It was as secluded here as though the world had been hundreds of miles away.  The crickets chirped, and a shepherd lad lying among the tall grasses blew so melancholy an air upon his horn that it was enough to break one’s heart.  “Yes,” thought I to myself, “who has as happy a lot as a lazy lout!  Some of us, though, have to wander about among strangers, and be always on the go.”  As a lovely, clear stream separated me from him, I called to him to ask where the nearest village was.  But he did not disturb himself to reply—­only stretched his head a little out of the grass, pointed with his horn to the opposite wood, and coolly resumed his piping.

I marched on briskly, for twilight was at hand.  The birds, which had made a great clatter while the sun was disappearing on the horizon, suddenly fell silent, and I began to feel almost afraid, so solemn was the perpetual rustling of the lonely forest.  At last I heard dogs barking in the distance.  I walked more quickly, the forest grew less and less dense, and in a little while I saw through the last trees a beautiful village-green, where a crowd of children were frolicking, and capering around a huge linden in the centre.  Opposite me was an inn, and at a table before it were seated some peasants playing cards and smoking.  On one side a number of lads and lasses were gathered in a group, the girls with their arms rolled in their aprons, and all gossiping together in the cool of the evening.

I took very little time for consideration, but, drawing my fiddle from my pocket, I played a merry waltz as I came out from the forest.  The girls were surprised, and the old folks laughed so that the woods reechoed with their merriment.  But when I reached the linden, and, leaning my back against it, went on playing gay waltzes, a whisper went round among the groups of young people to the right and left; the lads laid aside their pipes, each put his arm around his lass’s waist, and in the twinkling of an eye the young folk were all waltzing around me; the dogs barked, skirts and coat-tails fluttered, and the children stood around me in a circle gazing curiously into my face and at my briskly-moving fingers.

Page 164

When the first waltz was ended, it was easy to see how good music loosens the limbs.  The peasant lads, who had before been restlessly shuffling about on the benches, with their pipes in their mouths and their legs stretched out stiffly in front of them, were positively transformed, and, with their gay handkerchiefs hanging from the button-holes of their coats, capered about with the lasses so that it was a pleasure to look at them.  One of them, who evidently thought a deal of himself, fumbled in his waistcoat-pocket for a long while, that the others might see him, and finally brought out a little silver coin, which he tried to put into my hand.  It irritated me, although I had not a stiver in my pocket.  I told him to keep his pennies, I was playing only for joy, because I was glad to be among people once more.  Soon afterward, however, a pretty girl came up to me with a great tankard of wine.  “Musicians are thirsty folk,” she said, with a laugh that displayed her pearls of teeth gleaming so temptingly between her red lips that I should have liked to kiss her then and there.  She put the tankard to her charming mouth, and her eyes sparkled at me over its rim; she then handed it to me; I drained it to the bottom, and played afresh, till all were spinning merrily about me once more.

By and by the old peasants finished their game, and the young people grew tired and separated, so that gradually all was quiet and deserted in front of the inn.  The girl who had brought me the wine also walked toward the village, but she went very slowly, and looked around from time to time as if she had forgotten something.  At last she stopped and seemed to search for it on the ground, but as she stooped I saw her glance toward me from under her arm.  I had learned polite manners at the castle, so I sprang toward her and said, “Have you lost anything, my pretty ma’amselle?” She blushed crimson.  “Ah, no,” she said; “it was only a rose; will you have it?” I thanked her, and stuck the rose in my button-hole.  She looked very kindly at me, and said, “You play beautifully.”  “Yes,” I replied, “it is a gift from God.”  “Musicians are very rare in the country about here,” she began again, then stammered, and cast down her eyes.  “You might earn a deal of money here.  My father plays the fiddle a little, and likes to hear about foreign countries—­and my father is very rich.”  Then she laughed, and said, “If you only would not waggle your head so, when you play.”  “My dearest girl,” I said, “do not blush so—­and as for the tremoloso motion of the head, we can’t help it, great musicians all do it.”  “Oh, indeed!” rejoined the girl.  She was about to say more, when a terrible racket arose in the inn; the front door was opened with a bang, and a tall, lean fellow was shot out of it like a ramrod, after which it was slammed to behind him.

Page 165

At the first sound the girl ran off like a deer and vanished in the darkness.  The man picked himself up and began to rave against the inn with such volubility that it was a wonder to hear him.  “What!” he yelled, “I drunk?  I not pay the chalk-marks on your smoky door?  Rub them out! rub them out!  Did I not shave you yesterday over a ladle, and cut you just under the nose so that you bit the ladle in two?  Shaving takes off one mark; ladle, another mark; court-plaster on your nose, another.  How many more of your dirty marks do you want to have paid?  But all right—­all right.  I’ll let the whole village, the whole world go unshaved.  Wear your beards, for all I care, till they are so long that at the judgment-day the Almighty will not know whether you are Jews or Christians.  Yes, hang yourselves with your beards, shaggy bears that you are!” Here he burst into tears and, in a maudlin, falsetto voice, sobbed out, “Am I to drink water like a wretched fish?  Is that loving your neighbor?  Am I not a man and a skilled surgeon?  Ah, I am beside myself today; my heart is full of pity, and of love for my fellow-creatures.”  And then, finding that all was quiet in the house, he began to walk away.  When he saw me, he came plunging toward me with outstretched arms.  I thought the fellow was about to embrace me, and sprang aside, letting him stumble on in the darkness, where I heard him discoursing to himself for some time.

All sorts of fancies filled my brain.  The girl who had given me the rose was young, pretty, and rich.  I could make my fortune before one could turn round.  And sheep and pigs, turkeys, and fat geese stuffed with apples—­verily, I seemed to see the Porter strutting up to me:  “Seize your luck, Receiver, seize your luck!  ’Marry young, you’re never wrong;’ take home your bride, live in the country, and live well.”  Plunged in these philosophical reflections, I sat me down on a stone, for, since I had no money, I did not venture to knock at the inn.  The moon shone brilliantly, the forests on the mountain-side murmured in the still night; now and then a dog barked in the village which lay farther down the valley, buried, as it were, beneath foliage and moonlight.  I gazed up at the heavens, where a few clouds were sailing slowly and now and then a falling star shot down from the zenith.  Thus this same moon, thought I, is shining down upon my father’s mill and upon his Grace’s castle.  Everything there is quiet by this time, the Lady fair is asleep, and the fountains and leaves in the garden are whispering just as they used to whisper, all the same whether I am there, or here, or dead.  And the world seemed to me so terribly big, and I so utterly alone in it, that I could have wept from the very depths of my heart.

Page 166

While I was thus sitting there, suddenly I heard the sound of horses’ hoofs in the forest.  I held my breath and listened as the sound came nearer and nearer, until I could hear the horses snorting.  Soon afterward two horsemen appeared under the trees, but paused at the edge of the woods, and talked together in low, very eager tones, as I could see by the moving shadows which were thrown across the bright village-green, and by their long dark arms pointing in various directions.  How often at home, when my mother, now dead, had told me of savage forests and fierce robbers, had I privately longed to be a part of such a story!  I was well paid now for my silly, rash longings.  I reached up the linden-tree, beneath which I was sitting, as high as I could, unobserved, until I clasped the lowest branch, and then I swung myself up.  But just as I had got my body half across the branch, and was about to drag my legs up after it, one of the horsemen trotted briskly across the green toward me.  I shut my eyes tight amid the thick foliage, and did not stir.  “Who is there?” a voice called directly under me.  “Nobody!” I yelled in terror at being detected, although I could not but laugh to myself at the thought of how the rogues would look when they should turn my empty pockets inside out.  “Aha!” said the robber, “whose are these legs, then, hanging down here?” There was no help for it.  “They are,” I replied, “only a couple of legs of a poor, lost musician.”  And I hastily let myself drop, for I was ashamed to hang there any longer like a broken fork.

The rider’s horse shied when I dropped so suddenly from the tree.  He patted the animal’s neck, and said, laughing, “Well, we too are lost, so we are comrades; perhaps you can help us to find the road to B. You shall be no loser by it.”  I assured him that I knew nothing about the road to B., and said that I would ask in the inn, or would conduct them to the village.  But the man would not listen to reason; he drew from his girdle a pistol, the barrel of which glittered in the moonlight.  “My dear fellow,” he said in a very friendly tone, as he wiped off the glittering barrel and then ran his eye along it—­“my dear fellow, you will have the kindness to go yourself before us to B.”

Verily, I was in a scrape.  If I chanced to hit the right road, I should certainly get into the midst of the robber band and be beaten because I had no money; if I did not find the road, I should be beaten of course.  I wasted very little thought upon the matter, but took the first road at hand, the one past the inn which led away from the village.  The horseman galloped back to his companion, and both followed me slowly at some distance.  Thus we wandered on foolishly enough at hap-hazard through the moonlit night.  The road led through forests on the side of a mountain.  Sometimes we could see, above the tops of the pines stirring darkly beneath us, far abroad into the deep, silent valleys; now and then a nightingale

Page 167

burst into song; the dogs bayed in the distant villages.  A brook babbled ceaselessly from the depths below us, and here and there glistened in the moonlight.  The hush was disturbed by the monotonous tramp of the horses and by the stir and movement of their riders, who talked together incessantly in a foreign tongue, and the bright moonlight contrasted sharply with the long shadows of the trees, which swept across the figures of the horsemen, making them appear now black, now light, now dwarfish, and anon gigantic.  My thoughts grew strangely confused, as though in a dream from which I could not waken, but I marched straight ahead.  We certainly must reach the end of the forest and of the night too, I thought.

At last long, rosy streaks flushed the horizon here and there but faintly, as when one breathes upon a mirror, and a lark began to sing high up above the peaceful valley.  My heart at once grew perfectly light at the approach of dawn, and all fear left me.  The two horsemen stretched themselves, looked around, and seemed for the first time to suspect that we might not have taken the right road.  They chatted much, and I could perceive that they were talking of me; it even seemed to me that one of them began to mistrust me, as though I were a rogue trying to lead them astray in the forest.  This amused me mightily, for the lighter it grew the greater grew my courage, until we emerged upon a fine, spacious opening.  Here I looked about me quite savagely, and whistled once or twice through my fingers, as scoundrels always do when they wish to signal one another.

“Halt!” exclaimed one of the horsemen, so suddenly that I jumped.  When I looked round I saw that both had alighted and had tied their horses to a tree.  One of them came up to me rapidly, stared me full in the face, and then burst into a fit of immoderate laughter.  I must confess this senseless merriment irritated me.  But he said, “Why, it is actually the gardener—­I should say the Receiver, from the castle!”

I stared at him in turn, but could not remember who he was; indeed, I should have had enough to do to recognize all the young gentlemen who came and went at the castle.  He kept up an eternal laughter, however, declaring, “This is magnificent!  You’re taking a holiday, I see; we are just in want of a servant; stay with us and you will have a perpetual holiday.”  I was dumbfounded, and said at last that I was just on my way to visit Italy.  “Italy?” the stranger rejoined.  “That is just where we wish to go!” “Ah, if that be so!” I exclaimed, and, taking out my fiddle, I tuned up so that all the birds in the wood awaked.  The young fellow immediately threw his arm around his companion, and they waltzed about the meadow like mad.

Suddenly they stood still.  “By heavens,” exclaimed one, “I can see the church-tower of B.!  We shall soon be there.”  He took out his watch and made it repeat, then shook his head, and made the watch strike again.  “No,” he said, “it will not do; we should arrive too early, and that might be very bad.”

Page 168

Then they brought out from their saddle-bags cakes, cutlets, and bottles of wine, spread a gay cloth on the grass, stretched themselves beside it, and feasted to their hearts’ content, sharing all generously with me, which I greatly enjoyed, seeing that for some days I had not had over and above enough to eat.  “And let me tell you,” one of them said to me—­“but you do not know us yet?” I shook my head.  “Then let me tell you.  I am the painter Lionardo, and my friend here is a painter also, called Guido.”

I could see the two painters more clearly in the dawning morning.  Herr Lionardo was tall, brown, and slender, with merry, ardent eyes.  The other was much younger, smaller, and more delicate, dressed in antique German style, as the Porter called it, with a white collar and bare throat, about which hung dark brown curls, which he was often obliged to toss aside from his pretty face.  When he had breakfasted, he picked up my fiddle, which I had laid on the grass beside me, seated himself upon the fallen trunk of a tree, and strummed the strings.  Then he sang in a voice clear as a wood-robin’s, so that it went to my very heart heart—­

  “When the earliest morning ray
  Through the valley finds its way,
  Hill and forest fair awaking,
  All who can their flight are taking.

  “And the lad who’s free from care
  Shouts, with cap flung high in air,
  ’Song its flight can aye be winging;
  Let me, then, be ever singing.’”

As he sang, the ruddy rays of morning exquisitely illumined his pale face and dark, love-lit eyes.  But I was so tired that the words and notes of his song mingled and blended strangely in my ears, until at last I fell sound asleep.

When, by and by, I began gradually to awaken, I heard, as in a dream, the two painters talking together beside me, and the birds singing overhead, while the morning sun shining through my closed eyelids produced the sensation of looking toward the light through red curtains. “Com’ e bello!” I heard some one exclaim close to me.  I opened my eyes, and saw the younger painter bending over me in the clear morning light, so near that I seemed to see only his large black eyes between his drooping curls.

I sprang up hastily, for it was broad day.  Herr Lionardo seemed cross—­he had two angry furrows on his brow—­and hastily made ready to move on.  But the other painter shook his curls away from his face and quietly hummed an air to himself as he was bridling his steed, until at last Lionardo burst into a sudden fit of laughter, picked up a bottle standing on the grass, and poured the contents into a couple of glasses.  “To our happy arrival!” he exclaimed, as the two clinked their glasses melodiously.  Whereupon Lionardo tossed the empty bottle high in the air, and it sparkled brilliantly.

At last they mounted their horses, and I marched on beside them.  Just at our feet lay a valley in measureless extent, into which our road descended.  How clear and fresh and bright and jubilant were all the sights and sounds around!  I was so cool, so happy, that I felt as if I could have flown from the mountain out into the glorious landscape.

Page 169

CHAPTER IV

Farewell, mill, and castle, and Porter!  We went at such a pace that the wind nearly blew my hat off.  Right and left, villages, towns, and vineyards flew past in a twinkling; behind me the two painters were seated in the carriage, before me were four horses and a gorgeous postilion, while I, seated high up on the box, bounced into the air from time to time.

It had happened thus:  Arrived at B., while we were as yet in the outskirts a tall, thin, crusty gentleman in a green plush coat came to meet us, and, with many obeisances to the two painters, conducted us into the village, where, beneath the tall linden beside the post-station, stood a fine carriage with four post-horses.  Herr Lionardo meanwhile insisted that I had outgrown my clothes, and in a trice he produced another suit from his portmanteau, and I had to put on a beautiful new dress-coat and vest; very fine to see, but they were too long and too wide for me, and absolutely fluttered about me.  And I also had a brand-new hat, which shone in the sunlight as if it had been smeared with fresh butter.  Then the crusty stranger gentleman took the bridles of the two horses which the painters had been riding, the painters themselves got into the carriage, I mounted upon the box, and we started, just as the postmaster poked his head out of the window, in his nightcap.  The postilion blew his horn merrily, and we were off for Italy.

I led a magnificent existence up there, like a bird in the air, except that I did not need to fly.  I had absolutely nothing to do but to sit on the box day and night, and bring out food and drink to the carriage from the inns, for the painters never alighted, and in the daytime they shut the carriage windows close, as if the sun would have killed them; only now and then Herr Guido put his pretty head out of the carriage window and chatted kindly with me, laughing the while at Herr Lionardo, who always seemed to dislike these talks.  Once or twice I nearly fell into disgrace with my master—­the first time because on a clear starry night I began to play the fiddle up there on my box, and then because of my sleeping.  It was strange!  I longed to see all that I could of Italy, and opened my eyes wide every fifteen minutes.  And yet, after I had gazed steadily about me for a while, the sixteen trotting feet before me would grow indistinct and dreamy, my eyes would gradually close, and at last I would fall into a slumber so profound and invincible that it was impossible to rouse me.  Then day or night, rain or sunshine, Tyrol or Italy, it was all the same; I swayed first to the right, then to the left, then backward—­nay, sometimes my head nodded down so low that my hat dropped off, and Herr Guido screamed aloud.

Page 170

Thus we had passed, I hardly know how, half through the part of Italy that they call Lombardy, when on a fine evening we stopped at a country inn.  The post-horses were to be ready for us at the neighboring station in a couple of hours, so the painters left the carriage, and were shown into a special apartment, to rest a little, and to write some letters.  I was greatly pleased, and betook myself to the common room to eat and drink in comfort.  Here everything looked rather disreputable:  the maids were going about with their hair in disorder and their neckerchiefs awry, exposing their sallow skin; the men-servants were at their supper in blue smock-frocks, around a circular table, whence they glowered at me from time to time.  They all wore their hair tied behind in a short, thick queue which looked quite dandified.  “Here you are,” I said to myself, as I ate my supper, “here you are in the country from which such queer people used to come to the Herr Pastor’s with mouse-traps, and barometers, and pictures.  How much a man learns who makes up his mind not to stick close to his own hearth-stone all his life!”

As I was thus eating my supper and meditating, a little man, who had been sitting in a dim corner of the room over a glass of wine, darted out of his nook at me like a spider.  He was quite short and crooked, and he had a big ugly head, with a long hooked nose and sparse red whiskers, while his powdered hair stood on end all over his head as if a hurricane had swept over it.  He wore an old-fashioned, threadbare dress-coat, short, plush breeches, and faded silk stockings.  He had once been in Germany, and prided himself upon his knowledge of German.  He sat down by me and asked a hundred questions, perpetually taking snuff the while—­Was I the servitore?  When did we arrive?  Had we gone to Roma?  All this I myself did not know, and really I could not understand his gibberish. “Parlez-vous francais?” I asked him at last in my distress.  He shook his big head, and I was very glad, for neither did I speak French.  But it was of no use, he had taken me in hand, and went on asking question after question; the more we parleyed the less we understood each other, until at last we both grew angry, and I actually thought the Signor would have liked to peck me with his hooked beak, until the maids, who had been listening to our confusion of tongues, laughed heartily at us.  I put down my knife and fork and went out of doors; for in this strange land I, with my German tongue, seemed to have sunk down fathoms deep into the sea, where all sorts of unfamiliar, crawling creatures were gliding about me, peopling the solitude and glaring and snapping at me.

Outside, the summer night was warm and inviting.  From the distant vineyards a laborer’s song now and then fell on the ear; there was lightning low on the horizon, and the landscape seemed to tremble and whisper in the moonlight.  Sometimes I thought I perceived a tall, dim figure gliding behind the hazel hedge in front of the house and peeping through the twigs, and then all would be motionless.  Suddenly Herr Guido appeared on the balcony above me.  He did not see me, and began to play with great skill on a zither which he must have found in the house, singing to it like a nightingale: 

Page 171

  “When the yearning heart is stilled
    As in dreams, the forest sighing,
    To the listening earth replying,
  Tells the thoughts with which ’twas filled: 
    Days long vanished, soothing sorrow—­
    From the Past a light they borrow,
  And the heart is gently thrilled.”

I do not know whether he sang any more, for I had stretched myself on a bench outside the door, and I fell asleep in the warm air from sheer exhaustion.

A couple of hours must have passed, when I was roused by the winding of a post-horn, which sounded merrily in my dreams for a while before I fully recovered consciousness.  At last I sprang up; day was already dawning on the mountains, and I felt through all my limbs the freshness of the morning.  Then it occurred to me that by this time we ought to be far on our way.  “Aha!” I thought, “now it is my turn to laugh.  How Herr Guido will shake his sleepy, curly head when he hears me outside!” So I went close beneath the window in the little garden at the back of the house, stretched my limbs well in the morning air, and sang merrily—­

  “If the cricket’s chirp we hear,
  Then be sure the day is near;
  When the sun is rising—­then
  ’Tis good to go to asleep again.”

The window of the room where my masters were stood open, but all within was quiet; the breeze alone rustled the leaves of the vine that clambered into the window itself.  “What does this mean?” I exclaimed in surprise, and ran into the house, and through the silent corridors, to the room.  But when I opened the door my heart stood still with dismay; the room was perfectly empty; not a coat, not a hat, not a boot, anywhere.  Only the zither upon which Herr Guido had played was hanging on the wall, and on the table in the centre of the room lay a purse full of money, with a card attached to it.  I took it to the window, and could scarcely trust my eyes when I read, in large letters, “For the Herr Receiver!”

But what good could it all do me if I could not find my dear, merry masters again?  I thrust the purse into my deep coat-pocket, where it plumped down as into a well and almost pulled me over backward.  Then I rushed out, and made a great noise, and waked up all the maids and men in the house.  They could not imagine what was the matter, and thought I must have gone crazy.  But they were not a little amazed when they saw the empty nest.  No one knew anything of my masters.  One maid only had observed—­so far as I could make out from her signs and gesticulations—­that Herr Guido, when he was singing on the balcony on the previous evening, had suddenly screamed aloud, and had then rushed back into the room to the other gentleman.  And once, when she waked in the night afterward, she had heard the tramp of a horse.  She peeped out of the little window of her room, and saw the crooked Signor, who had talked so much to me, on a white horse, galloping so furiously across the field in the moonlight that he bounced high up from his saddle; and the maid crossed herself, for he looked like a ghost riding upon a three-legged horse.  I did not know what in the world to do.

Page 172

Meanwhile, however, our carriage was standing before the door ready to start, and the impatient postilion blew his horn fit to burst, for he had to be at the next station at a certain hour, because everything had been ordered with great exactitude in the way of changing horses.  I ran once more through all the house, calling the painters, but no one made answer; the inn-people stared at me, the postilion cursed, the horses neighed, and, at last, completely dazed, I sprang into the carriage, the hostler shut the door behind me, the postilion cracked his whip, and away I went into the wide world.

CHAPTER V

We drove on now over hill and dale, day and night.  I had no time for reflection, for wherever we arrived the horses were standing ready harnessed.  I could not talk with the people, and my signs and gestures were of no use; often just in the midst of a fine dinner the postilion wound his horn, and I had to drop knife and fork and spring into the carriage again without knowing whither I was going, or why or wherefore I was obliged to hurry on at such a rattling pace.

Otherwise the life was not unpleasant.  I reclined upon the soft cushions first in one corner of the carriage and then in the other, and took note of countries and people, and when we drove through the villages I leaned both arms on the window of the carriage, and acknowledged the courtesy of the men who took off their hats to me, or else I kissed my hand like an old acquaintance to the young girls at the windows, who looked surprised, and stared after me as long as the carriage was in sight.

But a day came when I was in a terrible fright.  I had never counted the money in the purse left for me, and I had to pay a great deal to the postmasters and innkeepers everywhere, so that before I was aware, the purse was empty.  When I first discovered this I had an idea of jumping out of the carriage and making my escape, the next time we drove through a lonely wood.  But I could not make up my mind to give up the beautiful carriage and leave it all alone, when, if it were possible, I would gladly have driven in it to the end of the world.

So I sat buried in thought, not knowing what to do, when all at once we turned aside from the highway.  I shouted to the postilion to ask him where he was going, but, shout as I would, the fellow never made any answer save “Si, si, Signore!” and on he drove over stock and stone till I was jolted from side to side in the carriage.

I was not at all pleased, for the high-road ran through a charming country, directly toward the setting sun, which was bathing the landscape in a sea of splendor, while before us, when we turned aside, lay a dreary hilly region, broken by ravines, where in the gray depths darkness had already set in.  The further we drove, the lonelier and drearier grew the road.  At last the moon emerged from the clouds, and shone

Page 173

through the trees with a weird, unearthly brilliancy.  We had to go very slowly in the narrow rocky ravines, and the continuous, monotonous rattle of the carriage reechoed from the walls on either side, as if we were driving through a vaulted tomb.  From the depths of the forest came a ceaseless murmur of unseen water-falls, and the owlets hooted in the distance “Come too! come too!” As I looked at the driver, I noticed for the first time that he wore no uniform and was not a postilion; he seemed to be growing restless, turning his head and looking behind him several times.  Then he began to drive quicker, and as I leaned out of the carriage a horseman came out of the shrubbery on one side of the road, crossed it at a bound directly in front of our horses, and vanished in the forest on the other side.  I felt bewildered; as far as I could see in the bright moonlight the rider was that very same crooked little man who had so pecked at me with his hooked nose in the inn, and mounted, too, on the same white horse.  The driver shook his head and laughed aloud at such horsemanship, then quickly turned to me and said a great deal very eagerly, not a word of which did I understand, and then he drove on more rapidly than ever.

I was rejoiced soon afterward when I perceived a light glimmering in the distance.  Gradually more and more lights appeared, and at last we passed several smoke-dried huts clinging like swallows’ nests to the rocks.  As the night was warm, the doors stood open, and I could see into the lighted rooms, and all sorts of ragged figures gathered about the hearths.  We rattled on through the quiet night, along a steep, stony road leading up a high mountain.  Soon lofty trees and hanging vines arched completely over us, and anon the heavens became visible, and we could overlook in the depths a distant circle of mountains, forests, and valleys.  On the summit of the mountain stood a grand old castle, its many towers gleaming in the brilliant moonlight.  “God be thanked!” I exclaimed, greatly relieved, and on the tiptoe of expectation as to whither I was being conducted.

A good half-hour passed, however, before we reached the gate-way of the castle.  It led under a broad round tower, the summit of which was half ruined.  The driver cracked his whip three times, so that the old castle reechoed, and a flock of startled rooks flew forth from every sheltered nook and careered wildly overhead with hoarse caws.  Then the carriage rolled on through the long, dark gate-way.  The iron shoes of the horses struck fire upon the stone pavement, a large dog barked, the wheels thundered along the vaulted passage, the rooks’ hoarse cries resounded, and amidst all this horrible hubbub we reached a small, paved courtyard.

Page 174

“A queer post-station this,” I thought, when the coach stopped.  The coach door was opened, and a tall old man with a small lantern scanned me grimly from beneath his bushy eyebrows.  He then took my arm and helped me to alight from the coach as if I had been a person of quality.  Outside, before the castle door, stood a very ugly old woman in a black camisole and petticoat, with a white apron and a black cap, the long point of which in front almost touched her nose.  A large bunch of keys hung on one side of her waist, and she held in her hand an old-fashioned candelabrum with two lighted wax candles.  As soon as she saw me she began to duck and curtsey and to talk volubly.  I did not understand a word, but I scraped innumerable bows, and felt very uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, the old man had peered into every corner of the coach with his lantern, and grumbled and shook his head upon finding no trace of trunk or luggage.  The driver, without asking for the usual pour-boire, proceeded to put up the coach in an old shed on one side of the courtyard, while the old woman by all sorts of courteous signs invited me to follow her.  She showed the way with her wax candles through a long, narrow passage, and up a little stone staircase.  As we passed the kitchen a couple of maids poked their heads inquisitively through the half-open door, and stared at me, as they winked and nodded furtively to each other, as if they had never in all their lives seen a man before.  At last the old woman opened a door, and for a moment I was quite dazed; the apartment was spacious and very handsome, the ceiling decorated with gilded carving and the walls hung with magnificent tapestry portraying all sorts of figures and flowers.  In the centre of the room stood a table spread with cutlets, cakes, salad, fruit, wine, and confections, enough to make one’s mouth water.  Between the windows hung a tall mirror, reaching from the floor to the ceiling.

I must say that all this delighted me.  I stretched myself once or twice, and paced the room to and fro with much dignity, after which I could not resist looking at myself in such a large mirror.  Of a truth Herr Lionardo’s new clothes became me well, and I had caught an ardent expression of eye from the Italians, but otherwise I was just such a whey-face as I had been at home, with only a soft down on my upper lip.

Meanwhile, the old woman ground away with her toothless jaws, as if she were actually chewing the end of her long nose.  She made me sit down, chucked me under the chin with her lean fingers, called me “poverino,” and leered at me so roguishly with her red eyes that one corner of her mouth twitched half-way up her cheek as she at last left the room with a low courtesy.

Page 175

I sat down at the table, and a young, pretty girl came in to wait on me.  I made all sorts of gallant speeches to her, which she did not understand, but watched me curiously while I applied myself to the viands with evident enjoyment; they were delicious.  When I had finished and rose from table, she took a candle and conducted me to another room, where were a sofa, a small mirror, and a magnificent bed with green silk curtains.  I inquired by signs whether I were to sleep there.  She nodded assent, but I could not undress while she stood beside me as if she were rooted to the spot.  At last I went and got a large glass of wine from the table in the next room, drank it off, and wished her “Felicissima notte!” for I had managed to learn that much Italian.  But while I was emptying the glass at a draught she suddenly burst into a fit of suppressed giggling, grew very red, and went into the next room, closing the door behind her.  “What is there to laugh at?” thought I in a puzzle.  “I believe Italians are all crazy.”

Still in anxiety lest the postilion should begin to blow his horn again, I listened at the window, but all was quiet outside.  “Let him blow!” I thought, undressed myself, and got into the magnificent bed, where I seemed to be fairly swimming in milk and honey!  The old linden in the court-yard rustled, a rook now and then flew off the roof, and at last, completely happy, I fell asleep.

CHAPTER VI

When I awoke, the beams of early morning were shining on the green curtains of my bed.  At first I could not remember where I was.  I seemed to be still driving in the coach, where I had been dreaming of a castle in the moonlight, and of an old witch and her pale daughter.

I sprang hastily out of bed, dressed myself, and, looking about my room, perceived in the wainscoting a small door, which I had not seen the night before.  It was ajar; I opened it, and saw a pretty little room looking very fresh and neat in the early dawn.  Some articles of feminine apparel were lying in disorder over the back of a chair, and in a bed beside it lay the girl who had waited upon me the evening before.  She was sleeping soundly, her head resting upon her bare white arm, over which her black curls were straying.  “How mortified she would be if she knew that the door was open!” I said to myself, and I crept back into my room, bolting the door after me, that the girl might not be horrified and ashamed when she awoke.

Not a sound was yet to be heard outside, except from an early robin that was singing his morning song, perched upon a spray growing out of the wall beneath my window.  “No,” said I, “you shall not shame me by singing all alone your early hymn of praise to God!” I hastily fetched my fiddle, which I had laid upon the table the night before, and left the room.  Everything in the castle was silent as death, and I was a long while finding my way through the dim corridors out into the open air.

Page 176

There I found myself in a large garden extending half-way down the mountain, its broad terraces lying one beneath the other like huge steps.  But the gardening was slovenly.  The paths were all grass-grown, the yew figures were not trimmed, but stretched long noses and caps a yard high into the air like ghosts, so that really they must have been quite fearsome at nightfall.  Linen was hanging to dry on the broken marble statues of an unused fountain; here and there in the middle of the garden cabbages were planted beside some common flowers; everything was neglected, in disorder, and overgrown with tall weeds, among which glided varicolored lizards.  On all sides through the gigantic old trees there was a distant, lonely prospect of range after range of mountains stretching as far as the eye could reach.

After I had been sauntering about through this wilderness for a while in the dawn, I descried upon the terrace below me, striding to and fro with folded arms, a tall, slender, pale youth in a long brown surtout.  He seemed not to perceive me, and shortly seated himself upon a stone bench, took a book out of his pocket, read very loud from it, as if he were preaching, looked up to heaven at intervals, and leaned his head sadly upon his right hand.  I looked at him for a long time, but at last I grew curious to know why he was making such extraordinary gestures, and I went hastily toward him.  He had just heaved a profound sigh, and sprang up startled as I approached.  He was completely confused, and so was I; we neither of us knew what to say, and we stood there bowing, until he made his escape, striding rapidly through the shrubbery.  Meanwhile, the sun had arisen over the forest; I mounted on the stone bench, and scraped my fiddle merrily, so that the quiet valleys reechoed.  The old woman with the bunch of keys, who had been searching anxiously for me all through the castle to call me to breakfast, appeared upon the terrace above me, and was surprised that I could play the fiddle so well.  The grim old man from the castle came too, and was as much amazed, and at last the maids came, and they all stood up there together agape, while I fingered away, and wielded my bow in the most artistic manner, playing cadenzas and variations until I was downright tired.

The castle was a mighty strange place!  No one dreamed of journeying further.  It was no inn or post-station, as I learned from one of the maids, but belonged to a wealthy count.  When I sometimes questioned the old woman as to the count’s name and where he lived, she only smirked as she had done on the evening of my arrival, and slyly pinched me and winked at me archly as if she were out of her senses.  If on a warm day I drank a whole bottle of wine, the maids were sure to giggle when they brought me another; and once when I wanted to smoke a pipe, and informed them by signs of my desire, they all burst into a fit of foolish laughter.  But most mysterious of all was a serenade which often, and always upon the

Page 177

darkest nights, sounded beneath my window.  A guitar was played fitfully, soft, low chords being heard from time to time.  Once I imagined I heard some one down below call up, “Pst! pst!” I sprang out of bed and, putting my head out of the window, called, “Holla! who’s there?” But no answer came; I only heard the rustling of the shrubbery, as if some one were hastily running away.  The large dog in the court-yard, roused by my shout, barked a couple of times, and then all was still again.  After this the serenade was heard no more.

Otherwise my life here was all that mortal could desire.  The worthy Porter knew well what he was talking about when he was wont to declare that in Italy raisins dropped into one’s mouth of themselves.  I lived in the lonely castle like an enchanted prince.  Wherever I went the servants treated me with the greatest respect, though they all knew that I had not a farthing in my pocket.  I had but to say, “Table, be spread,” and lo, I was served with delicious viands, rice, wine, melons, and Parmesan cheese.  I lived on the best, slept in the magnificent canopied bed, walked in the garden, played my fiddle, and sometimes helped with the gardening.  I often lay for hours in the tall grass, and the pale youth in his long surtout—­he was a student and a relative of the old woman’s, and was spending his vacation here—­would pace around me in a wide circle, muttering from his book like a conjurer, which was always sure to send me to sleep.  Thus day after day passed, until, what with the good eating and drinking, I began to grow quite melancholy.  My limbs became limp from perpetually doing nothing, and I felt as if I should fall to pieces from sheer laziness.

One sultry afternoon, I was sitting in the boughs of a tall tree that overhung the valley, gently rocking myself above its quiet depths.  The bees were humming among the leaves around me; all else was silent as the grave; not a human being was to be seen on the mountains, and below me on the peaceful meadows the cows were resting in the high grass.  But from afar away the note of a post-horn floated across the wooded heights, at first scarcely audible, then clearer and more distinct.  On the instant my heart reechoed an old song which I had learned when at home at my father’s mill from a traveling journeyman, and I sang—­

  “Whenever abroad you are straying,
    Take with you your dearest one;
  While others are laughing and playing,
    A stranger is left all alone.

  “And what know these trees, with their sighing,
    Of an older, a lovelier day? 
  Alas, o’er yon blue mountains lying,
    Thy home is so far, far away!

  “The stars in their courses I treasure,
    My pathway to her they shone o’er;
  The nightingale’s song gives me pleasure,
    It sang nigh my dearest one’s door.

  “When starlight and dawn are contending,
    I climb to the mountain-tops clear;
  Thence gazing, my greeting I’m sending
    To Germany, ever most dear.”

Page 178

It seemed as if the post-horn in the distance would fain accompany my song.  While I was singing, it came nearer and nearer among the mountains, until at last I heard it in the castle court-yard; I got down from the tree as quickly as possible, in time to meet the old woman with an opened packet coming toward me.  “Here is something too for you,” she said, and handed me a neat little note.  It was without address; I opened it hastily, and on the instant flushed as red as a peony, and my heart beat so violently that the old woman observed my agitation.  The note was from—­my Lady fair, whose handwriting I had often seen at the bailiff’s.  It was short:  “All is well once more; all obstacles are removed.  I take a private opportunity to be the first to write you the good news.  Come, hasten back.  It is so lonely here, and I can scarcely bear to live since you left us.  Aurelia.”

As I read, my eyes grew dim with rapture, alarm, and ineffable delight.  I was ashamed in presence of the old woman, who began to smirk and wink odiously, and I flew like an arrow to the loneliest nook of the garden.  There I threw myself on the grass beneath the hazel-bushes and read the note again, repeating the words by heart, and then re-reading them over and over, while the sunlight danced between the leaves upon the letters, so that they were blended and blurred before my eyes like golden and bright-green and crimson blossoms.  “Is she not married, then?” I thought; “was that young officer her brother, perhaps, or is he dead, or am I crazy, or—­but no matter!” I exclaimed at last, leaping to my feet.  “It is clear enough, she loves me! she loves me!”

When I crept out of the shrubbery the sun was near its setting.  The heavens were red, the birds were singing merrily in the woods, the valleys were full of a golden sheen, but in my heart all was a thousand times more beautiful and more glad.

I shouted to them in the castle to serve my supper out in the garden.  The old woman, the grim old man, the maids—­I made them all come and sit at table with me under the trees.  I brought out my fiddle and played, and ate and drank between-whiles.  Then they all grew merry; the old man smoothed the grim wrinkles out of his face, and emptied glass after glass, the old woman chattered away—­heaven knows about what, and the maids began to dance together on the green-sward.  At last the pale student approached inquisitively, cast a scornful glance at the party, and was about to pass on with great dignity.  But I sprang up in a twinkling, and, before he knew what I was about, seized him by his long surtout and waltzed merrily round with him.  He actually began to try to dance after the latest and most approved fashion, and footed it so nimbly that the moisture stood in beads upon his forehead, his long coat flew round like a wheel, and he looked at me so strangely withal, and his eyes rolled so, that I began to be really afraid of him, and suddenly released him.

Page 179

The old woman was very curious to know the contents of the note, and why I was so very merry of a sudden.  But the matter was far too intricate for me to be able to explain it to her.  I merely pointed to a couple of storks that were sailing through the air far above our heads, and said that so must I go, far, far away.  At this she opened her bleared eyes wide, and cast a sinister glance first at me and then at the old man.  After that, I noticed as often as I turned away that they put their heads together and talked eagerly, glancing askance toward me from time to time.

This puzzled me.  I pondered upon what scheme they could be hatching, and I grew more quiet.  The sun had long set, so I wished them all good night and betook myself thoughtfully to my bedroom.

I felt so happy and so restless that for a long while I paced the apartment to and fro.  Outside, the wind was driving black, heavy clouds high above the castle-tower; the nearest mountain-summit could be scarcely discerned in the thick darkness.  Then I thought I heard voices in the garden below.  I put out my candle and sat down at the window.  The voices seemed to come nearer, speaking in low tones, and suddenly a long ray of light shot from a small lantern concealed under the cloak of a dark figure.  I instantly recognized the grim old steward and the old housekeeper.  The light flashed in the face of the old woman, who looked to me more hideous than ever, and upon the blade of a long knife which she held in her hand.  I could plainly see that both of them were looking up at my window.  Then the steward folded his cloak more closely, and all was dark and silent.

“What do they want,” I thought, “out in the garden, at this hour?” I shuddered; I could not help recalling all the stories of murders that I had ever heard—­all the tales of witches and robbers who slaughtered people that they might devour their hearts.  Whilst I was filled with such thoughts, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs softly, then very softly along the narrow passage directly to my door; and at the same time I thought I heard voices whispering together.  I ran hastily to the other end of the room and behind a large table, which I could lift and bang against the door as soon as anything stirred outside.  But in the darkness I upset a chair, which made a tremendous crash.  In an instant all was profound silence outside.  I listened behind the table, staring at the door as if I could pierce it with my eyes, which felt as if they were starting from my head.  When I had kept so quiet for a while that the buzzing of a fly could have been plainly heard, I distinguished the sound of a key softly put into the keyhole of my door on the outside.  I was just about to make a demonstration with my table, when the key was turned slowly three times round in the lock, and then cautiously withdrawn, after which the footsteps retreated along the passage and down the staircase.

I took a long breath.  “Oho!” I thought, “they have locked me up that all may be easy when I am sound asleep.”  I tried the door, and found it locked, as was also the other door, behind which the pale maid slept.  This had never been so before since I had been at the castle.

Page 180

Here was I imprisoned in a foreign land!  The Lady fair undoubtedly was even now standing at her window and looking across the quiet garden toward the high-road, to see if I were not coming from the toll-house with my fiddle.  The clouds were scudding across the sky; time was passing—­and I could not get away.  Ah, but my heart was sore; I did not know what to do.  And if the leaves rustled outside, or a rat gnawed behind the wainscot, I fancied I saw the old woman gliding in by a secret door and creeping softly through the room, with that long knife in hand.

As, given over to such fancies, I sat on the side of my bed, I heard, the first time for a long while, the music beneath my window.  At the first twang of the guitar a ray of light darted into my soul.  I opened the window, and called down softly, that I was awake.  “Pst, pst!” was the answer from below.  Without more ado, I thrust the note into my pocket, took my fiddle, got out of the window, and scrambled down the ruinous old wall, clinging to the vines growing from the crevices.  One or two crumbling stones gave way, and I began to slide faster and faster, until at last I came down upon my feet with such a sudden bump that my teeth rattled in my head.

Scarcely had I thus reached the garden when I felt myself embraced with such violence that I screamed aloud.  My kind friend, however, clapped his hand on my mouth, and, taking my arm, led me through the shrubbery to the open lawn.  Here, to my astonishment, I recognized the tall student, who had a guitar slung around his neck by a broad silk ribbon.  I explained to him as quickly as possible that I wished to escape from the garden.  He seemed perfectly aware of my wishes, and conducted me by various covert pathways to the lower door in the high garden wall.  But when we reached it, it was fast locked!  The student, however, seemed to be quite prepared for this; he produced a large key and cautiously unlocked it.

When we found ourselves in the forest, and I was about to inquire of him the best road to the nearest town, he suddenly fell upon one knee before me, raised a hand aloft, and began to curse and to swear in the most horrible manner.  I could not imagine what he wanted; I could hear frequent repetitions of “Iddio” and “cuore” and “amore” and “furore!” But when he began hobbling close up to me on both knees, I grew positively terrified, I perceived clearly that he had lost his wits, and I fled into the depths of the forest without looking back.

I heard the student behind me shouting like one possessed, and soon afterward a rough voice from the castle shouting in reply.  I was sure they would pursue me.  The road was entirely unknown to me; the night was dark; I should probably fall into their hands.  Therefore I climbed up into a tall tree to await my opportunity to escape.

Page 181

From here I could distinguish one voice after another calling in the castle.  Several links appeared in the garden, and cast a weird lurid light over the old walls and down the mountain out into the black night.  I commended my soul to the Almighty, for the confused uproar grew louder and nearer.  At last the student, bearing aloft a torch, ran past my tree below me so fast that the skirt of his surtout flew out behind him in the wind.  After this the tumult gradually retreated to the other side of the mountain; the voices sounded more and more distant, and at last the wind alone sighed through the silent forest.  I then descended from my tree and ran breathless down into the valley and out into the night.

CHAPTER VII

I hurried on for the rest of the night and the next day, for there was a din in my ears for a long time, as if all the people from the castle were after me, shouting, waving torches, and brandishing long knives.  On the way I learned that I was only five or six miles from Rome, whereat I could have jumped for joy.  As a child at home I had heard wonderful stories of gorgeous Rome, and as I lay on my back in the grass on Sunday afternoons near the mill, and everything around was so quiet, I used to picture Rome out of the clouds sailing above me, with wondrous mountains and abysses, around the blue sea, with golden gates and lofty gleaming towers, where angels in shining robes were singing.

The night had come again, and the moon shone brilliantly, when at last I emerged from the forest upon a hilltop, and saw the city lying before me in the distance.  The sea gleamed afar off, the heavens glittered with innumerable stars, and beneath them lay the Holy City, a long strip of mist, like a slumbering lion on the quiet earth, watched and guarded by mountains around like shadowy giants.

I soon reached an extensive, lonely heath, where all was gray and silent as the grave.  Here and there a ruined wall was still standing, or some strangely-gnarled trunk of a tree; now and then night-birds whirred through the air, and my own shadow glided long and black in the solitude beside me.  They say that a primeval city lies buried here, and that Frau Venus makes it her abode, and that sometimes the old pagans rise up from their graves and wander about the heath and mislead travelers.  I cared nothing, however, for such tales, but walked on steadily, for the city arose before me more and more distinct and magnificent, and the high castles and gates and golden domes gleamed wondrously in the moonlight, as if angels in golden garments were actually standing on the roofs and singing in the quiet night.

At last I passed some humble houses, and then through a gorgeous gate-way into the famous city of Rome.  The moon shone bright as day among the palaces, but the streets were empty, except for some lazy fellow lying dead asleep on a marble step in the warm night air.  The fountains plashed in the silent squares, and from the gardens bordering the street the trees added their murmur, and filled the air with refreshing fragrance.

Page 182

As I was sauntering on, not knowing—­what with delight, moonlight, and fragrance—­which way to turn, I heard a guitar touched in the depths of a garden.  “Great heavens!” I thought, “the crazy student with his long surtout has been secretly following me all this time.”  But in a moment a lady in the garden began to sing deliciously.  I stood spellbound; it was the voice of the Lady fair! and the selfsame Italian song which she often used to sing at her open window!

Then the dear old time recurred so vividly to my mind that I could have wept bitterly; I saw the quiet garden before the castle in the early dawn, and thought how happy I had been among the shrubbery before that stupid fly flew up my nose.  I could restrain myself no longer, but clambered over the gilded ornaments surmounting the grated gate-way and leaped down into the garden whence the song proceeded.  As I did so I perceived a slender white figure standing in the distance behind a poplar-tree, looking at me in amazement; but in an instant it had turned and fled through the dim garden toward the house so quickly that in the moonlight it seemed to glide.  “It was she, herself!” I exclaimed, and my heart throbbed with delight; I recognized her on the instant by her pretty little fleet feet.  It was unfortunate that in clambering over the gate I had slightly twisted my ankle, and had to limp along for a minute or two before I could run after her toward the house.  In the meanwhile the doors and windows had been closed.  I knocked modestly, listened, and then knocked again.  I seemed to hear low laughter and whispering within the house, and once I was almost sure that a pair of bright eyes peeped between the jalousies in the moonlight.  But finally all was silent.

“She does not know that it is I,” I thought; I took out my fiddle, and promenaded to and fro on the path before the house and sang the song of the Lady fair and played over all my songs that I had been wont to play on lovely summer nights in the castle garden, or on the bench before the toll-house so that the sound should reach the castle windows.  But it was all of no use; no one stirred in the entire house.  Then I put away my fiddle sadly, and seated myself upon the door-step, for I was very weary with my long march.  The night was warm; the flower-beds before the house sent forth a delicious fragrance, and a fountain somewhere in the depths of the garden plashed continuously.  I thought dreamily of azure flowers, of dim, green, lovely, lonely spots where brooks were rippling and gay birds singing, until at last I fell sound asleep.

When I awoke the fresh air of morning was playing over me; the birds were already awake and twittering in the trees around, as if they were making game of me.  I started up and looked about; the fountain in the garden was still playing, but nothing was to be heard within the house.  I peeped through the green blinds into one of the rooms, where I could see a sofa and a large round table covered with gray linen.  The chairs were all standing against the wall in perfect order; the blinds were down at all the windows, as if the house had been uninhabited for example, with many a loving thought of my fair, distant home.

Page 183

Meanwhile, the painter had arranged near the window one of the frames upon which a large piece of paper was stretched.  An old hovel was cleverly drawn in charcoal upon the paper, and within it sat the Blessed Virgin with a lovely, happy face, upon which there was withal a shade of melancholy.  At her feet in a little nest of straw lay the Infant Jesus—­very lovely, with large serious eyes.  Without, upon the threshold of the open door were kneeling two shepherd lads with staff and wallet.  “You see,” said the painter, “I am going to put your head upon one of these shepherds, and so people will know your face and, please God, take pleasure in it long after we are both under the sod, and are ourselves kneeling happily before the Blessed Mother and her Son like those shepherd lads.”  Then he seized an old chair, the back of which came off in his hand as he lifted it.  He soon fitted it into its place again, however, pushed it in front of the frame, and I had to sit down on it, and turn my face sideways to him.  I sat thus for some minutes perfectly still, without stirring.  After a while, however—­I am sure I do not know why—­I felt that I could endure it no longer; every part of me began to twitch, and besides, there hung directly in front of me a piece of broken looking-glass into which I could not help glancing perpetually, making all sorts of grimaces from sheer weariness.  The painter, noticing this, burst into a laugh, and waved his hand to signify that I might leave my chair.  My face upon the paper was already finished, and was so exactly like me that I was immensely pleased with it.

The young man went on painting in the cool morning, singing as he worked, and sometimes looking from the open window at the glorious landscape.  I, in the meantime, spread myself another piece of bread and butter, and walked up and down the room, looking at the pictures leaning against the wall.  Two of them pleased me especially.  “Did you paint these, too?” I asked the painter.  “Not exactly,” he replied.  “They are by the famous masters Leonardo da Vinci and Guido Reni; but you know nothing about them.”  I was nettled by the conclusion of his remark.  “Oh,” I rejoined very composedly, “I know those two masters as well as I know myself.”  He opened his eyes at this.  “How so?” he asked hastily.  “Well,” said I, “I traveled with them day and night, on horseback, on foot, and driving at a pace that made the wind whistle in my ears, and I lost them both at an inn, and then traveled post alone in their coach, which went bumping on two wheels over the rocks, and—­” “Oho! oho!” the painter interrupted me, staring at me as if he thought me mad.  Then he suddenly burst into a fit of laughter.  “Ah,” he cried, “now I begin to understand.  You traveled with two painters called Guido and Lionardo?” When I assented, he sprang up and looked me all over from head to foot.  “I verily believe,” he said “that actually—­Can you play the violin?” I struck the pocket of my coat so

Page 184

that my fiddle gave forth a tone, and the painter went on:  “There was a Countess here lately from Germany, who made inquiries in every nook and corner of Rome for those two painters and a young musician with a fiddle.”  “A young Countess from Germany!” I cried in an ecstasy.  “Was the Porter with her?” “Ah, that I do not know,” replied the painter.  “I saw her only once or twice at the house of one of her friends, who does not live in the city.  Do you know this face?” he went on, suddenly lifting the covering from a large picture standing in a corner.  In an instant I felt as we do when in a dark room the shutters are opened and the rising sun flashes in our eyes.  It was—­the lovely Lady fair!  She was standing in the garden, in a black velvet gown, lifting her veil from her face with one hand, and looking abroad over a distant and beautiful landscape.  The longer I looked the more vividly did it seem to be the castle garden, and the flowers and boughs waved in the wind, while in the depths of green I could see my little toll-house, and the high-road, and the Danube, and in the distance the blue mountains.

“’Tis she! ’tis she!” I exclaimed at last, and, seizing my hat, I ran out of the door and down the long staircase, while the astonished painter called after me to come back toward evening, and we might perhaps learn something more.

CHAPTER VIII

I ran in a great hurry through the city to present myself immediately at the house, in the garden of which the Lady fair had been singing yesterday evening.  The streets were full of people; gentlemen and ladies were enjoying the sunshine and exchanging greetings, elegant coaches rolled past, and the bells in all the towers were summoning to mass, making wondrous melody in the air above the heads of the swarming crowd.  I was intoxicated with delight, and with the hubbub, and ran on in my joy until at last I had no idea where I was.  It was like enchantment; the quiet Square with the fountain, and the garden and the house, seemed the fabric of a dream, which had vanished in the clear light of day.

I could not make any inquiries, for I did not know the name of the Square.  At last it began to be very sultry; the sun’s rays darted down upon the pavement like burning arrows, people crept into their houses, the blinds everywhere were closed, and the street became once more silent and dead.  I threw myself down in despair in front of a fine, large house with a balcony resting upon pillars and affording a deep shade, and surveyed, first the quiet city, which looked absolutely weird in its sudden noonday solitude, and anon the deep blue, perfectly cloudless sky, until, tired out, I fell asleep.  I dreamed that I was lying in a lonely green meadow near my native village; a warm summer rain was falling and glittering in the sun, which was just setting behind the mountains, and whenever the raindrops fell upon the grass they turned into beautiful, bright flowers, so that I was soon covered with them.

Page 185

What was my astonishment when I awoke to find a quantity of beautiful, fresh flowers lying upon me and beside me!  I sprang up, but could see nothing unusual, except that in the house above me there was a window filled with fragrant shrubs and flowers, behind which a parrot talked and screamed incessantly.  I picked up the scattered flowers, tied them together, and stuck the nosegay in my button-hole.  Then I began to discourse with the parrot; it amused me to see him get up and down in his gilded cage with all sorts of odd twists and turns of his head, and always stepping awkwardly over his own toes.  But before I was aware of it he was scolding me for a furfante!  Even though it were only a senseless bird, it irritated me.  I scolded him back; we both got angry; the more I scolded in German, the more he abused me in Italian.

Suddenly I heard some one laughing behind me.  I turned quickly, and perceived the painter of the morning.  “What nonsense are you at now!” he said.  “I have been waiting for you for half an hour.  The air has grown cooler:  we will go to a garden in the suburbs where you will find several fellow-countrymen, and perhaps learn something further of the German Countess.”

I was charmed with this proposal, and we set out immediately, the parrot screaming out abuse of me as I left him.

After we had walked for a long while outside of the city, ascending by a narrow, stony pathway an eminence dotted with villas and vineyards, we reached a small garden very high up, where several young men and maidens were sitting in the open air about a round table.  As soon as we made our appearance they all signed to us to keep silence, and pointed toward the other end of the garden, where in a large, vine-wreathed arbor two beautiful ladies were sitting opposite each other at a table.  One was singing, while the other accompanied her on the guitar.  Between them stood a pleasant-looking gentleman, who occasionally beat time with a small baton.  The setting sun shone through the vine-leaves, upon the fruits and flasks of wine with which the table was provided, and upon the plump, white shoulders of the lady with the guitar.  The other one grimaced so that she looked convulsed, but she sang in Italian in so extremely artistic a manner that the sinews in her neck stood out like cords.

Just as she was executing a long cadenza with her eyes turned up to the skies, while the gentleman beside her held his baton suspended in the air waiting the moment when she would fall into the beat again, the garden gate was flung open, and a girl looking very much heated, and a young man with a pale, delicate face, entered, quarreling violently.  The conductor, startled, stood with raised baton like a petrified conjurer, although the singer had some time before snapped short her long trill and had arisen angrily from the table.  All the others turned upon the new arrivals in a rage.  “You savage,” some one at the round table called out, “you

Page 186

have interrupted the most perfect tableau of the description which the late Hoffmann gives on page 347 of the Ladies’ Annual for 1816 of the finest of Hummel’s pictures exhibited in the autumn of 1814 at the Berlin Art-Exposition!” But it did no good.  “What do I care,” the young man retorted, “for your tableau of tableaux!  My picture any one may have; my sweetheart I choose to keep for myself.  Oh, you faithless, false-hearted girl!” he went on to his poor companion, “you fine critic to whom a painter is nothing but a tradesman, and a poet only a money-maker; you care for nothing save flirtation!  May you fall to the lot, not of an honest artist, but of an old Duke with a diamond-mine and beplastered with gold and silver foil!  Out with the cursed note that you tried to hide from me!  What have you been scribbling?  From whom did it come, or to whom is it going?”

But the girl resisted him steadfastly, and the more the other young men present tried to soothe and pacify the angry lover, the more he scolded and threatened; particularly as the girl herself did not restrain her little tongue, until at last she extricated herself, weeping aloud, from the confused coil, and unexpectedly threw herself into my arms for protection.  I immediately assumed the correct attitude; but since the rest paid no attention to us, she suddenly composed her face and whispered hastily in my ear, “You odious Receiver! it is all on your account.  There, stuff the wretched note into your pocket; you will find out from it where we live.  When you approach the gate, at the appointed hour, turn into the lonely street on the right hand.”

I was too much amazed to utter a word, for, now that I looked closely, I recognized her at once; actually it was the pert lady’s-maid of the Castle who had brought me the flask of wine on that lovely Sunday afternoon.  She never looked as pretty as now, when, heated by her quarrel, she leaned against my shoulder, and her black curls hung down over my arm.  “But, dear ma’amselle,” I said in astonishment, “how do you come—­” “For heaven’s sake, hush!—­be quiet!” she replied, and in an instant, before I could fairly collect myself, she had left me and had fled across the garden.

Meanwhile, the others had almost entirely forgotten the original cause of the turmoil, and now took a pleasing interest in proving to the young man that he was intoxicated—­a great disgrace for an honorable painter.  The stout, smiling gentleman from the arbor, who was—­as I afterward learned—­a great connoisseur and patron of Art, and who was always ready to lend his aid for the love of Science, had thrown aside his baton, and showed his broad face, fairly shining with good humor, in the midst of the thickest confusion, zealously striving to restore peace and order, but regretting between-whiles the loss of the long cadenza, and of the beautiful tableau which he had taken such pains to arrange.

In my heart all was as serenely bright as on that blissful Sunday when I had played on my fiddle far into the night at the open window where stood the flask of wine.  Since the rumpus showed no signs of abating, I hastily pulled out my violin, and without more ado played an Italian dance, popular among the mountains, which I had learned at the old castle in the forest.

Page 187

All turned their heads to listen.  “Bravo!  Bravissimo!  A delicious idea!” cried the merry connoisseur of Art, running from one to another to arrange a rustic divertissement, as he called it.  He made a beginning himself by leading out the lady who had played the guitar in the arbor.  Thereupon he began to dance with extraordinary artistic skill, and describe all sorts of letters on the grass with the points of his toes, really trilling with his feet, and now and then jumping pretty high in the air.  But he soon had enough of it, for he was rather corpulent.  His jumps grew fewer and clumsier, until at last he withdrew from the circle, puffing violently, and mopping the moisture from his forehead with a snowy pocket-handkerchief.  Meanwhile, the young man, who had regained his composure, brought from the inn some castanets, and before I was aware all were dancing merrily beneath the trees.  The sun had set, but the crimson sky in the west cast bright reflections among the shadows, and upon the old walls and the half-buried columns covered with ivy in the depths of the garden, while below the vineyards we could see the Eternal City bathed in the evening glow.  The dance in the still, clear air was charming, and my heart within me laughed to see how the slender girls and the lady’s-maid glided among the trees with arms upraised like heathen wood-nymphs, and kept time to the music with their castanets.  At last I could no longer restrain myself; I joined their ranks, and danced away merrily, still fiddling all the time.

I had been hopping about thus for some minutes, not noticing that the others were beginning to be tired and were dropping out of the dance, when I felt some one twitch me by the coat-tail.  It was the lady’s-maid.  “Don’t be a fool,” she said under her breath; “you are jumping about like a kid!  Read your note, and come soon; the beautiful young Countess awaits you.”  She slipped out of the garden in the twilight and vanished among the vineyards.

My heart beat fast; I longed to follow her.  Fortunately, a waiter was just lighting the lantern over the garden gate.  I took out my note, which contained a somewhat rudely penciled plan of the gate and the streets leading to it, just as I had been directed by the lady’s-maid, and in addition the words “Eleven o’clock, at the little door.”

Two long hours to wait!  Nevertheless I should have set out immediately, for I could not stay still, had not the painter, who had brought me hither, rushed up.  “Did you speak to the girl?” he asked.  “I cannot see her now.  It was the German Countess’s maid.”  “Hush, hush!” I replied; “the Countess is still in Rome.”  “So much the better,” said the painter; “come then and drink her health.”  And in spite of all I could say he forced me to return to the garden with him.

Page 188

It looked quite deserted.  The merry company had departed, and were sauntering toward Rome, each lad with his lass upon his arm.  We could hear them talking and laughing among the vineyards in the quiet evening, until at last their voices died away in the valley below, lost in the rustling of the trees and the murmur of the stream.  I stayed with my painter and Herr Eckbrecht, which was the name of the other young painter who had been quarreling with the maid.  The moon shone brilliantly through the tall, dark evergreens; a candle on the table before us flickered in the breeze and gleamed over the wine spilled copiously around it.  I had to sit down with my companions, and my painter chatted with me about my native village, my travels, and my plans for the future.  Herr Eckbrecht had seated upon his knee the pretty girl who had brought us our wine, and was teaching her the accompaniment of a song on the guitar.  Her slender fingers soon picked out the correct chords, and they sang together an Italian song; first he sang a verse, and then the girl sang the next; it sounded deliciously, in the clear, bright evening.  When the girl was called away, Herr Eckbrecht, taking no further notice of us, leaned back on his bench with his feet on a low stool and played and sang many an exquisite song.  The stars glittered; the landscape turned to silver in the moonlight; I thought of the Lady fair, and of my far-off home, and quite forgot the painter at my side.  Herr Eckbrecht had occasionally to tune his instrument; whereat he grew downright angry, and at last he screwed a string so tight that it broke, whereupon he tossed aside the guitar and sprang to his feet, noticing for the first time that my painter had laid his head on his arm upon the table and was fast asleep.  He hastily wrapped around him a white cloak which hung on a bough near by, then suddenly paused, glanced keenly at my painter, and then at me several times, then seated himself on the table directly in front of me, cleared his throat, settled his cravat, and instantly began to hold forth to me.  “Beloved hearer and fellow-countryman,” he said, “since the bottles are nearly empty, and morality is indisputably the first duty of a citizen when the virtues are on the wane, I feel myself moved, out of sympathy for a fellow-countryman, to present for your consideration a few moral axioms.  It might be supposed,” he went on, “that you are a mere youth, whereas your coat has evidently seen its best years; it might be supposed that you had leaped about like a satyr; nay, some might maintain that you are a vagabond, because you are out here in the country and play the fiddle; but I am influenced by no such superficial considerations; I form my judgment on your delicately chiseled nose; I take you for a strolling genius.”  His ambiguous phrases irritated me; I was about to retort sharply.  But he gave me no chance to speak.  “Observe,” he said, “how you are puffed up by a modicum of praise.  Retire within yourself and ponder

Page 189

upon your perilous vocation.  We geniuses—­for I am one too—­care as little for the world as it cares for us; without any ado, in the seven-league boots which we bring into the world with us, we stride on directly into eternity.  A most lamentable, inconvenient straddling position this—­one leg in the future, where nothing is to be discerned but the rosy morn and the faces of future children, the other leg still in the middle of Rome, in the Piazza del Popolo, where the entire present century would fain seize the opportunity to advance, and clings to the boot tight enough to pull the leg off!  And then all this restlessness, wine-bibbing, and hunger solely for an immortal eternity!  And look you at my comrade there on the bench, another genius; his time hangs heavy on his hands here and now, what under heaven is he to do in eternity?  Yes, my highly-esteemed comrade, you and I and the sun rose early together this morning, and have pondered and painted all day long, and it was all beautiful—­and now the drowsy night passes its furred sleeve over the world and wipes out all the colors.”  He kept on talking for a long while, his hair all disheveled with dancing and drinking, and his face looking deadly pale in the moonlight.

But I was seized with a horror of him and of his wild talk, and when he turned and addressed the sleeping painter I took advantage of the opportunity and slipped round the table, without being perceived by him, and out of the garden.  Thence, alone and glad at heart, I descended through the vine-trellises into the wide moonlit valley.

The clocks in the city were striking ten.  Behind me, in the quiet night, I still heard an occasional note of the guitar, and at times the voices of the two painters, going home at last, were audible.  I ran on as quickly as possible, that they might not overtake me.

At the city-gate I turned into the street on the right hand, and hurried on with a throbbing heart among the silent houses and gardens.  To my amazement, I suddenly found myself in the very Square with the fountain, for which, by daylight, I had vainly searched.  There stood the solitary summer-house again in the glorious moonlight, and again the Lady fair was singing the same Italian song as on the evening before.  In an ecstasy I tried first the low door, then the house door, and at last the big garden gate, but all were locked.  Then first it occurred to me that eleven had not yet struck.  I was irritated by the slow flight of time, but good manners forbade my climbing over the garden gate as I had done yesterday.  Therefore I paced the lonely Square to and fro for a while, and at last again seated myself upon the basin of the fountain and resigned myself to meditation and calm expectancy.

The stars twinkled in the skies; the Square was quiet and deserted; I listened with delight to the song of the Lady fair, as it mingled with the ripple of the fountain.  All at once I perceived a white figure approach from the opposite side of the Square and go directly toward the little garden door.  I peered eagerly through the dazzling moonlight—­it was the queer painter in his white cloak.  He drew forth a key quickly, unlocked the door, and, before I knew it, was within the garden.

Page 190

I had from the first entertained a special dislike of this painter on account of his nonsensical talk.  But now I fell into a rage with him.  “The low fellow is certainly intoxicated again,” I thought; “he has got the key from the maid, and intends to surprise, and perhaps to assault, the Lady fair.”  And I rushed precipitately through the low door, which was still open, into the garden.

When I entered, all was quiet and lonely.  The folding-doors of the summer-house were open, and a ray of lamplight issuing from it played upon the grass and flowers near.  Even from a distance I could see the interior.  In a magnificent apartment, hung with green and partially illumined by a lamp with a white shade, the lovely Lady fair with her guitar was reclining on a silken lounge, never dreaming, in her innocence, of the danger without.

I had not much time, however, to look, for I perceived the white figure among the shrubbery, stealthily approaching the summer-house from the opposite side, while the song floating on the air from the house was so melancholy that it went to my very soul.  I therefore took no long time for reflection, but broke off a stout bough from a tree, and rushed at the white-cloaked figure, shouting “Murder!” so that the garden rang again.

The painter when he beheld me appear thus unexpectedly took to his heels, screaming frightfully.  I screamed louder still.  He ran toward the house, and I after him, and I had very nearly caught him, when I became entangled in some plaguy trailing vines, and measured my length upon the ground just before the front door.

“So it is you, is it, you fool!” I heard some one say above me.  “You frightened me nearly to death.”  I picked myself up, and when I had wiped my eyes clear of dust, I saw before me the lady’s-maid, from whose shoulders the white cloak was just falling.  “But,” said I, in confusion, “was not the painter here?” “He was,” she replied, saucily; “at least his cloak was, which he put around me when I met him at the gate, because I was cold.”  The Lady fair, hearing the noise, sprang up from the lounge and came out to us.  My heart beat as if it would burst; but what was my dismay when I looked at her, and instead of the lovely Lady fair saw an entire stranger!

She was a rather tall, stout lady, with a haughty, hooked nose and high-arched black eyebrows, very beautiful and imposing.  She looked at me so majestically out of her big, glittering eyes that I was overwhelmed with awe.  So confused was I that I could only make bow after bow, and at last I attempted to kiss her hand.  But she snatched it from me, and said something in Italian to her maid which I could not understand.

Meanwhile, the racket I had made had aroused the entire neighborhood.  Dogs barked, children screamed, and men’s voices were heard, approaching the garden.  The Lady gave me another glance, as though she would have liked to pierce me through and through with fiery bullets, then turned hastily and went into the room, with a haughty, forced laugh, slamming the door directly in my face.  The maid seized me by the sleeve and pulled me toward the garden gate.

Page 191

“Your stupidity is beyond belief!” she said in the most spiteful way as we went along.  I too was furious.  “What the devil did you mean,” I said, “by telling me to come here?” “That’s just it!” exclaimed the girl.  “My Countess favored you so—­first threw flowers out of the window to you, sang songs—­and this is her reward!  But there is absolutely nothing to be done with you; you positively throw away your luck.”  “But,” I rejoined, “I meant the Countess from Germany, the lovely Lady fair—­” “Oh,” she interrupted me, “she went back to Germany long ago, with your crazy passion for her.  And you’d better run after her!  No doubt she is pining for you, and you can play the fiddle together and gaze at the moon, only for pity’s sake let me see no more of you!”

All was confusion about us by this time.  People from the next garden were climbing over the fence armed with clubs, others were searching among the paths and avenues; frightened faces in nightcaps appeared here and there in the moonlight; it seemed as if the devil had let loose upon us a mob of evil spirits.  The lady’s-maid was nowise daunted.  “There, there goes the thief!” she called out to the people, pointing across the garden.  Then she pushed me out of the gate and clapped it to behind me.

There I stood once more beneath the stars in the deserted Square, as forlorn as when I had seen it first the day before.  The fountain, which had but now seemed to sparkle as merrily in the moonlight as if cherubs were flitting up and down in it, plashed on, but all joy and happiness were buried beneath its waters.  I determined to turn my back forever on treacherous Italy, with its crazy painters, its oranges, and its lady’s-maids, and that very hour I wandered forth through the gate.

CHAPTER IX

  On guard the faithful mountains stand: 
    “Who wanders o’er the moorland there
    From other climes, in morning fair?”
  And as I look far o’er the land,
    For very glee my heart laughs out. 
  The joyous “vivats” then I shout;
  Watchword and battle-cry shall be: 
    Austria, for thee!

  The landscape far and near I know;
    The birds and brooks and forests fair
    Send me their greetings on the air;
  The Danube sparkles down below;
    St. Stephen’s spire far in the blue
    Seems waving me a welcome too. 
  Warm to its core my heart shall be,
    Austria, for thee!

I was standing on the summit of a mountain whence the first view of Austria can be had, and I waved my hat joyfully in the air as I sang the last verse, when suddenly from the forest behind me some fine instrumental music joined in.  I turned quickly and perceived three young fellows in long blue cloaks, one playing a hautboy, another a clarionet, and the third, who wore an old three-cornered hat, a horn.  They played an accompaniment to my song, which made

Page 192

the woods ring again.  I, nothing loath, took out my fiddle, and played and sang with a will.  Then one glanced meaningly at the others; he who played the horn stopped puffing out his cheeks and took the instrument down from his mouth; at last they all ceased playing, and stared at me.  I ended my performance also, and in turn stared at them.  “We supposed,” the cornetist said at last, “from the length of the gentleman’s coat that he was a traveling Englishman, journeying afoot here to admire the beauties of nature, and we thought we might perhaps earn a trifle for our own travels.  But the gentleman seems to be a musician himself.”  “Properly speaking, a Receiver,” I interposed, “and I come at present directly from Rome; but, as it is some time since I received anything, I have paid my way with my violin.” “’Tis not worth much nowadays,” said the cornetist, as he betook himself to the woods again, and began fanning with his cocked hat a fire that they had kindled there.  “Wind-instruments are more profitable,” he continued.  “When a noble family is seated quietly at their mid-day meal, and we unexpectedly enter their vaulted vestibule and all three begin to blow with all our might, a servant is sure to come running out to us with money or food, just to get rid of the noise.  But will you not share our repast?”

The fire in the forest was burning cheerily, the morning was fresh; we all sat down on the grass, and two of the musicians took from the fire a can in which there was coffee with milk.  Then they brought forth some bread from the pockets of their cloaks, and each dipped it in the can and drank turn about with such relish that it was a pleasure to see them.  But the cornetist said, “I never could endure the black slops,” and, after handing me a huge slice of bread and butter, he brought out a bottle of wine, from which he offered me a draught.  I took a good pull at it, but had to put it down in a hurry with my face all of a pucker, for it tasted like “old Gooseberry.”  “The wine of the country,” said the cornetist; “but Italy has probably spoilt your German taste.”

Then he rummaged in his wallet, and finally produced from among all sorts of rubbish an old, tattered map of the country, in the corner of which the emperor in his royal robes was still to be discerned, a sceptre in his right hand, the orb in his left.  This map he carefully spread out upon the ground; the others drew nearer, and they all consulted together as to their route.

“The vacation is nearly over,” said one; “let us turn to the left as soon as we leave Linz, so as to be in Prague in time.”  “Upon my word!” exclaimed the cornetist.  “Whom do you propose to pipe to on that road?  Nobody there save wood-choppers and charcoal-burners; no culture nor taste for art—­no station where one can spend a night for nothing!” “Oh, nonsense!” rejoined the other.  “I like the peasants best; they know where the shoe pinches, and are not so particular if you sometimes blow a false note.” 

Page 193

“That is, you have no point d’honneur,” said the cornetist. “Odi profanum vulgus et arceo, as the Latin has it.”  “Well, there must be some churches on the road,” struck in the third; “we can stop at the Herr Pastors’.”  “No, I thank you,” said the cornetist; “they give little money, but long sermons on the folly of philandering about the world when we might be acquiring knowledge, and they wax specially eloquent when they sniff in me a future member of their fraternity.  No, no, clericus clericum non decimat.  But why be in such a hurry?  The Herr Professors are still at Carlsbad, and are sure not to be precise about the very day.”  “Nay, distinguendum est inter et inter,” replied the other; “quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi!”

I now saw that they were students from Prague, and I conceived a great respect for them, especially as they spoke Latin like their mother-tongue.  “Is the gentleman a student?” the cornetist asked me.  I replied modestly that I had always been very fond of study, but that I had had no money.  “That’s of no consequence,” said the cornetist; “we have neither money nor rich patrons, but we get along by mother-wit. Aurora musis amica, which means, being interpreted, ’Do not waste too much time at breakfast.’  But when the bells at noon echo from tower to tower, and from mountain to mountain, and the scholars crowd out of the old dark lecture-room, and swarm shouting through the streets, we betake us to the Capuchin monastery, to the father who presides in the refectory, where there is sure to be a table spread for us, or if not actually spread, there will be at least a dish apiece, and we fall to, and perfect ourselves at the same time in our Latin.  So you see we study right ahead from day to day.  And when at last the vacation comes, and all the others depart for their homes, by coach or on horseback, then we stroll forth through the streets and through the city gate with our instruments under our cloaks and the world before us.”

I can’t tell how it was, but, while he spoke, the thought that such learned people were so forlorn and forsaken in this world went to my very heart.  And then I thought of myself, and how I was not much better off, and the tears came into my eyes.  The cornetist eyed me askance.  “I wouldn’t give a fig,” he went on, “to travel with horses, and coffee, and freshly-made beds, and nightcaps and boot-jacks, all ordered beforehand.  It’s just the delightful part of it that, when we set out early in the morning, and the birds of passage are winging their flight high in the air above us, we do not know what chimney is smoking for us today, and can never foresee what special piece of luck may befall us before evening.”  “Yes,” said the other, “and wherever we go, and take out our instruments, people are merry; and when we play at noon in the vestibule of some great country-house, the maids will dance before the door, and their masters and mistresses will have the drawing-room door opened

Page 194

a little, the better to hear the music, and the clatter of plates and the smell of the roast float out through the chink, and the young misses at table well-nigh twist their necks off to see the musicians outside.”  “That’s true!” exclaimed the cornetist, with sparkling eyes.  “Let who will pore over their compendiums, we choose to study in the vast picture-book which the dear God spreads open before us!  Yes, the gentleman may believe me, we make the right sort of fellows, who know how to preach to the peasants from the pulpit and to bang the cushion, so that the clodpoles down below are ready to burst with humiliation and edification.”

At hearing them talk thus, I became so pleased and interested that I longed to be a student too.  I could have listened forever, for I enjoy the conversation of men of learning, from whom much is to be gained.  But we had no real, sensible conversation, for one of the students was worried because the vacation was so nearly at an end.  He put his clarionet together, set up a sheet of music on his knees, and began to practice a difficult passage from a mass which was to be played when they returned to Prague.  There he sat and fingered and played away, sometimes so false that it fairly pierced your ears and you couldn’t hear your own voice.

Suddenly the cornetist exclaimed in his bass tones, “I have it!” and down came his fist on the map before him.  The other stopped practising for a moment, and looked at him in surprise.  “Hark ye,” said the cornetist, “there is a castle not far from Vienna, and in that castle there is a porter, and that porter is my cousin!  Dearest fellow-students, that must be our goal; we must pay our respects to my cousin, and he will arrange for our further journey.”  When I heard that, I sprang to my feet.  “Doesn’t he play on the bassoon?” I cried.  “Is he not tall and straight, with a big, prominent nose?” The cornetist nodded, upon which I embraced him so enthusiastically that his three-cornered hat fell off, and we all immediately determined to take the mail-boat on the Danube to the castle of the beautiful Countess.

When we arrived at the wharf all was ready for departure.  The fat host before whose inn the ship had lain all night was standing broad and cheery in his door-way, which he quite filled, shouting out all sorts of jokes and farewell speeches, while from every window a girl’s head was poked out nodding to the sailors, who were just carrying the last packages aboard.  An elderly gentleman with a gray overcoat and a black neckerchief, who was also going in the boat, stood on the shore talking very earnestly with a slim young fellow in leather breeches and a trig scarlet jacket, mounted on a magnificent chestnut.  To my great surprise, they seemed to glance at times toward me, and to be speaking of me.  At last the old gentleman laughed, and the slim young fellow cracked his riding-whip and galloped off through the fresh morning across the shining landscape, with the larks soaring above him.

Page 195

Meanwhile, the students and I had combined our resources.  The captain laughed and shook his head when the cornetist counted out our passage-money to him in coppers, for which we had diligently searched every corner of our pockets.  I shouted aloud when I once more saw the Danube before me; we hurried aboard, the captain gave the signal, and away we glided in the brilliant morning sunshine past the meadows and the mountains.

The birds in the woods were singing, and the morning bells echoed afar from the villages on each side of us, while overhead the larks’ clear notes were now and then heard.  On the boat a canary-bird in its cage trilled and twittered back so that it was a delight to listen to it.

It belonged to a pretty young girl who was on the boat with us.  She kept the cage close beside her, and under the other arm she had a small bundle of linen; she sat by herself, quite still, looking in great content, now at her new traveling-shoes, which peeped out from beneath her petticoats, and now down at the water, while the morning sun shone on her white forehead, above which the hair was neatly parted.  I noticed that the students would have liked to engage her in polite discourse, for they kept passing to and fro before her, and the cornetist, whenever he did so, cleared his throat, and settled, first his cravat, and then his three-cornered hat.  But their courage failed them, and moreover the girl cast down her eyes as soon as they, approached her.

They seemed, besides, to stand in special awe of the elderly gentleman in the gray overcoat, who was now sitting on the other side of the boat, and whom they took for a divine.  He held an open breviary, in which he was reading, looking up from it frequently to admire the lovely scenery, while the gilt edges of the book and the gay pictures of saints laid between its leaves shone brilliantly in the sun light.  He was perfectly well aware, too, of what was going on around him, and soon recognized the birds by their feathers, for before long he addressed one of the students in Latin, whereupon all three approached him, took off their hats, and made answer also in Latin.

Meanwhile, I had seated myself at the prow of the boat, where, highly delighted, I dangled my legs above the water, gazing, while the boat glided onward and the waves below me leaped and foamed, constantly into the blue distance, watching towers and castles one after another emerge from the dim depths of green, grow and grow upon the sight, and finally recede and vanish behind us.  “If I had but wings at this moment!” I thought; and at last in my impatience I drew forth my dear violin and played all my oldest pieces, which I had learned at home and at the castle of the Lady fair.

All at once some one behind me tapped me on the shoulder.  It was the reverend gentleman, who had laid aside his book, and had been listening to me for a while.  “Aha,” he said laughing, “aha, my young ludi magister is forgetting to eat and drink!” Whereupon he bade me put away my fiddle and take a bit of luncheon with him, and he then led me to a pleasant little arbor which the boatmen had erected in the centre of the boat out of young birches and firs.  He had a table placed beneath it, and I and the students, and even the young girl, were invited to sit down around it upon the casks and packages.

Page 196

The reverend gentleman now produced cold meat and bread and butter, which had all been carefully wrapped in paper, and took from a case several bottles of wine and a silver goblet, gilt inside, which he filled, tasted first himself, then smelled, tasted again, and finally presented to each of us in turn.  The students sat bolt upright on their casks, and only sipped a little, so great was their awe.  The girl, too, just dipped her little beak in the goblet, glancing shyly first at me and then at the students; but the oftener she looked at us the bolder she grew.

At last she informed the reverend gentleman that she was leaving her home for the first time, to go into service at a certain castle, and as she spoke I blushed all over, for the castle she mentioned was that of the Lady fair.  “Then she is my future lady’s maid!” I thought, staring at her, and feeling almost giddy.  “There is soon to be a grand wedding at the castle,” said his reverence.  “Yes,” replied the girl, who would have liked to learn more of the matter; “they say it is an old secret attachment, but that the Countess could never be brought to give her consent.”  His reverence replied only by “hm! hm!” refilling his goblet, and sipping from it with a thoughtful air.  I leaned forward with both elbows on the table, that I might lose no word of the conversation.  His reverence observed it.  “Let me tell you,” he began again, “that both Countesses sent me forth to discover whether the bridegroom be not in the country hereabouts.  A lady wrote from Rome that he left there some time ago.”  When he began about the lady in Rome I blushed again.  “Is your reverence acquainted with the bridegroom?” I asked, in confusion.  “No,” replied the old gentleman; “but they say he is a gay bird.”  “Oh, yes,” said I, hastily, “a bird that escapes as soon as it can from every cage, and sings gaily when it regains its freedom.”  “And wanders about in foreign countries,” the old gentleman continued, composedly, “goes everywhere at night, and sleeps on door-steps in the daytime.”  That vexed me extremely.  “Reverend sir,” I exclaimed, with some heat, “you have been falsely informed.  The bridegroom is a slender, moral, promising youth, who has been living in luxury in an old castle in Italy, and has associated solely with Countesses, famous painters, and lady’s-maids, who knows perfectly well how to take care of his money, if he had any, who—­” “Come, come, I had no idea that you knew him so well,” the divine here interrupted me, laughing so heartily that he grew quite purple in the face and the tears rolled down his cheeks.  “But I heard,” the girl interposed, “that the bridegroom was a stout, very wealthy gentleman.”  “Good heavens, yes, yes, to be sure!  Confusion worse confounded!” exclaimed his reverence, laughing so that it brought on a fit of coughing.  When he had somewhat recovered himself, he raised his goblet aloft and cried, “Here’s to the bridal pair!” I did not know what to make of the reverend gentleman and his talk, and I was ashamed, because of my adventures in Rome, to tell him here before all these people that I myself was the missing thrice happy bridegroom.

Page 197

The goblet kept passing from hand to hand; the reverend gentleman had a kind word for every one, so that all liked him, and finally the entire company chatted gaily together.  The students grew more and more loquacious, recounting their experiences in the mountains, and at last brought out their instruments and played away merrily.  The cool breeze from the water sighed through the leaves of the arbor, the afternoon sun gilded the woods and vales which flew past us, while the shores echoed back the notes of the horn.  And when the reverend gentleman, stimulated by the music, grew more and more genial, and told us stories of his youth, how in vacation-time he too had wandered over hills and dales, and had been often hungry and thirsty, but always happy, and how, in fact, a student’s whole life, from its first day in the narrow, dry lecture-room to its last, is one long vacation, then the students drank all around once more, and struck up a song, that reechoed among the distant mountains

  “The birds are southward winging
    Their yearly, airy flight,
  And roving lads are swinging
    Their caps in morning’s light;
  We students thus are going,
    And, when the gates are nigh,
  Our trumpets shall be blowing,
    In token of good-bye. 
  A long farewell we give thee,
  O Prague, for we must leave thee,
  Et habeat bonam pacem,
  Qui sedet post fornacem
!

  “When through the towns we’re going
    At night, the windows shine,
  Behind their curtains showing
    Full many a damsel fine. 
  We play at many a gate-way,
    And when our throats are dry
  We call mine host, and straightway
    He treats us generously;
  And o’er a goblet foaming
  We rest awhile from roaming.
  Venit ex sua domo—­
  Beatus ille homo
!

  “When roaming through the forest
    Cold Boreas whistles shrill,
  ’Tis then our need is sorest;
    Wet through on plain and hill,
  Our cloaks the winds are tearing,
    Our shoes are worn and old,
  Still playing, onward faring,
    In spite of rain and cold.
  Beatus ille homo
  Qui sedet in sua domo
  Et sedet post fornacem,
  Et habeat bonam pacem!"

I, the captain, and the girl, although we did not understand Latin, joined gaily in the last lines of each verse; but I was the gayest of all, for I had caught a glimpse in the distance of my toll-house, and soon afterward the castle shone among the trees in the light of the setting sun.

CHAPTER X

The boat touched the shore, and we all left it as quickly as possible, and scattered about in the meadows, like birds suddenly set free from the cage.  The reverend gentleman took a hasty leave of us, and strode off toward the castle.  The students repaired to a retired dingle, where they could shake out their cloaks, wash themselves in the brook, and shave one another.  The new lady’s-maid, with her canary-bird and her bundle, set out for an inn, the hostess of which I had recommended to her as an excellent person, and where she wished to change her gown before she presented herself at the castle.  As for me—­the lovely evening shone right into my heart, and as soon as all the rest had disappeared I lost not a moment, but ran directly to the castle garden.

Page 198

My toll-house, which I had to pass, was standing on the old spot, the tall trees in the castle garden were still murmuring above it, and a yellow-hammer, which always used to sing at sunset in the chestnut-tree before the window, was singing again, as if nothing in the world had happened since I last heard him.  The toll-house window was open; I ran up to it with delight and looked in.  There was no one there, but the clock in the corner was ticking away, the writing-table stood by the window, and the long pipe in the corner as of old.  I could not resist the temptation to climb through the window and seat myself at the writing-table before the big account-book.  Again the sunlight shone golden-green through the chestnut boughs upon the figures in the open book, again the bees buzzed in and out of the window, and again the yellow-hammer’s jocund song sounded from the tree outside.  All at once the door of the sleeping-room opened, and a tall, old Receiver, in my dotted dressing-gown, entered!  He paused on the threshold upon beholding me thus unexpectedly, took his spectacles quickly from his nose, and looked angrily at me.  Not a little alarmed, I started up, and, without saying a word, ran out of the door and through the little garden, where I was very nearly tripped up by the confounded potato-vines which the old Receiver had planted, evidently by the Porter’s advice, in place of my flowers.  I heard him as he came out of the door scolding after me, but I was mounted atop of the garden wall, and gazing with a throbbing heart over into the castle garden.

Ah, how the birds were flitting and twittering and singing!  The lawns and paths were deserted, but the gilded tree-tops nodded a welcome to me in the evening breeze, and on one side, up through masses of dark green foliage, gleamed the Danube.

Suddenly I heard sung from the depths of the garden—­

  “When the yearning heart is stilled
    As in dreams, the forest sighing,
    To the listening earth replying,
  Tells the thoughts with which ’twas filled,
    Days long vanished, soothing sorrow—­
    From the Past a light they borrow,
  And the heart is gently thrilled.”

The voice and the song were strangely familiar, as if I had heard them somewhere in a dream.  I pondered over and over again, and at last exclaimed, joyfully, “It is Herr Guido!” swinging myself quickly down into the garden.  It was the selfsame song that he had sung on the balcony of the Italian inn on that summer evening when I saw him for the last time.

He went on singing, while I bounded over beds and hedges toward the singer.  But as I emerged from between the last clumps of rose-bushes I suddenly paused spellbound.  For on the green opening beside the little lake with the swans, clearly illuminated in the ruddy evening light, on a stone bench sat the lovely Lady fair in a beautiful dress, with a wreath of red and white roses on her dark-brown hair, and

Page 199

downcast eyes, tracing lines on the green-sward with her riding-whip, just as she had sat in the skiff when I was forced to sing her the song of the Lady fair.  Opposite her sat another young lady, with brown curls clustering on a plump white neck, which was turned toward me; she was singing to a guitar, while the swans glided in wide circles on the placid water.  All at once the Lady fair raised her eyes, and gave a scream on perceiving me.  The other lady turned round toward me so quickly that her brown curls fell over her eyes, and when she saw me she burst into a fit of immoderate laughter, sprang up from the bench, and clapped her hands thrice.  Whereupon a crowd of little girls in white short skirts with red and green sashes came running out from among the rose-bushes, so that I could not imagine where they had all been hiding.  They had long garlands of flowers in their hands, and quickly formed a circle around me, dancing and singing—­

  “With ribbons gay of violets blue
    The bridal wreath we bring thee;
  The merry dance we lead thee to,
    And wedding songs we sing thee. 
  Ribbons gay of violets blue,
    Bridal wreath we bring thee.”

It was from Der Freischuetz.  I recognized some of the little singers; they were girls from the village.  I pinched their cheeks, and tried to escape from the circle, but the roguish little things would not let me out.  I could not tell what to make of it all, and stood there perfectly dazed.

Suddenly a young man in hunting costume emerged from the shrubbery.  Hardly could I believe my eyes—­it was merry Herr Lionardo!  The little girls now opened the circle and stood as if spell-bound on one foot, with the other stretched out, holding the garlands of flowers high above their heads with both hands.  Herr Lionardo took the hand of the lovely Lady fair, who had risen, and had only now and then glanced at me, and, leading her up to me, said—­

“Love—­on this point philosophers are unanimous—­is one of the most courageous qualities of the human heart; it shatters with a glance of fire the barriers of rank and station, the world is too confined for it, eternity too brief.  It is, so to speak, a poet’s robe, in which every dreamer enwraps himself once in this cold world, for a journey to Arcadia.  And the farther two parted lovers wander from each other, the more beautiful and the richer are the folds of the robe, the more surprising and wonderful is its extent, as it sweeps behind them, so that one really cannot travel far without treading on a couple of such trains.  O beloved Herr Receiver, and bridegroom! although wrapped in this robe you reached the shores of the Tiber, the little hands of your present bride held you fast by the extreme end of the train, and, however you might fiddle and fume, you had to return within the magic influence of her beautiful eyes.  And since this is so, you two dear, foolish people, wrap yourselves both up in this blessed robe, forget all the rest of the world, love like turtle-doves, and be happy!”

Page 200

Hardly had Herr Lionardo finished his speech when the other young lady who had sung the song approached me, crowned me with a wreath of fresh myrtle, and as she was arranging it, with her face close to my own, archly sang—­

  “And therefore do I crown thee,
  And therefore love thee so,
  Because thou oft hast moved me
  With the music of thy bow.”

As she retreated a step or two, “Do you remember the robbers who shook you down from the tree at night?” said she, courtesying, and giving me so arch a glance that my heart danced within me.  Thereupon, without waiting for an answer, she walked around me.  “Actually just the same, without any Italian affectations!  But no! look, look at his fat pockets!” she exclaimed suddenly to the lovely Lady fair.  “Violin, linen, razor, portmanteau, everything stuffed together!” She turned me all round as she spoke, and could scarcely say anything more for laughing.  Meanwhile, the lovely Lady fair was quite silent, and could hardly raise her eyes for shame and confusion.  It seemed to me that at heart she was provoked at all this jesting talk.  At last her eyes filled with tears, and she hid her face on the breast of the other lady, who first looked at her in surprise and then clasped her affectionately in her arms.

I stood there as in a dream.  The longer I looked at the strange lady the more clearly I recognized her; she was in truth no other than—­the young painter, Herr Guido!

I did not know what to say, and was just about to question her, when Herr Lionardo approached her and spoke in an undertone.  “Does he not know yet?” I heard him ask.  She shook her head.  He reflected for a moment, and then said aloud, “No, no, he must be told all immediately, or there will be all kinds of fresh gossip and confusion.”

“Herr Receiver,” he said, turning to me, “we have not much time at present, but do me the favor to exhaust your stock of surprise and wonder as quickly as possible, that you may not hereafter, by questions, and wonderings, and head-shakings among the people about here, revive old tales and give rise to new rumors and suspicions.”  So saying, he drew me aside into the shrubbery, while Fraeulein Guido made passes in the air with the Lady fair’s riding-whip, and shook all her curls down over her eyes, which did not prevent my seeing that she was blushing violently.

“Well, then,” said Herr Lionardo, “Fraeulein Flora, who is trying to look as if she neither knew nor had heard anything of the whole affair, had exchanged hearts in a hurry with somebody.  Whereupon somebody else appears, and with sound of trumpet and drum offers her his heart, and wishes for hers in return.  But her heart is already bestowed upon somebody, and somebody’s heart is in her possession, and that somebody will neither take back his heart nor give back hers.  All the world exclaims—­but have you never read any romances?” I shook my head.  “Well, then, at all events you have

Page 201

taken part in one.  In brief, there was such a jumble with the hearts that somebody—­that is, I—­had to take matters in hand.  I sprang on my horse one warm summer night, mounted Fraeulein Flora as the painter Guido on another, and rode toward the south, to conceal her in one of my lonely castles in Italy till all the fuss about the hearts should be over.  But on the way we were tracked, and from the balcony of the Italian inn before which you kept, sound asleep, such admirable watch, Flora suddenly caught sight of our pursuer.”  “The crooked Signor, then—­” “Was a spy.  Therefore we secretly took to the woods, and left you to travel post alone over our prearranged route.  That misled our pursuer, and my people in the mountain castle besides; they were hourly expecting the disguised Flora, and with more zeal than penetration they took you for the Fraeulein.  Even here at the castle they thought Flora was among the mountains; they inquired about her, they wrote to her—­did you not receive a note?” In an instant I produced the note from my pocket:  “This letter, then—?” “Is addressed to me,” said Fraeulein Flora, who up to this point had seemed to be paying no attention to our conversation.  She snatched the note from me, read it, and put it into her bosom.  “And now,” said Herr Lionardo, “we must hasten to the castle, where they are all waiting for us.  In conclusion, as a matter of course, and as is fitting for every well-bred romance—­discovery, repentance, reconciliation; but we are all happy together once more, and the wedding takes place the day after tomorrow!”

Just as he had finished, a terrific racket of drums and trumpets, horns and clarionets, was suddenly heard in the shrubbery; guns were fired at intervals, loud cheers were given, the little girls began to dance again, and heads appeared among the bushes as if they had grown out of the earth.  I ran and leaped about in all the hurry and scurry, but as it began to grow dark I only gradually recognized all the faces.  The old gardener beat the drum, the students from Prague in their cloaks played away, and among them the Porter fingered his bassoon like mad.  When I suddenly perceived him thus unexpectedly, I ran to him and embraced him with enthusiasm, causing him to play quite out of time.  “Upon my word, if he should travel to the ends of the earth he would never be anything but a goose!” he said to the students, and then went on blowing away at his bassoon in a fury.

Meanwhile, the lovely Lady fair had privately escaped from all the noise and confusion, and had fled like a startled fawn far into the depths of the garden.

I caught sight of her in time and hurried after her.  In their zeal the musicians never noticed us; after a while they thought that we had decamped to the castle, and then the entire band took up the line of march in that direction.

Page 202

We, however, almost at the same moment reached a summer-house on the borders of the garden, whence through the open window there was a view of the wide, deep valley.  The sun had long since set behind the mountains, a rosy haze glimmered in the warm fading twilight, through which the murmur of the Danube ascended clearer and clearer the stiller grew the air.  I looked long at the lovely Countess, who stood before me heated with her flight and so close that I could almost hear her heart beat.  Now that I was alone with her I could find no words to speak, so great was my awe of her.  At last I took heart of grace, and clasped in mine one of her little white hands—­and in one moment her head lay on my breast and my arms were around her.

In an instant she extricated herself and turned to the window to cool her glowing cheeks in the evening air.  “Ah,” I cried, “my heart is full to bursting, but it all seems like a dream to me!” “And to me too,” said the lovely Lady fair.  “When, last summer,” she went on after a while, “I came back with the Countess from Rome where we fortunately found Fraeulein Flora, and had brought her back with us but could hear nothing of you either there or here, I never thought all this would come to pass.  It was only at noon today that Jocky, the good, brisk fellow, came breathless into the court-yard and brought the news that you had come by the mail-boat.”  Then she laughed quietly to herself.  “Do you remember,” she said, “that time when I came out on the balcony?  It was just such an evening as this, and there was music in the garden.”  “And he is really dead?” I asked hastily.  “Whom do you mean?” replied the Lady fair, looking at me in surprise.  “Your ladyship’s husband,” said I, “who was with you on the balcony.”  She flushed crimson.  “What strange fancies you have in your head!” she exclaimed.  “That was the Countess’s son, who had just returned from his travels, and, since it happened to be my birthday, he led me out on the balcony with him that I might have a share of the cheers.  Was that why you ran away?” “Good heavens, yes!” I cried, striking my forehead with my hand.  She shook her head and laughed merrily.

I was so happy there beside her while she went on chatting so confidingly, that I could have sat listening until morning.  I found in my pocket a handful of almonds which I had brought with me from Italy.  She took some, and we sat and cracked them and gazed abroad over the quiet country.  “Do you see that little white villa,” she said after a while, “gleaming over there in the moonlight?  The Count has given us that, with its garden and vineyard; there is where we are to live.  He found out long ago that we cared for each other, and he is very fond of you, for if he had not had you with them when he was running off with Fraeulein Flora they would both have been caught before the Countess had become reconciled to him, and everything would have been spoiled.”  “Good heavens! fairest, sweetest Countess,”

Page 203

I cried out, “my head is fairly spinning with all this unexpected and amazing information; are you talking of Herr Lionardo?” “Yes, yes,” she replied; “that is what he called himself in Italy; he owns all that property over there, and he is going to marry our Countess’s daughter, the lovely Flora.  But why do you call me Countess?” I stared at her.  “I am no Countess,” she went on.  “Our Countess took me into the castle and had me educated under her care when my uncle, the Porter, brought me here a poor little orphan child.”

Ah, what a stone fell from my heart at these words!  “God bless the Porter,” I said in an ecstasy, “for being our uncle!  I always set great store by him.”  “And he would be very fond of you,” she replied, “if you would only comport yourself with more dignity, as he expresses it.  You must dress with greater elegance.”  “Oh,” I exclaimed, enchanted, “an English dress-coat, straw hat, long trousers, and spurs!  And as soon as we’re married we will take a trip to Italy—­to Rome—­where lovely fountains are playing, and we’ll take with us the Prague students, and the Porter!” She smiled quietly, and gave me a happy glance, while the music echoed in the distance, and rockets flew up from the castle above the garden in the quiet night, and the Danube kept murmuring on, and everything, everything was delightful!

ADALBERT VON CHAMISSO

* * * * *

  THE CASTLE OF BONCOURT[37] (1827)

  I dream of the days of my childhood,
    And shake my silvery head. 
  How haunt ye my brain, O visions,
    Methought ye forgotten and dead!

  From the shades of the forest uprises
    A castle so lofty and great;
  Well know I the battlements, towers,
    The arching stone-bridge, and the gate.

  The lions look down from the scutcheon
    On me with familiar face;
  I greet the old friends of my boyhood,
    And speed through the courtyard space.

  There lies the Sphinx by the fountain;
    The fig-tree’s foliage gleams;
  ’Twas there, behind yon windows,
    I dreamt the first of my dreams.

  I tread the aisle of the chapel,
    And search for my fathers’ graves—­
  Behold them!  And there from the pillars
    Hang down the old armor and glaives.

  Not yet can I read the inscription;
    A veil hath enveloped my sight,
  What though through the painted windows
    Glows brightly the sunbeam’s light. 
  Thus gleams, O hall of my fathers,
    Thy image so bright in my mind,
  From the earth now vanished, the ploughshare
    Leaves of thee no vestige behind.

  Be fruitful, lov’d soil, I will bless thee,
    While anguish o’er-cloudeth my brow;
  Threefold will I bless him, whoever
    May guide o’er thy bosom the plough.

  But I will up, up, and be doing;
    My lyre I’ll take in my hand;
  O’er the wide, wide earth will I wander,
    And sing from land to land.

Page 204

[Illustration:  ADALBERT VON CHAMISSO]

* * * * *

  THE LION’S BRIDE[38]

  With myrtle bedecked and in bridal array,
  Comes the keeper’s fair daughter, as blooming as May. 
  She enters the cage of the lion; he lies
  Calm and still at her feet and looks up in her eyes.

  The terrible beast, of whom men are afraid,
  Lies peaceful and tame at the feet of the maid,
  While she, in her tender adorable grace,
  Is stroking his head as the tears stain her face.

  “In the days that are gone, we were playmates so true;
  Like brother and sister we played, I and you. 
  Our love was still constant in joy or in pain—­
  But alas for the days that will ne’er come again!

  “You learned to toss proudly your glorious head,
  And roar, as you tossed it, a warning of dread;
  I grew from a babe to a woman—­you see,
  No longer a light-hearted child I can be.

  “Oh, would that those days had had never an end,
  My splendid strong playmate, my noble old friend! 
  But soon I must go, so my parents decree,
  Away with a stranger—­no more am I free.

  “A man has beheld me, and fancied me fair;
  He has asked for my hand—­and the wreath’s in my hair! 
  Dear faithful old comrade, my girlhood is dead;
  And my sight is bedimmed with the tears I have shed.

  “Do you know what I mean?  Ah, your look is a sign! 
  I have made up my mind, and you need not repine. 
  But yonder he comes who must lead me away—­
  So I’ll give the last kiss to my playmate today!”

  As the last fond farewell with reluctance she took,
  The huge frame so trembled the bars even shook;
  But when, drawing near a strange man he espied,
  A sudden alarm seized the heart of the bride.

  The lion stands guard by the door of the cage—­
  He is lashing his tail, he is roaring with rage. 
  With threats, with entreaties she bids him to cease,
  But in vain—­in his might he denies her release.

  Without are confusion and cries of despair
  “Bring a gun!” shouts the bridegroom; “our one hope is there! 
  I will snatch her away from his horrible claws * *
  But the lion defies him with foam-dripping jaws.

  The girl makes a last frenzied dash for the door—­
  But his past love the beast seems to measure no more;
  The sweet slender body goes down ’neath his might,
  All bleeding and lifeless, a pitiful sight.

  Then, as if he knew well what a crime he had wrought,
  He throws himself down by her, caring for naught;
  He lies all unheeding what dangers remain,
  Till the bullet avenging speeds swift through his brain.

* * * * *

  WOMAN’S LOVE AND LIFE[39] (1830)

  1

  Since mine eyes beheld him,
    Blind I seem to be;
  Wheresoe’er they wander,
    Him alone they see. 
  Round me glows his image,
    In a waking dream;
  From the darkness rising
    Brighter doth it beam.

Page 205

  All is drear and gloomy
    That around me lies;
  Now my sister’s pastimes
    I no longer prize;
  In my chamber rather
    Would I weep alone;
  Since my eyes beheld him
    Blind methinks I’m grown.

  2

  He, the best of all, the noblest,
    O how gentle!  O how kind
  Lips of sweetness, eyes of brightness,
    Steadfast courage, lucid mind.

  As on high, in Heaven’s azure,
    Bright and splendid, beams yon star,
  Thus he in my heaven beameth,
    Bright and splendid, high and far.

  Wander, wander where thou listest,
    I will gaze but on thy beam;
  With humility behold it,
    In a sad, yet blissful dream.

  Hear me not thy bliss imploring
    With prayer’s silent eloquence? 
  Know me now, a lowly maiden,
    Star of proud magnificence!

  May thy choice be rendered happy
    By the worthiest alone! 
  And I’ll call a thousand blessings
    Down on her exalted throne.

  Then I’ll weep with tears of gladness;
    Happy, happy then my lot! 
  If my heart should rive asunder,
    Break, O heart—­it matters not!

  3

  Is it true?  O, I cannot believe it;
    A dream doth my senses enthrall;
  O can he have made me so happy,
    And exalted me thus above all?

  Meseems as if he had spoken,
    “I am thine, ever faithful and true!”
  Meseems—­O still am I dreaming—­
    It cannot, it cannot be true!

  O fain would I, rocked on his bosom,
    In the sleep of eternity lie;
  That death were indeed the most blissful,
    In the rapture of weeping to die.

  4

  Help me, ye sisters,
  Kindly to deck me,
    Me, O the happy one, aid me this morn! 
  Let the light finger
  Twine the sweet myrtle’s
    Blossoming garland, my brow to adorn!

  As on the bosom
  Of my loved one,
    Wrapt in the bliss of contentment, I lay,
  He, with soft longing
  In his heart thrilling,
    Ever impatiently sighed for today.

  Aid me, ye sisters,
  Aid me to banish
    Foolish anxieties, timid and coy,
  That I with sparkling
  Eye may receive him,
    Him the bright fountain of rapture and joy.

  Do I behold thee,
  Thee, my beloved one,
    Dost thou, O sun, shed thy beam upon me? 
  Let me devoutly,
  Let me in meekness
    Bend to my lord and my master the knee!

  Strew, ye fair sisters,
  Flowers before him,
    Cast budding roses around at his feet! 
  Joyfully quitting
  Now your bright circle,
    You, lovely sisters, with sadness I greet.

  5

  Dearest friend, thou lookest
    On me with surprise,
  Dost thou wonder wherefore
    Tears suffuse mine eyes? 
  Let the dewy pearl-drops
    Like rare gems appear,
  Trembling, bright with gladness,
    In their crystal sphere.

Page 206

  With what anxious raptures
    Doth my bosom swell! 
  O had I but language
    What I feel to tell! 
  Come and hide thy face, love,
    Here upon my breast,
  In thine ear I’ll whisper
    Why I am so blest.

  Now the tears thou knowest
    Which my joy confessed,
  Thou shalt not behold them,
    Thou, my dearest, best;
  Linger on my bosom,
    Feel its throbbing tide;
  Let me press thee firmly,
    Firmly, to my side!

  Here may rest the cradle,
    Close my couch beside,
  Where it may in silence
    My sweet vision hide;
  Soon will come the morning,
    When my dream will wake,
  And thy smiling image
    Will to life awake.

  6

  Upon my heart, and upon my breast,
  Thou joy of all joys, my sweetest, best! 
  Bliss, thou art love; O love, thou art bliss—­
  I’ve said it, and seal it here with a kiss. 
  I thought no happiness mine could exceed,
  But now I am happy, O happy indeed! 
  She only, who to her bosom hath pressed
  The babe who drinketh life at her breast;
  ’Tis only a mother the joys can know
  Of love, and real happiness here below. 
  How I pity man, whose bosom reveals
  No joys like that which a mother feels! 
  Thou look’st on me, with a smile on thy brow,
  Thou dear, dear little angel, thou! 
  Upon my heart, and upon my breast,
  Thou joy of all joys, my sweetest, best!

  7

  Ah, thy first wound hast thou inflicted now! 
    But oh! how deep! 
  Hard-hearted, cruel man, now sleepest thou
    Death’s long, long sleep.

  I gaze upon the void in silent grief,
    The world is drear;
  I’ve lived and loved, but now the verdant leaf
    Of life is sere.

  I will retire within my soul’s recess,
    The veil shall fall;
  I’ll live with thee and my past happiness,
    O thou, my all!

[Illustration:  Permission Franz Hanfstaengl, New York MORITZ VON SCHWIND THE WEDDING JOURNEY]

* * * * *

  THE WOMEN OF WEINSBERG[40] (1831)

  It was the good King Konrad with all his army lay
  Before the town of Weinsberg full many a weary day;
  The Guelph at last was vanquished, but still the town held out;
  The bold and fearless burghers they fought with courage stout.

  But then came hunger, hunger!  That was a grievous guest;
  They went to ask for favor, but anger met their quest. 
  “Through you the dust hath bitten full many a worthy knight,
  And if your gates you open, the sword shall you requite!”

  Then came the women, praying:  “Let be as thou hast said,
  Yet give us women quarter, for we no blood have shed!”
  At sight of these poor wretches the hero’s anger failed,
  And soft compassion entered and in his heart prevailed.

Page 207

  “The women shall be pardoned, and each with her shall bear
  As much as she can carry of her most precious ware;
  The women with their burdens unhindered forth shall go,
  Such is our royal judgment—­we swear it shall be so!”

  At early dawn next morning, ere yet the east was bright,
  The soldiers saw advancing a strange and wondrous sight;
  The gate swung slowly open, and from the vanquished town
  Forth swayed a long procession of women weighted down;

  For perched upon her shoulders each did her husband bear—­
  That was the thing most precious of all her household ware. 
  “We’ll stop the treacherous women!” cried all with one intent;
  The chancellor he shouted:  “This was not what we meant!”

  But when they told King Konrad, the good King laughed aloud;
  “If this was not our meaning, they’ve made it so,” he vowed,
  “A promise is a promise, our loyal word was pledge;
  It stands, and no Lord Chancellor may quibble or map hedge.”

  Thus was the royal scutcheon kept free from stain or blot! 
  The story has descended from days now half forgot;
  ’Twas eleven hundred and forty this happened, as I’ve heard,
  The flower of German princes thought shame to break his word.

* * * * *

  THE CRUCIFIX[41] (1830)

  In hopeless contemplation of his work
    The master stood, a frown upon his brow,
  Where shame and self-contempt appeared to lurk.

  With all his art and knowledge he had now
    Portrayed the suffering Savior’s image there—­
  Yet could the marble not with life endow.

  He could not make it live, for all his care—­
    What is not flesh knows not to suffer pain;
  Cold stone can none but stone’s cold likeness bear.

  Beauty and due proportion though it gain,
    The chisel’s marks will never disappear
  And nature wake, howe’er his prayer may strain: 

  “Ah, turn not from me, Nature!  Thou most dear,
    I long to raise thee to undreamed of height—­
  But thou art dumb * * * a sorry bungler’s here!”

  There entered then a loyal neophyte,
    Who looked with reverence on the master’s art
  And stood beside him, flushed with new delight.

  To the same muse was given his young heart,
    The selfsame quest of beauty filled his days—­
  Yet must his soul with endless failure smart.

  To him the master:  “Scorn is in thy praise! 
    If so this dull, dead stone thy mind can fill,
  To death, not life, thou must have turned thy face!”

  Then boldly spoke the youth:  “Admire I will! 
    What though thy Christ for death’s repose prepare
  So strangely silent and so strangely still,

  Yet at a great thing greatly wrought I stare,
    And long to match the marvel that I see;
  I see what is, and thou what should be there.”

Page 208

  The master looked upon him silently,
    His youthful strength, his limbs so straight and fine,
  And deemed there were no model such as he.

  “A prey thou find’st me to despair malign—­
    How get from lifeless marble life and pain? 
  Here nature fails, whose secrets else are mine.

  To seek a hireling’s aid were all in vain;
    And sought I thine, though partner of my aims,
  Naught but a cold refusal should I gain.”

  “Nay,” said the youth, “in art’s and God’s high names,
    I would perform unwearied, unafraid,
  Whate’er of me thy need transcendent claims.”

  He spoke, and straight his beauty disarrayed,
    Showing the fair flower of his youthful grace
  Within the guarded workshop’s sacred shade.

  Entranced the master gazed, and could not chase
    A thought that rose unbidden to his mind—­
  If pain upon that form its lines could trace!

  “The help thou off’rest if I am to find,
    Thee too the cross must raise above the ground * *
  Willing, the youth his gracious limbs resigned.

  With tight cords first his prey the sculptor bound,
    Then brought the hammer and the piercing nails—­
  A martyr’s death must close the destined round!

  The first sharp nail went through, and piteous wails
    Burst from the youth, but no compassion woke;
  An eager eye the look of suffering hails.

  With restless haste redoubled, stroke on stroke
    Achieved the bleeding model that he sought. 
  Calmly to work he went; no word he spoke.

  A hideous joy upon his features wrought—­
    For nature now each shade of anguished woe
  Upon the expiring lovely form had taught.

  Unceasing worked his hands, above, below;
    His heart was to all human feeling dead—­
  But in the marble * * * life began to show!

  Whether in prayer the sufferer bowed his head,
    Or in despairing torment gnashed his teeth,
  Still on the sculptor’s flying fingers sped.

  The pale, exhausted victim, nigh to death,
    As night the third long day of agony
  Is ending, murmurs with his last weak breath,

  “My God, my God, hast Thou forsaken me?”
    The eyes, half raised, sink down, the writhings cease,
  The awful crime has reached its term—­and see

  There, in its glory, stands a masterpiece!

  II

  “My God, my God, hast Thou forsaken me?”
    At midnight in the minster rang the wail;
  Who could have raised it?  ’Twas a mystery.

  At the high altar, where its radiance pale
    A tiny lamp threw out, a form was found
  To move, whence came the faltering accents frail.

  And then it dashed itself upon the ground,
    Its forehead ’gainst the stones, and wildly wept;
  The vaulted roof reechoed with the sound.

Page 209

  Long was the vigil that dim figure kept
    That seemed by tears so strangely comforted;
  None dared its tottering footsteps intercept.

  At last the night’s mysterious hours were sped
    And day returned; but all was silent now,
  And with the dawn the ghostly form had fled.

  The faithful came before their God to bow,
    The canons to the altar reverently. 
  There had been placed above it, none knew how,

  A crucifix whose like none e’er did see;
    Thus, only thus had God His strength put by,
  Thus had He looked upon the blood-stained tree.

  To Him whose suffering brought salvation nigh
    Came sinners for release, a contrite band—­
  And “Christ have mercy!” was the general cry.

  It seems not like the work of mortal hand hand—­
    Who can have set the godlike image there? 
  Who in the dead of night such offering planned?

  It is the master’s, who with anxious care
    Has waited, from the public gaze withdrawn,
  To show the utmost that his art can dare.

  What shall we bring him for his ease foregone
    And brain o’ertasked?  Gold is but sorry meed—­
  His head a crown of laurel shall put on!—­

  So soon a great procession was decreed
    Of priests and laymen; marching in the van
  Went one who bore the recompense agreed.

  They came where dwelt the venerated man—­
    And found an open door, an empty house;
  They called his name, and naught but echoes ran.

  The drums and cymbals all the neighbors rouse
    And trumpets shrill their joy; but none appears
  To see the grateful people pay their vows.

  He is not there, the grave assemblage hears;
    A neighbor, waking early, like a ghost
  Saw him steal forth, a prey to nameless fears.

  From room to room they went—­their pains were lost;
    In all the desolate chambers there was none
  That answered them, or came to play the host.

  They called aloud, let in the cheerful sun
    Through opened windows—­in their anxious round
  Into the workshop entrance last they won * * *,

  Ah, speak not of the horror there they found!

  III

  They have brought a captive home, and raging told
    That he is stained with foulest blasphemy,
  Mocks their false prophet with his insults bold.

  It is the pilgrim we were used to see
    For penance roaming ‘neath our palm-trees’ shade,
  Till at the Holy Grave he might be free.

  Will he, when comes the hangman, unafraid
    A Christian’s courage show in face of wrong? 
  God strengthen him on whom he cries for aid!

  Ah yes—­though life is sweet, his will is strong,
    His mind made up; he yields him to their hands,
  Content to shed his blood in torment long.

  Nay, look not yonder, where the savage bands
    And merciless prepare a hideous deed—­
  Perchance a like dread fate before us stands!

Page 210

  He comes, a victim led * * * yet will he bleed? 
    I see a wondrous radiance in his face,
  As though unlooked-for safety were decreed!

  Can he have bought it * * *?  No! they stride apace
    Toward the blood-stained spot—­it is to be. 
  The martyr’s palm his confident brow shall grace.

  “Weep not!  No tears of pity flowed from me
    When to the cross the tender youth I bound—­
  My heart of stone ignored his misery.”

  So, hounded by remorse, the sinner found
    The path of expiation, firmly trod,
  Cain’s brand upon him, all the dreadful round.

  “Thou who didst die for me, all-pitying God,
    Wilt Thou vouchsafe my tortures now an end? 
  I have not asked deliverance from Thy rod,

  Nor hoped Thou shouldst to me Thy mercy lend. 
    ’Tis life, not death, that is so hard to bear * * *
  Into Thy hands my spirit I commend!”

  So when the ruffian captors seized him there
    And bound him to the cross, he calmly smiled;
  ’Twas they that watched whose brows were lined with care.

  And as his limbs were torn with anguish wild,
    And he was lifted ’mid the throng on high,
  White peace came down upon his soul defiled.

  In passionate prayer the faithful watched him die
    That stood beneath the cross; his lips were still—­
  His suffering was one long atoning cry.

  The day passed, and the night; with dauntless will
    He yet found strength his torment dire to face. 
  The third day’s sun sank down behind the hill;

  And as the glory of its parting rays
    He strove with glazing eye once more to see,
  With his last breath he cried in joyful praise

  “My God, my God, Thou hast not forsaken me!”

* * * * *

  THE OLD SINGER[42] (1833)

  Once a strange old man went singing,
    Words of scornful admonition
  To the streets and markets bringing: 
      “In the wilds a voice am I! 
    Slowly, slowly seek your mission;
  Naught in haste, or rash endeavor—­
  From the work yet ceasing never
      Slow and sure the hour draws nigh!

  Time’s great branches cease from shaking;
    Blind are ye, devoid of reason,
  If its fruit ye would be taking
      When its blossoms have but burst. 
    Let it ripen to its season,
  Wind within its branches bluster—­
  Of itself the fruits ’twill muster
      For whose juices ripe ye thirst.”

  Wild, excited crowds are scorning
    In their guise the gray old singer,
  Thus reward him for his warning,
      Ape his songs in mockery: 
    “Shall we let the fellow linger
  To disgrace us?  Stone him, beat him,
  With the scorn he merits treat him—­
      Let the world his folly see!”

Page 211

  So the strange old man went singing,
    To the halls of royal splendor
  Scornful admonition bringing: 
      “In the wilds a voice am I! 
    Doubt not, dream not of surrender: 
  Forward, forward, never ceasing,
  Strength in spite of all increasing—­
      Slow and sure the hour draws nigh!

  With the stream, before the breezes
    Wouldst thou show thy strength, then teach it
  Both to conquer as it pleases—­
      Both are weaker than the grave. 
    Choose thy port, and steer to reach it! 
  Threatening rocks?  The rudder’s master;
  Turning back is sure disaster,
      And its end beneath the wave.”

  One was seen to blench in terror,
    Flushing first, then sudden paling: 
  “Who gave entrance—­whose the error
      Let this madman pass along? 
    All things show his wits are failing—­
  Shall he daze our people’s senses? 
  Prison him with sure defenses,
      Silence hold his silly song!”

  But the strange old man went singing
    Where within the tower they bound him—­
  Calm and clear his answer ringing: 
      “In the wilds a voice am I! 
    Though the people’s hate surround him,
  Must the prophet still endeavor,
  From his mission ceasing never—­
      Slow and sure the hour draws nigh!”

* * * * *

  THE OLD WASHERWOMAN[43] (1833)

  Among yon lines her hands have laden,
    A laundress with white hair appears,
  Alert as many a youthful maiden,
    Spite of her five-and-seventy years. 
  Bravely she won those white hairs, still
    Eating the bread hard toil obtain’d her,
  And laboring truly to fulfil
    The duties to which God ordain’d her.

  Once she was young and full of gladness;
    She loved and hoped, was woo’d and won;
  Then came the matron’s cares, the sadness
    No loving heart on earth may shun. 
  Three babes she bore her mate; she pray’d
    Beside his sick-bed; he was taken;
  She saw him in the churchyard laid,
    Yet kept her faith and hope unshaken.

  The task her little ones of feeding
    She met unfaltering from that hour;
  She taught them thrift and honest breeding,
    Her virtues were their worldly dower. 
  To seek employment, one by one,
    Forth with her blessing they departed,
  And she was in the world alone,
    Alone and old, but still high-hearted.

  With frugal forethought, self-denying,
    She gather’d coin and flax she bought,
  And many a night her spindle plying,
    Good store of fine-spun thread she wrought. 
  The thread was fashion’d in the loom;
    She brought it home, and calmly seated
  To work, with not a thought of gloom,
    Her decent grave-clothes she completed.

Page 212

  She looks on them with fond elation,
    They are her wealth, her treasure rare,
  Her age’s pride and consolation,
    Hoarded with all a miser’s care. 
  She dons the sark each Sabbath day,
    To hear the Word that faileth never;
  Well-pleased she lays it then away,
    Till she shall sleep in it forever.

  Would that my spirit witness bore me
    That, like this woman, I had done
  The work my Master put before me,
    Duly from morn till set of sun. 
  Would that life’s cup had been by me
    Quaff’d in such wise and happy measure,
  And that I too might finally
    Look on my shroud with such meek pleasure.

THE WONDERFUL HISTORY OF PETER SCHLEMIHL (1814)

By ADALBERT VON CHAMISSO TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC H. HEDGE

CHAPTER I

After a fortunate, but for me very troublesome voyage, we finally reached the port.  The instant that I touched land in the boat, I loaded myself with my few effects, and passing through the swarming people, I entered the first, and most modest house, before which I saw a sign hang.  I requested a room; the boots measured me with a look, and conducted me into the garret.  I caused fresh water to be brought, and made him exactly describe to me where I should find Mr. Thomas John.  He replied to my inquiry—­“Before the north gate; the first country-house on the right hand; a large new house of red and white marble, with many columns.”

“Good!” It was still early in the day.  I opened at once my bundle; took thence my new black cloth coat; clad myself cleanly in my best apparel; put my letter of introduction into my pocket, and immediately set out on the way to the man who was to promote my modest expectations.

When I had ascended the long North Street, and reached the gate, I soon saw the pillars glimmer through the foliage.  “Here it is, then,” thought I. I wiped the dust from my shoes with my pocket-handkerchief, put my neckcloth in order, and in God’s name rung the bell.  The door flew open.  In the hall I had an examination to undergo; the porter, however, permitted me to be announced, and I had the honor to be called into the park, where Mr. John was walking with a select party.  I recognized the man at once by the lustre of his corpulent self-complacency.  He received me very well—­as a rich man receives a poor devil—­even turned toward me, without turning from the rest of the company, and took the offered letter from my hand.  “So, so, from my brother!  I have heard nothing from him for a long time.  But he is well?  There,” continued he, addressing the company, without waiting for an answer, and pointing with the letter to a hill, “there I am going to erect the new building.”  He broke the seal without breaking off the conversation, which turned upon riches.

“He that is not master of a million, at least,” he observed, “is—­pardon me the word—­a wretch!”

Page 213

“O! how true!” I exclaimed with a rush of overflowing feeling.

That pleased him.  He smiled at me, and said—­“Stay here, my good friend; in a while I shall perhaps have time to tell you what I think about this.”  He pointed to the letter, which he then thrust into his pocket, and turned again to the company.  He offered his arm to a young lady; the other gentlemen addressed themselves to other fair ones; each found what suited him; and all proceeded toward the rose-blossomed mound.

I slid into the rear, without troubling any one, for no one troubled himself any further about me.  The company was excessively lively; there were dalliance and playfulness; trifles were sometimes discussed with an important tone, but oftener important matters with levity; and especially pleasantly flew the wit over absent friends and their circumstances.  I was too strange to understand much of all this; too anxious and introverted to take an interest in such riddles.

We had reached the rosary.  The lovely Fanny, the belle of the day, as it appeared, would, out of obstinacy, herself break off a blooming bough.  She wounded herself on a thorn, and as if from the dark roses, flowed the purple on her tender hand.  This circumstance put the whole party into a flutter.  English plaster was sought for.  A still, thin, lanky, longish, oldish man, who stood near, and whom I had not hitherto remarked, put his hand instantly into the close-lying breast-pocket of his old French gray taffetty coat; produced thence a little pocket-book; opened it; and presented to the lady, with a profound obeisance, the required article.  She took it without noticing the giver, and without thanks; the wound was bound up; and we went forward over the hill, from whose back the company could enjoy the wide prospect over the green labyrinth of the park to the boundless ocean.

The view was in reality vast and splendid.  A light point appeared on the horizon between the dark flood and the blue of the heaven.  “A telescope here!” cried John; and already, before the servants who appeared at the call were in motion, the gray man, modestly bowing, had thrust his hand into his coat-pocket, and drawn thence a beautiful Dollond and handed it to John.  Bringing it immediately to his eye, the latter informed the company that it was the ship which went out yesterday, and was detained in view of port by contrary winds.  The telescope passed from hand to hand, but not again into that of its owner.  I, however, gazed in wonder at the man, and could not conceive how the great machine had come out of the narrow pocket; but this seemed to have struck no one else, and nobody troubled himself any farther about the gray man than about myself.

Refreshments were handed round; the choicest fruits of every zone, in the costliest vessels.  Mr. John did the honors with an easy grace, and a second time addressed a word to me.  “Help yourself; you have not had the like at sea.”  I bowed, but he saw it not; he was already speaking with some one else.

Page 214

The company would fain have reclined upon the sward on the slope of the hill, opposite to the outstretched landscape, had they not feared the dampness of the earth.  “It were divine,” observed one of the party, “had we but a Turkey carpet to spread here.”  The wish was scarcely expressed when the man in the gray coat had his hand in his pocket, and was busied in drawing thence, with a modest and even humble deportment, a rich Turkey carpet interwoven with gold.  The servants received it as a matter of course, and opened it on the required spot.  The company, without ceremony, took their places upon it; for myself, I looked again in amazement on the man, at the pocket, at the carpet, which measured above twenty paces long and ten in breadth, and rubbed my eyes, not knowing what to think of it, especially as nobody saw anything extraordinary in it.

I would fain have had some explanation regarding the man, and have asked who he was, but I knew not to whom to address myself, for I was almost more afraid of the gentlemen’s servants than of the served gentlemen.  At length I took courage, and stepped up to a young man who appeared to me to be of less consideration than the rest, and who had often stood alone.  I begged him softly to tell me who the agreeable man in the gray coat there was.

“He there, who looks like an end of thread that has escaped out of a tailor’s needle?”

“Yes, he who stands alone.”

“I don’t know him,” he replied, and, as it seemed, in order to avoid a longer conversation with me he turned away and spoke of indifferent matters to another.

The sun began now to shine more powerfully, and to inconvenience the ladies.  The lovely Fanny addressed carelessly to the gray man, whom, as far as I am aware, no one had yet spoken to, the trifling question, “Whether he had not, perchance, also a tent by him?” He answered her by an obeisance most profound, as if an unmerited honor were done him, and had already his hand in his pocket, out of which I saw come canvas, poles, cordage, iron-work—­in short, everything which belongs to the most splendid pleasure-tent.  The young gentlemen helped to expand it, and it covered the whole extent of the carpet, and nobody found anything remarkable in it.

I had already become uneasy, nay, horrified at heart, but how completely so, as, at the very next wish expressed, I saw him yet pull out of his pocket three roadsters—­I tell thee, three beautiful great black horses, with saddle and caparison.  Bethink thee! for God’s sake!—­three saddled horses, still out of the same pocket from which already a pocket-book, a telescope, an embroidered carpet, twenty paces long and ten broad, a pleasure-tent of equal dimensions, and all the requisite poles and irons, had come forth!  If I did not protest to thee that I saw it myself with my own eyes, thou couldst not possibly believe it.

Embarrassed and obsequious as the man himself appeared to be, little as was the attention which had been bestowed upon him, yet to me his grisly aspect, from which I could not turn my eyes, became so fearful that I could bear it no longer.

Page 215

I resolved to steal away from the company, which from the insignificant part I played in it seemed to me an easy affair.  I proposed to myself to return to the city, to try my luck again on the morrow with Mr. John, and if I could muster the necessary courage, to question him about the singular gray man.  Had I only had the good fortune to escape so well!

I had already actually succeeded in stealing through the rosary, and, in descending the hill, found myself on a piece of lawn, when, fearing to be encountered in crossing the grass out of the path, I cast an inquiring glance round me.  What was my terror to behold the man in the gray coat behind me, and making toward me!  In the next moment he took off his hat before me, and bowed so low as no one had ever yet done to me.  There was no doubt but that he wished to address me, and, without being rude, I could not prevent it.  I also took off my hat; bowed also; and stood there in the sun with bare head as if rooted to the ground.  I stared at him full of terror, and was like a bird which a serpent has fascinated.  He himself appeared very much embarrassed.  He raised not his eyes; again bowed repeatedly; drew nearer, and addressed me with a soft, tremulous voice, almost in a tone of supplication.

“May I hope, sir, that you will pardon my boldness in venturing in so unusual a manner to approach you, but I would ask a favor.  Permit me most condescendingly——­”

“But in God’s name!” exclaimed I in my trepidation, “what can I do for a man who—­” we both started, and, as I believe, reddened.

After a moment’s silence, he again resumed:  “During the short time that I had the happiness to find myself near you, I have, sir, many times—­allow me to say it to you—­really contemplated with inexpressible admiration, the beautiful, beautiful, shadow which, as it were, with a certain noble disdain, and without yourself remarking it, you cast from you in the sunshine.  The noble shadow at your feet there.  Pardon me the bold supposition, but possibly you might not be indisposed to make this shadow over to me.”

He was silent, and a mill-wheel seemed to whirl round in my head.  What was I to make of this singular proposition to sell my own shadow?  He must be mad, thought I, and with an altered tone which was more assimilated to that of his own humility, I answered thus: 

“Ha! ha! good friend, have not you then enough of your own shadow?  I take this for a business of a very singular sort—­”

He hastily interrupted me—­“I have many things in my pocket which, sir, might not appear worthless to you, and for this inestimable shadow I hold the very highest price too small.”

It struck cold through me again as I was reminded of the pocket.  I knew not how I could have called him good friend.  I resumed the conversation, and sought, if possible, to set all right again by excessive politeness.

“But, sir, pardon your most humble servant; I do not understand your meaning.  How indeed could my shadow”—­he interrupted me—­

Page 216

“I beg your permission only here on the spot to be allowed to take up this noble shadow and put it in my pocket; how I shall do that, be my care.  On the other hand, as a testimony of my grateful acknowledgment to you, I give you the choice of all the treasures which I carry in my pocket—­the genuine Spring-root, the Mandrake-root, the Change-penny, the Rob-dollar, the Napkin of Roland’s Page, a Mandrake-man, at your own price.  But these probably don’t interest you—­rather Fortunatus’ Wishing-cap newly and stoutly repaired, and a lucky-bag such as he had!”

“The Luck-purse of Fortunatus!” I exclaimed, interrupting him; and great as my anxiety was, with that one word he had taken my whole mind captive.  A dizziness seized me, and double ducats seemed to glitter before my eyes.

“Honored Sir, will you do me the favor to view, and to make trial of this purse?” He thrust his hand into his pocket, and drew out a tolerably large, well-sewed purse of stout Corduan leather, with two strong strings, and handed it to me.  I plunged my hand into it, and drew out ten gold pieces, and again ten, and again ten, and again ten.  I extended him eagerly my hand “Agreed! the business is done; for the purse you have my shadow!”

He closed with me; kneeled instantly down before me, and I beheld him, with an admirable dexterity, gently loosen my shadow from top to toe from the grass, lift it up, roll it together, fold it, and, finally, pocket it.  He arose, made me another obeisance, and retreated toward the rosary.  I fancied that I heard him there softly laughing to himself; but I held the purse fast by the strings; all round me lay the clear sunshine, and within me was yet no power of reflection.

CHAPTER II

At length I came to myself, and hastened to quit the place where I had nothing more to expect.  In the first place I filled my pockets with gold; then I secured the strings of the purse fast round my neck, and concealed the purse itself in my bosom.  I passed unobserved out of the park, reached the highway and took the road to the city.  As, sunk in thought, I approached the gate, I heard a cry behind me—­“Young gentleman! eh! young gentleman! hear you!” I looked round, an old woman called after me.  “Do take care, sir, you have lost your shadow!” “Thank you, good mother!” I threw her a gold piece for her well-meant information, and stopped under the trees.

At the city gate I was compelled to hear again from the sentinel—­“Where has the gentleman left his shadow?” And immediately again from some women—­“Jesus Maria! the poor fellow has no shadow!” That began to irritate me, and I became especially careful not to walk in the sun.  This could not, however, be accomplished everywhere—­for instance, over the broad street which I next must cross, actually, as mischief would have it, at the very moment that the boys came out of school.  A cursed hunch-backed rogue, I

Page 217

see him yet, spied out instantly that I had no shadow.  He proclaimed the fact with a loud outcry to the whole assembled literary street youth of the suburb, who began forthwith to criticise me, and to pelt me with mud.  “Decent people are accustomed to take their shadows with them, when they go into the sunshine.”  To defend myself from them I threw whole handfuls of gold amongst them and sprang into a hackney-coach, which some compassionate soul procured for me.

As soon as I found myself alone in the rolling carriage I began to weep bitterly.  The presentiment must already have arisen in me that, far as gold on earth transcends in estimation merit and virtue, so much higher than gold itself is the shadow valued; and as I had earlier sacrificed wealth to conscience, I had now thrown away the shadow for mere gold.  What in the world could and would become of me!

I was still greatly discomposed as the carriage stopped before my old inn.  I was horrified at the bare idea of entering that wretched cock-loft.  I ordered my things to be brought down; received my miserable bundle with contempt, threw down some gold pieces, and ordered the coachman to drive to the most fashionable hotel.  The house faced the north, and I had not the sun to fear.  I dismissed the driver with gold; caused the best front rooms to be assigned me, and shut myself up in them as quickly as I could!

What thinkest thou I now began?  Oh, my dear Chamisso, to confess it even to thee makes me blush.  I drew the unlucky purse from my bosom, and with a kind of rage which, like a rushing conflagration, grew in me with self-increasing growth, I extracted gold, and gold, and gold, and ever more gold, and strewed it on the floor, and strode amongst it, and made it ring again, and, feeding my poor heart on the splendor and the sound, flung continually more metal to metal, till in my weariness I sank down on the rich heap, and, rioting thereon, rolled and reveled upon it.  So passed the day, the evening.  I opened not my door; the night found me lying on my gold, and then sleep overcame me.

I dreamed of thee.  I seemed to stand behind the glass-door of thy little room, and to see thee sitting then at thy work-table, between a skeleton and a bundle of dried plants.  Before thee lay open Haller, Humboldt, and Linnaeus; on thy sofa a volume of Goethe and “The Magic Ring.”  I regarded thee long, and everything in thy room, and then thee again.  Thou didst not move, thou drewest no breath—­thou wert dead!

I awoke.  It appeared still to be very early.  My watch stood.  I was sore all over; thirsty and hungry too; I had taken nothing since the morning before.  I pushed from me with loathing and indignation the gold on which I had before sated my foolish heart.  In my vexation I knew not what I should do with it.  It must not lie there.  I tried whether the purse would swallow it again—­but no!  None of my windows opened upon the sea.  I found myself compelled laboriously to drag it to a great cupboard which stood in a cabinet, and there to pile it.  I left only some handfuls of it lying.  When I had finished the work, I threw myself exhausted into an easy chair, and waited for the stirring of the people in the house.  As soon as possible I ordered food to be brought, and the landlord to come to me.

Page 218

I fixed in consultation with this man the future arrangements of my house.  He recommended for the services about my person a certain Bendel, whose honest and intelligent physiognomy immediately captivated me.  He it was whose attachment has since accompanied me consolingly through the wretchedness of life, and has helped me to support my gloomy lot.  I spent the whole day in my room among masterless servants, shoemakers, tailors, and tradespeople.  I fitted myself out, and purchased besides a great many jewels and valuables for the sake of getting rid of some of the vast heap of hoarded-up gold; but it seemed to me as if it were impossible to diminish it.

In the meantime I brooded over my situation in the most agonizing doubts.  I dared not venture a step out of my doors, and at evening I caused forty waxlights to be lit in my room before I issued from the shade.  I thought with horror on the terrible scene with the schoolboys, yet I resolved, much courage as it demanded, once more to make a trial of public opinion.  The nights were then moonlight.  Late in the evening I threw on a wide cloak, pressed my hat over my eyes, and stole, trembling like a criminal, out of the house.  I stepped first out of the shade in whose protection I had arrived so far, in a remote square, into the full moonlight, determined to learn my fate out of the mouths of the passers-by.

Spare me, dear friend, the painful repetition of all that I had to endure.  The women often testified the deepest compassion with which I inspired them, declarations which no less transpierced me than the mockery of the youth and the proud contempt of the men, especially of those fat, well fed fellows, who themselves cast a broad shadow.  A lovely and sweet girl, who, as it seemed, accompanied her parents, while these discreetly only looked before their feet, turned by chance her flashing eyes upon me.  She was obviously terrified; she observed my want of a shadow, let fall her veil over her beautiful countenance, and dropping her head, passed in silence.

I could bear it no longer.  Briny streams started from my eyes, and, cut to the heart, I staggered back into the shade.  I was obliged to support myself against the houses to steady my steps and wearily and late reached my dwelling.

I spent a sleepless night.  The next morning it was my first care to have the man in the gray coat everywhere sought after.  Possibly I might succeed in finding him again, and how joyful if he repented of the foolish bargain as heartily as I did!  I ordered Bendel to me, for he appeared to possess address and tact; I described to him exactly the man in whose possession lay a treasure without which my life was only a misery.  I told him the time, the place in which I had seen him; I described to him all who had been present, and added, moreover, this token:  he should particularly inquire after a Dollond’s telescope; after a gold interwoven Turkish carpet; after a splendid pleasure-tent; and, finally, after the black chargers, whose story, we knew not how, was connected with that of the mysterious man, who seemed of no consideration amongst them, and whose appearance had destroyed the quiet and happiness of my life.

Page 219

When I had done speaking I fetched out gold, such a load that I was scarcely able to carry it, and added thereto precious stones and jewels of a far greater value.  “Bendel,” said I, “these level many ways, and make easy many things which appeared quite impossible; don’t be stingy with it, as I am not, but go and rejoice thy master with the intelligence on which his only hope depends.”

He went.  He returned late and sorrowful.  None of the people of Mr. John, none of his guests, and he had spoken with all, were able, in the remotest degree, to recollect the man in the gray coat.  The new telescope was there, and no one knew whence it had come; the carpet, the tent were still there spread and pitched on the selfsame hill; the servants boasted of the affluence of their master, and no one knew whence these new valuables had come to him.  He himself took his pleasure in them, and did not trouble himself because he did not know whence he had them.  The young gentlemen had the horses, which they had ridden, in their stables, and they praised the liberality of Mr. John who on that day made them a present of them.  Thus much was clear from the circumstantial relation of Bendel, whose active zeal and able proceeding, although with such fruitless result, received from me their merited commendation.  I gloomily motioned him to leave me alone.

“I have,” began he again, “given my master an account of the matter which was most important to him.  I have yet a message to deliver which a person gave me whom I met at the door as I went out on the business in which I have been so unfortunate.  The very words of the man were these:  ’Tell Mr. Peter Schlemihl he will not see me here again, as I am going over sea, and a favorable wind calls me at this moment to the harbor.  But in a year and a day I will have the honor to seek him myself, and then to propose to him another and probably to him agreeable transaction.  Present my most humble compliments to him, and assure him of my thanks.’  I asked him who he was, but he replied that your honor knew him already.”

“What was the man’s appearance?” cried I, filled with foreboding, and Bendel sketched me the man in the gray coat, trait by trait, word for word, as he had accurately described in his former relation the man after whom he had inquired.

“Unhappy one!” I exclaimed, wringing my hands—­“that was the very man!” and there fell, as it were, scales from his eyes.

“Yes! it was he, it was, positively!” cried he in horror, “and I, blind and imbecile wretch, have not recognized him, have not recognized him, and have betrayed my master!”

He broke out into violent weeping; heaped the bitterest reproaches on himself, and the despair in which he was inspired even me with compassion.  I spoke comfort to him, assured him repeatedly that I entertained not the slightest doubt of his fidelity, and sent him instantly to the port, if possible to follow the traces of this singular man.  But in the morning a great number of ships which the contrary winds had detained in the harbor, had run out, bound to different climes and different shores, and the gray man had vanished as tracelessly as a dream.

Page 220

CHAPTER III

Of what avail are wings to him who is fast bound in iron fetters?  He is compelled only the more fearfully to despair.  I lay, like Faffner by his treasure, far from every consolation, starving in the midst of my gold.  But my heart was not in it; on the contrary, I cursed it, because I saw myself through it cut off from all life.  Brooding over my gloomy secret alone, I trembled before the meanest of my servants, whom at the same time I was forced to envy, for he had a shadow; he might show himself in the sun.  I wore away days and nights in solitary sorrow in my chamber, and anguish gnawed at my heart.

There was another who pined away before my eyes; my faithful Bendel never ceased to torture himself with silent reproaches, that he had betrayed the trust reposed in him by his master, and had not recognized him after whom he was dispatched, and with whom he must believe that my sorrowful fate was intimately interwoven.  I could not lay the fault to his charge; I recognized in the event the mysterious nature of the Unknown.

That I might leave nothing untried, I one time sent Bendel with a valuable brilliant ring to the most celebrated painter of the city, and begged that he would pay me a visit.  He came.  I ordered my people to retire, closed the door, seated myself by the man, and, after I had praised his art, I came with a heavy heart to the business, causing him before that to promise the strictest secrecy.

“Mr. Professor,” said I, “could not you, think you, paint a false shadow for one who, by the most unlucky chance in the world, has become deprived of his own?”

“You mean a personal shadow?”

“That is precisely my meaning”—­

“But,” continued he, “through what awkwardness, through what negligence, could he then lose his proper shadow?”

“How it happened,” replied I, “is now of very little consequence, but thus far I may say,” added I, lying shamelessly to him; “in Russia, whither he made a journey last winter, in an extraordinary cold his shadow froze so fast to the ground that he could by no means loose it again.”

“The false shadow that I could paint him,” replied the professor, “would only be such a one as by the slightest movement he might lose again, especially a person, who, as appears by your relation, has so little adhesion to his own native shadow.  He who has no shadow, let him keep out of the sunshine—­that is the safest and most sensible thing for him.”  He arose and withdrew, casting at me a trans-piercing glance which mine could not support.  I sunk back in my seat, and covered my face with my hands.

Thus Bendel found me, as he at length entered.  He saw the grief of his master, and was desirous silently and reverently to withdraw.  I looked up, I succumbed under the burden of my trouble; I must communicate it.

Page 221

“Bendel!” cried I, “Bendel, thou only one who seest my affliction and respectest it, seekest not to pry into it, but appearest silently and kindly to sympathize, come to me, Bendel, and be the nearest to my heart; I have not locked from thee the treasure of my gold, neither will I lock from thee the treasure of my grief.  Bendel, forsake me not!  Bendel, thou beholdest me rich, liberal, kind.  Thou imaginest that the world ought to honor me, and thou seest me fly the world, and hide myself from it.  Bendel, the world has passed judgment, and cast me from it, and perhaps thou too wilt turn from me when thou knowest my fearful secret.  Bendel, I am rich, liberal, kind, but—­O God!—­I have no shadow!”

“No shadow!” cried the good youth with horror, and the bright tears gushed from his eyes.  “Woe is me, that I was born to serve a shadowless master!” He was silent, and I held my face buried in my hands.

“Bendel,” added I, at length, tremblingly—­“now hast thou my confidence, and now canst thou betray it—­go forth and testify against me?” He appeared to be in a heavy conflict with himself; at length, he flung himself before me and seized my hand, which he bathed with his tears.

“No!” exclaimed he, “think the world as it will, I cannot, and will not, on account of a shadow, abandon my kind master; I will act justly, and not with policy.  I will continue with you, lend you my shadow, help you when I can, and when I cannot, weep with you.”  I fell on his neck, astonished at such unusual sentiment, for I was convinced that he did it not for gold.

From that time my fate and my mode of life were in some degree changed.  It is indescribable how providently Bendel continued to conceal my defect.  He was everywhere before me and with me; foreseeing everything, hitting on contrivances, and, where unforeseen danger threatened, covering me quickly with his shadow, since he was taller and bulkier than I. Thus I ventured myself again among men, and began to play a part in the world.  I was obliged, it is true, to assume many peculiarities and humors, but such become the rich, and, so long as the truth continued to be concealed, I enjoyed all the honor and respect which were paid to my wealth.  I looked more calmly forward to the promised visit of the mysterious unknown, at the end of the year and the day.

I felt, indeed, that I must not remain long in a place where I had once been seen without a shadow, and where I might easily be betrayed.  Perhaps I yet thought too much of the manner in which I had introduced myself to Thomas John, and it was a mortifying recollection.  I would therefore here merely make an experiment, to present myself with more ease and self-reliance elsewhere, but that now occurred which held me a long time riveted to my vanity, for there it is in the man that the anchor bites the firmest ground.

Page 222

Even the lovely Fanny, whom I in this place again encountered, honored me with some notice without recollecting ever to have seen me before; for I now had wit and sense.  As I spoke, people listened, and I could not, for the life of me, comprehend myself how I had arrived at the art of maintaining and engrossing so easily the conversation.  The impression which I perceived that I had made on the fair one, made of me just what she desired—­a fool; and I thenceforward followed her through shade and twilight wherever I could.  I was only so far vain that I wished to make her vain of myself, and found it impossible, even with the very best intentions, to force the intoxication from my head to my heart.

But why repeat to thee the absolutely every-day story at length?  Thou thyself hast often related it to me of other honorable people.  To the old, well-known play in which I good-naturedly undertook a worn-out part, there came in truth to her and me, and everybody, unexpectedly a most peculiarly thought-out catastrophe.

As, according to my wont, I had assembled on a beautiful evening a party in a garden, I wandered with the lady, arm in arm, at some distance from the other guests, and exerted myself to strike out pretty speeches for her.  She cast her eyes down modestly, and returned gently the pressure of my hand, when suddenly the moon broke through the clouds behind us, and—­she saw only her own shadow thrown forward before her!  She started and glanced wildly at me, then again on the earth, seeking my shadow with her eyes, and what passed within her painted itself so singularly on her countenance that I should have burst into a loud laugh if it had not itself run ice-cold over my back.

I let her fall from my arms in a swoon, shot like an arrow through the terrified guests, reached the door, flung myself into the first chaise which I saw on the stand, and drove back to the city, where this time, to my cost, I had left the circumspect Bendel.  He was terrified as he saw me; one word revealed to him all.  Post horses were immediately fetched.  I took only one of my people with me, an arrant knave, called Rascal, who had contrived to make himself necessary to me by his cleverness and who could suspect nothing of today’s occurrence.  That night I left upward of thirty miles behind me.  Bendel remained behind me to discharge my establishment, to pay money, and to bring me what I most required.  When he overtook me next day, I threw myself into his arms, and swore to him never again to run into the like folly, but in future to be more cautious.  We continued our journey without pause, over the frontiers and the mountains, and it was not till we began to descend and had placed those lofty bulwarks between us and our former unlucky abode, that I allowed myself to be persuaded to rest from the fatigues I had undergone, in a neighboring and little frequented Bathing-place.

CHAPTER IV

Page 223

I must pass in my relation hastily over a time in which how gladly would I linger, could I but conjure up the living spirit of it with the recollection.  But the color which vivified it, and alone can vivify it again, is extinguished in me; and when I seek in my bosom what then so mightily animated it, the grief and the joy, the innocent illusion—­then do I vainly smite a rock in which no living spring now dwells, and the god is departed from me.  How changed does this past time now appear to me!  I would act in the watering place an heroic character, ill studied, and myself a novice on the boards, and my gaze was lured from my part by a pair of blue eyes.  The parents, deluded by the play, offer everything only to make the business quickly secure; and the poor farce closes in mockery.  And that is all, all!  That presents itself now to me so absurd and commonplace, and yet it is terrible, that that can thus appear to me which then so richly, so luxuriantly, swelled my bosom.  Mina! as I wept at losing thee, so weep I still to have lost thee also in myself.  Am I then become so old?  Oh, melancholy reason!  Oh, but for one pulsation of that time! one moment of that illusion!  But no! alone on the high waste sea of thy bitter flood! and long out of the last cup of champagne the elfin has vanished!

I had sent forward Bendel with some purses of gold to procure for me in the little town a dwelling adapted to my needs.  He had there scattered about much money, and expressed himself somewhat indefinitely respecting the distinguished stranger whom he served, for I would not be named, and that filled the good people with extraordinary fancies.  As soon as my house was ready Bendel returned to conduct me thither.  We set out.

About three miles from the place, on a sunny plain, our progress was obstructed by a gay festal throng.  The carriage stopped.  Music, sound of bells, discharge of cannon, were heard; a loud vivat! rent the air; before the door of the carriage appeared, clad in white, a troop of damsels of extraordinary beauty, but who were eclipsed by one in particular, as the stars of night by the sun.  She stepped forth from the midst of her sisters; the tall and delicate figure kneeled blushing before me, and presented to me on a silken cushion a garland woven of laurel, olive branches, and roses, while she uttered some words about majesty, veneration and love, which I did not understand, but whose bewitching silver tone intoxicated my ear and heart.  It seemed as if the heavenly apparition had some time previously passed before me.  The chorus struck in, and sung the praises of a good king and the happiness of his people.

Page 224

And this scene, my dear friend, in the face of the sun!  She kneeled still only two paces from me, and I, without a shadow, could not spring over the gulf, could not also fall on the knee before the angel!  Oh! what would I then have given for a shadow!  I was compelled to hide my shame, my anguish, my despair, deep in the bottom of my carriage.  At length Bendel recollected himself on my behalf.  He leaped out of the carriage on the other side.  I called him back, and gave him out of my jewel-case, which lay at hand, a splendid diamond crown, which had been made to adorn the brows of the lovely Fanny!  He stepped forward and spoke in the name of his master, who could not and would not receive such tokens of homage; there must be some mistake; but the people of the city should be thanked for their good-will.  As he said this, he took up the proffered wreath, and laid the brilliant coronet in its place.  He then respectfully extended his hand to the lovely maiden, that she might arise, and dismissed, with a sign, clergy, magistrates, and all the deputations.  No one else was allowed to approach.  He ordered the throng to divide and make way for the horses, sprang again into the carriage, and on we went at full gallop, through a festive archway of foliage and flowers toward the city.  The discharges of cannon continued.  The carriage stopped before my house.  I sprang hastily in at the door, dividing the crowd which the desire to see me had collected.  The mob hurrahed under my window, and I let double ducats rain out of it.  In the evening the city was voluntarily illuminated.

And yet I did not at all know what all this could mean, and who I was supposed to be.  I sent out Rascal to make inquiry.  He brought word to this effect:  That the people had received reliable intelligence that the good king of Prussia traveled through the country under the name of a count; that my adjutant had been recognized, thus betraying himself and me; and, finally, how great the joy was as they became certain that they really had me in the place.  They now, ’tis true, saw clearly that I evidently desired to maintain the strictest incognito, and how very wrong it had been to attempt so importunately to lift the veil.  But I had resented it so graciously, so kindly—­I should certainly pardon their good-heartedness.

The thing appeared so amusing to the rogue that he did his best, by reproving words, to strengthen, for the present, the good folk in their belief.  He gave a very comical report of all this to me; and as he found that it diverted me, he made a joke to me of his own wickedness.  Shall I confess it?  It flattered me, even by such means, to be taken for that honored head.

I commanded a feast to be prepared for the evening of the next day beneath the trees which overshadowed the open space before my house, and the whole city to be invited to it.  The mysterious power of my purse, the exertions of Bendel, and the inventiveness of Rascal succeeded in triumphing over time itself.  It is really astonishing how richly and beautifully everything was arranged in those few hours.  The splendor and abundance which exhibited themselves, and the ingenious lighting up, so admirably contrived that I felt myself quite secure, left me nothing to desire.  I could not but praise my servants.

Page 225

The evening grew dark; the guests appeared, and were presented to me.  Nothing more was said about Majesty; I was styled with deep reverence and obeisance, Count.  What was to be done?  I allowed the title to stand, and remained from that hour Count Peter.  In the midst of festive multitudes my soul yearned alone after one.  She entered late—­she was and wore the crown.  She followed modestly her parents, and seemed not to know that she was the loveliest of all.  They were presented to me as Mr. Forest-master, his lady and their daughter.  I found many agreeable and obliging things to say to the old people; before the daughter I stood like a rebuked boy, and could not bring out one word.  I begged her, at length, with a faltering tone, to honor this feast by assuming the office whose insignia she graced.  She entreated with blushes and a moving look to be excused; but blushing still more than herself in her presence, I paid her as her first subject my homage, with a most profound respect, and the hint of the Count became to all the guests a command which every one with emulous joy hastened to obey.  Majesty, innocence, and grace presided in alliance with beauty over a rapturous feast.  Mina’s happy parents believed their child thus exalted only in honor of them.  I myself was in an indescribable intoxication.  I caused all the jewels which yet remained of those which I had formerly purchased, in order to get rid of burthensome gold, all the pearls, all the precious stones, to be laid in two covered dishes, and at the table, in the name of the queen, to be distributed round to her companions and to all the ladies.  Gold, in the meantime, was incessantly strewed over the encompassing ropes among the exulting people.

Bendel, the next morning, revealed to me in confidence that the suspicion which he had long entertained of Rascal’s honesty was now become certainty—­that he had yesterday embezzled whole purses of gold.  “Let us permit,” replied I, “the poor scoundrel to enjoy the petty plunder.  I spend willingly on everybody, why not on him?  Yesterday he and all the fresh people you have brought me served me honestly; they helped me joyfully to celebrate a joyful feast.”

There was no further mention of it.  Rascal remained the first of my servants, but Bendel was my friend and my confidant.  The latter was accustomed to regard my wealth as inexhaustible, and he pried not after its sources; entering into my humor, he assisted me rather to discover opportunities to exercise it, and to spend my gold.  Of that unknown one, that pale sneak, he knew only this, that I could alone through him be absolved from the curse which weighed on me; and that I feared him, on whom my sole hope reposed.  That, for the rest, I was convinced that he could discover me anywhere; I him nowhere; and that therefore awaiting the promised day, I abandoned every vain inquiry.

Page 226

The magnificence of my feast, and my behavior at it, held at first the credulous inhabitants of the city firmly to their preconceived opinion.  True, it was soon stated in the newspapers that the whole story of the journey of the king of Prussia had been a mere groundless rumor:  but a king I now was, and must, spite of everything, a king remain, and truly one of the most rich and royal who had ever existed; only people did not rightly know what king.  The world has never had reason to complain of the scarcity of monarchs, at least in our time.  The good people who had never seen any of them pitched with equal correctness first on one and then on another; Count Peter still remained who he was.

At one time appeared amongst the guests at the Bath a tradesman, who had made himself bankrupt in order to enrich himself; and who enjoyed universal esteem, and had a broad though somewhat pale shadow.  The property which he had scraped together he resolved to lay out in ostentation, and it even occurred to him to enter into rivalry with me.  I had recourse to my purse, and soon brought the poor devil to such a pass that, in order to save his credit, he was obliged to become bankrupt a second time, and hasten over the frontier.  Thus I got rid of him.  In this neighborhood I made many idlers and good-for-nothing fellows.

With all the royal splendor and expenditure by which I made all succumb to me, I still in my own house lived very simply and retired.  I had established the strictest circumspection as a rule.  No one except Bendel, under any pretence whatever, was allowed to enter the rooms which I inhabited.  So long as the sun shone I kept myself shut up there, and it was said “the Count is employed with his cabinet.”  With this employment numerous couriers stood in connection, whom I, for every trifle, sent out and received.  I received company in the evening only under my trees, or in my hall arranged and lighted according to Bendel’s plan.  When I went out, on which occasions it was necessary that I should be constantly watched by the Argus eyes of Bendel, it was only to the Forester’s Garden, for the sake of one alone; for my love was the innermost heart of my life.

Oh, my good Chamisso!  I will hope that thou hast not yet forgotten what love is!  I leave much unmentioned here to thee.  Mina was really an amiable, kind, good child.  I had taken her whole imagination captive.  She could not, in her humility, conceive how she could be worthy that I should alone have fixed my regard on her; and she returned love for love with all the youthful power of an innocent heart.  She loved like a woman, offering herself wholly up; self-forgetting; living wholly and solely for him who was her life; regardless if she herself perished; that is to say—­she really loved.

But I—­oh what terrible hours—­terrible and yet worthy that I should wish them back again—­have I often wept on Bendel’s bosom, when, after the first unconscious intoxication, I recollected myself, looked sharply into myself—­I, without a shadow, with knavish selfishness destroying this angel, this pure soul which I had deceived and stolen.  Then did I resolve to reveal myself to her; then did I swear with a most passionate oath to tear myself from her, and to fly; then did I burst out into tears, and concert with Bendel how in the evening I should visit her in the Forester’s garden.

Page 227

At other times I flattered myself with great expectations from the rapidly approaching visit of the gray man, and wept again when I had in vain tried to believe in it.  I had calculated the day on which I expected again to see the fearful one; for he had said in a year and a day; and I believed his word.

The parents, good honorable old people, who loved their only child extremely, were amazed at the connection, as it already stood, and they knew not what to do in it.  Earlier they could not have believed that Count Peter could think only of their child; but now he really loved her and was beloved again.  The mother was probably vain enough to believe in the probability of a union, and to seek for it; the sound masculine understanding of the father did not give way to such overstretched imaginations.  Both were persuaded of the purity of my love; they could do nothing more than pray for their child.

I have laid my hand on a letter from Mina of this date, which I still retain.  Yes, this is her own writing.  I transcribe it for thee: 

“I am a weak silly maiden, and cannot believe that my beloved, because I love him dearly, dearly, will make the poor girl unhappy.  Ah! thou art so kind, so inexpressibly kind, but do not misunderstand me.  Thou shalt sacrifice nothing for me, desire to sacrifice nothing for me.  Oh God!  I should hate myself if thou didst!  No—­thou hast made me immeasurably happy; hast taught me to love thee.  Away!  I know my own fate.  Count Peter belongs not to me, he belongs to the world.  I will be proud when I hear—­’that was he, and that was he again—­and that has he accomplished; there they have worshipped him, and there they have deified him!’ See, when I think of this, then am I angry with thee that with a simple child thou canst forget thy high destiny.  Away! or the thought will make me miserable!  I—­oh! who through thee am so happy, so blessed!  Have I not woven, too, an olive branch and a rosebud into thy life, as into the wreath which I was allowed to present to thee?  I have thee in my heart, my beloved; fear not to leave me.  I will die oh! so happy, so ineffably happy through thee!”

Thou canst imagine how the words must cut through my heart.  I explained to her that I was not what people believed me, that I was only a rich but infinitely miserable man.  That a curse rested on me, which must be the only secret between us, since I was not yet without hope that it should be solved.  That this was the poison of my days; that I might drag her down with me into the gulf—­she who was the sole light, the sole happiness, the sole heart of my life.  Then wept she again, because I was unhappy.  Ah, she was so loving, so kind!  To spare me but one tear, she, and with what transport, would have sacrificed herself without reserve!

She was, however, far from rightly comprehending my words; she conceived in me some prince on whom had fallen a heavy ban, some high and honored head, and her imagination amidst heroic pictures limned forth her lover gloriously.

Page 228

Once I said to her—­“Mina, the last day in the next month may change my fate and decide it—­if not I must die, for I will not make thee unhappy.”  Weeping she hid her head in my bosom.  “If thy fortune changes, let me know that thou art happy.  I have no claim on thee.  Art thou wretched, bind me to thy wretchedness, that I may help thee to bear it.”

“Maiden! maiden! take it back, that quick word, that foolish word which escaped thy lips.  And knowest thou this wretchedness?  Knowest thou this curse?  Knowest who thy lover—­what he?  Seest thou not that I convulsively shrink together, and have a secret from thee?” She fell sobbing to my feet, and repeated with oaths her entreaty.

I announced to the Forest-master, who entered, that it was my intention on the first of the approaching month to solicit the hand of his daughter.  I fixed precisely this time, because in the interim many things might occur which might influence my fortunes; but I insisted that I was unchangeable in my love to his daughter.

The good man was quite startled as he heard such words out of the mouth of Count Peter.  He fell on my neck, and again became quite ashamed to have thus forgotten himself.  Then he began to doubt, to weigh, and to inquire.  He spoke of dowry, security, and the future of his beloved child.  I thanked him for reminding me of these things.  I told him that I desired to settle down in this neighborhood where I seemed to be beloved, and to lead a care-free life.  I begged him to purchase the finest estates that the country had to offer, in the name of his daughter, and to charge the cost to me.  A father could, in such matter, best serve a lover.  It gave him enough to do, for everywhere a stranger was before him, and he could only purchase for about a million.

My thus employing him was, at the bottom, an innocent scheme to remove him to a distance, and I had employed him similarly before; for I must confess that he was rather wearisome.  The good mother was, on the contrary, somewhat deaf, and not, like him, jealous of the honor of entertaining the Count.

The mother joined us.  The happy people pressed me to stay longer with them that evening—­I dared not remain another minute.  I saw already the rising moon glimmer on the horizon—­my time was up.

The next evening I went again to the Forester’s garden.  I had thrown my cloak over my shoulders and pulled my hat over my eyes.  I advanced to Mina.  As she looked up and beheld me, she gave an involuntary start, and there stood again clear before my soul the apparition of that terrible night when I showed myself in the moonlight without a shadow.  It was actually she!  But had she also recognized me again?  She was silent and thoughtful; on my bosom lay a hundred-weight pressure.  I arose from my seat.  She threw herself silently weeping on my bosom.  I went.

I now found her often in tears.  It grew darker and darker in my soul; the parents swam only in supreme felicity; the faith-day passed on sad and sullen as a thunder-cloud.  The eve of the day was come.  I could scarcely breathe.  I had in precaution filled several chests with gold.  I watched the midnight hour approach—­It struck.

Page 229

I now sat, my eye fixed on the fingers of the clock, counting the seconds, the minutes, like dagger-strokes.  At every noise which arose, I started up; the day broke.  The leaden hours crowded one upon another.  It was noon—­evening—­night; as the clock fingers sped on, hope withered; it struck eleven and nothing appeared; the last minutes of the last hour fell, and nothing appeared.  It struck the first stroke—­the last stroke of the twelfth hour, and I sank hopeless and in boundless tears upon my bed.  On the morrow I should—­forever shadowless, solicit the hand of my beloved.  Toward morning an anxious sleep pressed down my eyelids.

CHAPTER V

It was still early morning when voices, which were raised in my ante-chamber in violent dispute, awoke me.  I listened.  Bendel forbade entrance; Rascal swore high and hotly that he would receive no commands from his equal, and insisted on forcing his way into my room.  The good Bendel warned him that such words, came they to my ear, would turn him out of his most advantageous service.  Rascal threatened to lay hands on him if he any longer obstructed his entrance.

I had half dressed myself.  I flung the door wrathfully open, and advanced to Rascal—­“What wantest thou, villain?” He stepped two strides backward, and replied quite coolly:  “To request you most humbly, Count, for once to allow me to see your shadow—­the sun shines at this moment so beautifully in the court.”

I was struck as with thunder.  It was some time before I could recover my speech.  “How can a servant toward his master”—­he interrupted very calmly my speech.

“A servant may be a very honorable man, and not be willing to serve a shadowless master—­I demand my discharge.”  It was necessary to try other chords.  “But honest, dear Rascal, who has put the unlucky idea into your head?  How canst thou believe—?”

He proceeded in the same tone:  “People will assert that you have no shadow—­and, in short, you show me your shadow, or give me my discharge.”

Bendel, pale and trembling, but more discreet than I, gave me a sign.  I sought refuge in the all-silencing gold; but that too had lost its power.  He threw it at my feet.  “From a shadowless man I accept nothing!” He turned his back upon me, and went most deliberately out of the room with his hat upon his head, and whistling a tune.  I stood there with Bendel as one turned to stone, thoughtless, motionless, gazing after him.

Heavily sighing and with death in my heart, I prepared myself at last to redeem my promise, and, like a criminal before his judge, to appear in the Forest-master’s garden.  I alighted in the dark arbor, which was named after me, and where they would be sure also this time to await me.  The mother met me, care-free and joyous.  Mina sat there, pale and lovely as the first snow which often in the autumn kisses the last flowers and then instantly dissolves into bitter

Page 230

water.  The Forest-master went agitatedly to and fro, a written paper in his hand, and appeared to force down many things in himself which painted themselves with rapidly alternating flushes and paleness on his otherwise immovable countenance.  He came up to me as I entered, and with frequently choked words begged to speak with me alone.  The path in which he invited me to follow him, led us toward an open, sunny part of the garden.  I sank speechless on a seat, and then followed a long silence which even the good mother dared not interrupt.

The Forest-master raged continually with unequal steps to and fro in the arbor, and, suddenly halting before me, glanced on the paper which he held, and demanded of me with a searching look—­

“May not, Count, a certain Peter Schlemihl be not quite unknown to you?” I was silent.  “A man of superior character and singular attainments—­” He paused for an answer.

“And suppose I were the same man?”

“Who,” added he vehemently—­“has, by some means, lost his shadow!”

“Oh, my foreboding, my foreboding!” exclaimed Mina.  “Yes, I have long known it, he has no shadow;” and she flung herself into the arms of her mother, who, terrified, clasped her convulsively, and upbraided her that to her own hurt she had kept to herself such a secret.  But she, like Arethusa, was changed into a fountain of tears, which at the sound of my voice flowed still more copiously and at my approach burst forth in torrents.

“And you,” again grimly began the Forest-master, “and you, with unparalleled impudence, have made no scruple to deceive these and myself, and you give out that you love her whom you brought into this predicament.  See, there, how she weeps and writhes!  Oh, horrible! horrible!”

I had to such a degree lost my composure that, talking like one crazed, I began—­“And, after all, a shadow is nothing but a shadow; one can do very well without that, and it is not worth while to make such a riot about it.”  But I felt so sharply the baselessness of what I was saying that I stopped of myself, without his deigning me an answer, and I then added—­“What one has lost at one time may be found again at another!”

He fiercely rebuked me “Confess to me, sir, confess to me, how became you deprived of your shadow!”

I was compelled again to lie.  “A rude fellow one day trod so heavily on my shadow that he rent a great hole in it.  I have only sent it to be mended, for money can do much, and I was to have received it back yesterday.”

“Good, sir, very good!” replied the Forest-master.  “You solicit my daughter’s hand; others do the same.  I have, as her father, to care for her.  I give you three days in which you may seek for a shadow.  If you appear before me within these three days with a good, well-fitting shadow, you shall be welcome to me; but on the fourth day—­I tell you plainly—­my daughter is the wife of another.”

I would yet attempt to speak a word to Mina, but she clung, sobbing violently, only closer to her mother’s breast, who silently motioned me to withdraw.  I reeled away, and the world seemed to close itself behind me.

Page 231

Escaped from Bendel’s affectionate oversight, I traversed in erring course woods and fields.  The perspiration of my agony dropped from my brow, a hollow groaning convulsed my bosom, madness raged within me.

I know not how long this had continued, when, on a sunny heath, I felt myself plucked by the sleeve.  I stood still and looked round—­it was the man in the gray coat, who seemed to have run himself quite out of breath in pursuit of me.  He immediately began: 

“I had announced myself for today, but you could not wait the time.  There is nothing amiss, however, yet.  You consider the matter, receive your shadow again in exchange, which is at your service, and turn immediately back.  You shall be welcome in the Forest-master’s garden; the whole has been only a joke.  Rascal, who has betrayed you, and who seeks the hand of your bride, I will take charge of; the fellow is ripe.”

I stood there as if in a dream.  “Announced for today?” I counted over again the time—­he was right.  I had constantly miscalculated a day.  I sought with the right hand in my bosom for my purse; he guessed my meaning, and stepped two paces backwards.

“No, Count, that is in too good hands, keep you that.”  I stared at him with eyes of inquiring wonder, and he proceeded:  “I request only a trifle, as memento.  You be so good as to set your name to this paper.”  On the parchment stood the words: 

“By virtue of this my signature, I make over my soul to the holder of this, after its natural separation from the body.”

I gazed with speechless amazement, alternately at the writing and the gray unknown.  Meanwhile, with a new-cut quill he had taken up a drop of blood which flowed from a fresh thorn-scratch on my hand and presented it to me.

“Who are you, after all?” at length I asked him.

“What does it matter?” he replied.  “And is it not plainly written on me?  A poor devil, a sort of learned man and doctor, who, in return for precious arts, receives from his friends poor thanks, and, for himself, has no other amusement on earth but to make his little experiments.—­But, however, sign.  To the right there—­PETER SCHLEMIHL.”

I shook my head, and said:  “Pardon me, sir, I do not sign that.”

“Not?” replied he, in amaze; “and why not?”

“It seems to me to a certain degree serious to stake my soul on a shadow.”

“So, so,” repeated he, “serious!” and he laughed almost in my face.  “And, if I might venture to ask, what sort of a thing is that soul of yours?  Have you ever seen it?  And what do you think of doing with it when you are dead?  Be glad that you have found an amateur who in your lifetime is willing to pay you for the bequest of this x, of this galvanic power, or polarized Activity, or what-ever-this silly thing may be, with something actual; that is to say, with your real shadow, through which you may arrive at the hand of your beloved and at the accomplishment of all your desires.  Will you rather push forth, and deliver up that poor young creature to that low bred scoundrel Rascal?  No, you must witness that with your own eyes.  Here, I lend you the magic-cap”—­he drew it from his pocket—­“and we will proceed unseen to the Forester’s garden.”

Page 232

I must confess that I was excessively ashamed of being derided by this man.  I detested him from the bottom of my heart; and I believe that this personal antipathy withheld me, more than principle or prejudice, from purchasing my shadow, essential as it was, by the required signature.  The thought also was intolerable to me of making the excursion which he proposed, in his company.  To see this abhorred sneak, this mocking kobold, step between me and my beloved, two torn and bleeding hearts, revolted my innermost feeling.  I regarded what was past as predestined, and my wretchedness as unchangeable, and turning to the man, I said to him—­

“Sir, I have sold you my shadow for this in itself most excellent purse, and I have sufficiently repented of it.  If the bargain can be broken off, then in God’s name—!” He shook his head, and made a very gloomy face.  I continued:  “I will then sell you nothing further of mine, even for this offered price of my shadow; and, therefore, I shall sign nothing.  From this you may understand, that the muffling-up to which you invite me must be much more amusing for you than for me.  Excuse me, therefore; and as it cannot now be otherwise, let us part.”

“It grieves me, Monsieur Schlemihl, that you obstinately decline the business which I propose to you as a friend.  Perhaps another time I may be more fortunate.  Till our speedy meeting again!—­Apropos:  Permit me yet to show you that the things which I purchase I by no means suffer to grow moldy, but honorably preserve, and that they are well taken care of by me.”

With that he drew my shadow out of his pocket and with a dexterous throw unfolding it on the heath, spread it out on the sunny side of his feet, so that he walked between two attendant shadows, his own and mine, for mine must equally obey him and accommodate itself to and follow all his movements.

When I once saw my poor shadow again, after so long an absence, and beheld it degraded to so vile a service, whilst I, on its account, was in such unspeakable trouble, my heart broke, and I began bitterly to weep.  The detested wretch swaggered with the plunder snatched from me, and impudently renewed his proposal.

“You can yet have it.  A stroke of the pen, and you snatch therewith the poor unhappy Mina from the claws of the villain into the arms of the most honored Count—­as observed, only a stroke of the pen.”

My tears burst forth with fresh impetuosity, but I turned away and motioned to him to withdraw himself.  Bendel, who, filled with anxiety, had traced me to this spot, at this moment arrived.  When the kind good soul found me weeping, and saw my shadow, which could not be mistaken, in the power of the mysterious gray man, he immediately resolved, was it even by force, to restore to me the possession of my property; and as he did not understand how to deal with such a tender thing, he immediately assaulted the man with words, and, without much asking, ordered him bluntly

Page 233

to return my property to me.  Instead of an answer, he turned his back to the innocent young fellow and went.  But Bendel up with his buckthorn cudgel which he carried, and, following on his heels, without mercy, and with reiterated commands to give up the shadow, made him feel the full force of his vigorous arm.  He, as accustomed to such handling, ducked his head, rounded his shoulders, and with silent and deliberate steps pursued his way over the heath, at once going off with my shadow and my faithful servant.  I long heard the heavy sounds roll over the waste, till they were finally lost in the distance.  I was alone, as before, with my misery.

CHAPTER VI

Left alone on the wild heath, I gave free current to my countless tears, relieving my heart from an ineffably weary weight.  But I saw no bound, no outlet, no end to my intolerable misery, and I drank besides with savage thirst of the fresh poison which the unknown had poured into my wounds.  When I called the image of Mina before my soul, and the dear, sweet form appeared pale and in tears, as I saw her last in my shame, then stepped, impudent and mocking, Rascal’s shadow between her and me; I covered my face and fled through the wild.  Yet the hideous apparition left me not, but pursued me in my flight, till I sank breathless on the ground, and moistened it with a fresh torrent of tears.

And all for a shadow!  And this shadow a pen-stroke could have obtained for me!  I thought over the strange proposition and my refusal.  All was chaos in me.  I had no longer either discernment or faculty of comprehension.

The day went along.  I stilled my hunger with wild fruits, my thirst in the nearest mountain stream.  The night fell; I lay down beneath a tree.  The damp morning awoke me out of a heavy sleep in which I heard myself rattle in the throat as in death.  Bendel must have lost all trace of me, and it rejoiced me to think so.  I would not return again amongst men before whom I fled in terror, like the timid game of the mountains.  Thus I lived through three weary days.

On the fourth morning I found myself on a sandy plain bright with the sun, and sat on a rock in its beams, for I loved now to enjoy its long-withheld countenance.  I silently fed my heart with its despair.  A light rustle startled me.  Ready for flight I threw round me a hurried glance; I saw no one, but in the sunny sand there glided past me a human shadow, not unlike my own, which, wandering there alone, seemed to have escaped from its possessor.  There awoke in me a mighty yearning.  “Shadow,” said I, “dost thou seek thy master?  I will be he,” and I sprang forward to seize it.  I thought that if I succeeded in treading on it so that its feet touched mine, it probably would remain hanging there, and in time accommodate itself to me.

Page 234

The shadow, on my moving, fled before me, and I was compelled to begin a strenuous chase of the light fugitive, for which the thought of rescuing myself from my fearful condition could alone have endowed me with the requisite vigor.  It flew toward a wood, at a great distance, in which I must, of necessity, have lost it.  I perceived this—­a horror convulsed my heart, inflamed my desire, added wings to my speed; I gained evidently on the shadow, I came continually nearer, I must certainly reach it.  Suddenly it stopped, and turned toward me.  Like a lion on its prey, I shot with a mighty spring forward to make seizure of it—­and dashed unexpectedly against a hard and bodily object.  Invisibly I received the most unprecedented blows on the ribs that mortal man probably ever received.

The effect of the terror in me was convulsively to close my arms, and firmly to inclose that which stood unseen before me.  In the rapid transaction I plunged forward to the ground, but backward and under me was a man whom I had embraced and who now first became visible.

The whole occurrence then became very naturally explicable to me.  The man must have carried the invisible bird’s nest which renders him who holds it, but not his shadow, imperceptible, and had now cast it away.  I glanced round, soon discovered the shadow of the invisible nest itself, leaped up and toward it, and did not miss the precious prize.  Invisible and shadowless, I held the nest in my hand.

The man swiftly springing up, gazing round instantly after his fortunate conqueror, descried on the wide sunny plain neither him nor his shadow, for which he sought with especial avidity.  For that I was myself entirely shadowless he had no leisure to remark, nor could he imagine such a thing.  Having convinced himself that every trace had vanished, he turned his hand against himself and tore his hair in great despair.  To me, however, the acquired treasure had given the power and desire to mix again amongst men.  I did not want for self-satisfying palliatives for my base robbery, or, rather, I had no need of them; and to escape from every thought of the kind, I hastened away, not even looking round at the unhappy one, whose deploring voice I long heard resounding behind me.  Thus, at least, appeared to me the circumstances at the time.

I was on fire to proceed to the Forester’s garden, and there myself to discern the truth of what the Detested One had told me.  I knew not, however, where I was.  I climbed the next hill, in order to look round over the country, and perceived from its summit the near city and the Forester’s garden lying at my feet.  My heart beat violently, and tears of another kind than what I had till now shed rushed into my eyes.  I should see her again!  Anxious desire hastened my steps down the most direct path.  I passed unseen some peasants who came out of the city.  They were talking of me, of Rascal, and the Forest-master; I would hear nothing—­I hurried past.

Page 235

I entered the garden, all the tremor of expectation in my bosom.  I seemed to hear laughter near me.  I shuddered, threw a rapid glance round me, but could discover nobody.  I advanced farther.  I seemed to perceive a sound as of man’s steps near me, but there was nothing to be seen.  I believed myself deceived by my ear.  It was yet early, no one in Count Peter’s arbor, the garden still empty.  I traversed the well-known paths.  I penetrated to the very front of the dwelling.  The same noise more distinctly followed me.  I seated myself with an agonized heart on a bench which stood in the sunny space before the house-door.  It seemed as if I had heard the unseen kobold, laughing in mockery, seat himself near me.  The key turned in the door, it opened, and the Forest-master issued forth with papers in his hand.  A mist seemed to envelop my head.  I looked up, and—­horror! the man in the gray coat sat by me, gazing on me with a satanic leer.  He had drawn his magic-cap at once over his head and mine; at his feet lay his and my shadow peaceably by each other.  He played negligently with the well-known parchment which he held in his hand, and as the Forest-master, busied with his documents, went to and fro in the shadow of the arbor, he stooped familiarly to my ear and whispered in it these words—­“So then you have, notwithstanding, accepted my invitation, and here sit we for once, two heads under one cap.  All right! all right!  But now give me my bird’s nest again; you have no further need of it, and are too honest a man to wish to withhold it from me; but there needs no thanks; I assure you that I have lent it you with the most hearty good will.”  He took it unceremoniously out of my hand, put it in his pocket, and laughed at me again, and that so loud that the Forest-master himself looked round at the noise.  I sat there as if changed to stone.

“But you must admit,” continued he, “that such a cap is much more convenient.  It covers not only your person but your shadow at the same time, and as many others as you have a mind to take with you.  See you again today.  I conduct two of them”—­he laughed again.  “Mark this, Schlemihl; what we at first won’t do with a good will, that will we in the end be compelled to.  I still fancy you will buy that thing from me, take back the bride (for it is yet time), and we leave Rascal dangling on the gallows, an easy thing for us so long as rope is to be had.  Hear you—­I will give you also my cap into the bargain.”

The mother came forth, and the conversation began.  “How goes it with Mina?”

“She weeps.”

“Silly child! it cannot be altered!”

“Certainly not; but to give her to another so soon?  Oh, man! thou art cruel to thy own child.”

“No, mother, that thou quite mistakest.  When she, even before she has wept out her childish tears, finds herself the wife of a very rich and honorable man, she will awake comforted out of her trouble as out of a dream, and thank God and us—­that shalt thou see!”

Page 236

“God grant it!”

“She possesses now, indeed, a very respectable property; but after the stir that this unlucky affair with the adventurer has made, canst thou believe that a partner so suitable as Mr. Rascal could be readily found for her?  Dost thou know what a fortune Mr. Rascal possesses?  He has paid six millions for estates here in the country, free from all debts.  I have had the title deeds in my own hands!  He it was who everywhere had the start of me; and, besides this, has in his possession bills on Thomas John for about three and a half millions.”

“He must have stolen enormously!”

“What talk is that again!  He has wisely saved what would otherwise have been lavished away.”

“A man that has worn livery—­”

“Stupid stuff!  He has, however, an unblemished shadow.”

“Thou art right, but—­”

The man in the gray coat laughed and looked at me.  The door opened and Mina came forth.  She supported herself on the arm of a chambermaid, silent tears rolling down her lovely pale cheeks.  She seated herself on a stool which was placed for her under the lime trees, and her father took a chair by her.  He tenderly took her hand, and addressed her with tender words, while she began violently to weep.

“Thou art my good, dear child, and thou wilt be reasonable, wilt not wish to distress thy old father, who seeks only thy happiness.  I can well conceive it, dear heart, that it has sadly shaken thee.  Thou art wonderfully escaped from thy misfortunes!  Before we discovered the scandalous imposition, thou hadst loved this unworthy one greatly; see, Mina, I know it, and upbraid thee not for it.  I myself, dear child, also loved him so long as I looked upon him as a great gentleman.  But now thou seest how different all has turned out.  What! every poodle has his own shadow, and should my dear child have a husband—­no! thou thinkest, indeed, no more about him.  Listen, Mina!  Now a man solicits thy hand, who does not shun the sunshine, an honorable man, who truly is no prince, but who possesses ten millions, ten times more than thou; a man who will make my dear child happy.  Answer me not, make no opposition, be my good, dutiful daughter, let thy loving father care for thee, and dry thy tears.  Promise me to give thy hand to Mr. Rascal.  Say, wilt thou promise me this?”

She answered with a faint voice—­“I have no will, no wish further upon earth.  Happen with me what my father will.”

At this moment Mr. Rascal was announced, and stepped impudently into the circle.  Mina lay in a swoon.  My detested companion glanced angrily at me, and whispered in hurried words—­“And that can you endure?  What then flows instead of blood in your veins?” He scratched with a hasty movement a slight wound in my hand, blood flowed, and he continued—­“Actually red blood!—­So sign then!” I had the parchment and the pen in my hand.

CHAPTER VII

Page 237

My wish, dear Chamisso, is merely to submit myself to thy judgment, not to endeavor to bias it.  I have long passed the severest sentence on myself, for I have nourished the tormenting worm in my heart.  It hovered during this solemn moment of my life incessantly before my soul, and I could only lift my eyes to it with a doubting glance, with humility and contrition.  Dear friend, he who in levity only sets his foot out of the right road, is unawares conducted into other paths, which draw him downward and ever downward; he then sees in vain the guiding stars glitter in heaven; there remains to him no choice; he must descend unpausingly the declivity and become a voluntary sacrifice to Nemesis.  After the hasty false step which had laid the curse upon me, I had, sinning through love, forced myself into the fortunes of another being, and what remained for me but that, where I had sowed destruction, where speedy salvation was demanded of me, I should blindly rush forward to the rescue?—­for the last hour struck!  Think not so meanly of me, my Adelbert, as to imagine that I should have regarded any price that was demanded as too high, that I should have begrudged anything that was mine even more than my gold.  No, Adelbert! but my soul was possessed with the most unconquerable hatred of this mysterious sneaker along crooked paths.  I might do him injustice, but every degree of association with him revolted me.  And here stepped forth, as so frequently in my life, and as in general so often in the history of the world, an event instead of an action.  Since then I have achieved reconciliation with myself.  I have learned, in the first place, to reverence necessity; and what is more than the action performed, the event accomplished—­her propriety.  Then I have learned to venerate this necessity as a wise Providence, which lives through that great collective machine in which we officiate simply as cooeperating, impelling, and impelled wheels.  What shall be, must be; what should be, happened, and not without that Providence, which I ultimately learned to reverence in my own fate and in the fate of those on whom mine thus impinged.

I know not whether I shall ascribe it to the excitement of my soul under the impulse of such mighty sensations; or to the exhaustion of my physical strength, which during the last days such unwonted privations had enfeebled; or whether, finally, to the desolating commotion which the presence of this gray fiend excited in my whole nature—­be that as it may, as I was on the point of signing I fell into a deep swoon and lay a long time as in the arms of death.

Page 238

Stamping of feet and curses were the first sounds which struck my ear as I returned to consciousness.  I opened my eyes; it was dark; my detested attendant was busied scolding me.  “Is not that to behave like an old woman?  Up with you, man, and complete off-hand what you have resolved on, if you have not taken another thought and had rather blubber!” I raised myself with difficulty from the ground and gazed in silence around.  It was late in the evening; festive music resounded from the brightly illuminated Forester’s house; various groups of people wandered through the garden walks.  One couple came near in conversation, and seated themselves on the bench which I had just quitted.  They talked of the union this morning solemnized between the rich Mr. Rascal and the daughter of the house.  So, then, it had taken place!

I tore the magic-cap of the already vanished unknown from my head, and hastened in brooding silence toward the garden gate, plunging myself into the deepest night of the thicket and striking along the path past Count Peter’s arbor.  But invisibly my tormenting spirit accompanied me, pursuing me with keenest reproaches.  “These then are one’s thanks for the pains which one has taken to support Monsieur, who has weak nerves, through the long precious day.  And one shall act the fool in the play.  Good, Mr. Wronghead, fly you from me if you please, but we are, nevertheless, inseparable.  You have my gold and I your shadow, and this will allow us no repose.  Did anybody ever hear of a shadow forsaking its master?  Your’s draws me after you till you take it back again graciously, and I get rid of it.  What you have hesitated to do out of fresh pleasure, will you, only too late, be compelled to seek through new weariness and disgust.  One cannot escape one’s fate.”  He continued speaking in the same tone.  I fled in vain; he relaxed not, but, ever present, mockingly talked of gold and shadow.  I could come to no single thought of my own.

I struck through empty streets toward my house.  When I stood before it, and gazed at it, I could scarcely recognize it.  No light shone through the dashed-in windows.  The doors were closed; no throng of servants was moving therein.  There was a laugh near me.  “Ha! ha! so goes it!  But you’ll probably find your Bendel at home, for he was the other day providently sent back so weary that he has most likely kept his bed since.”  He laughed again.  “He will have a story to tell!  Well then, for the present, good night!  We meet again speedily!”

I had rung the bell repeatedly; light appeared; Bendel demanded from within who rung.  When the good man recognized my voice, he could scarcely restrain his joy.  The door flew open and we stood weeping in each other’s arms.  I found him greatly changed, weak and ill; but for me—­my hair had become quite gray!

Page 239

He conducted me through the desolated rooms to an inner apartment which had been spared.  He brought food and wine, and we seated ourselves, and he again began to weep.  He related to me that he the other day had cudgeled the gray-clad man whom he had encountered with my shadow, so long and so far that he had lost all trace of me and had sunk to the earth in utter fatigue; that after this, as he could not find me, he returned home, whither presently the mob, at Rascal’s instigation, came rushing in fury, dashed in the windows, and gave full play to their lust of demolition.  Thus did they to their benefactor.  The servants had fled various ways.  The police had ordered me, as a suspicious person, to quit the city, and had allowed only four-and-twenty hours in which to evacuate their jurisdiction.  To that which I already knew of Rascal’s affluence and marriage, he had yet much to add.  This scoundrel, from whom all had proceeded that had been done against me, must, from the beginning, have been in possession of my secret.  It appeared that, attracted by gold, he had contrived to thrust himself upon me, and at the very first had procured a key to the gold cupboard, where he had laid the foundation of that fortune whose augmentation he could now afford to despise.

All this Bendel narrated to me with abundant tears, and then wept for joy that he again beheld me, again had me; and that after he had long doubted whither this misfortune might have led me, he saw me bear it so calmly and collectedly; for such an aspect had despair now assumed in me.  My misery stood before me in its enormity and unchangeableness.  I had wept my last tear; not another cry could be extorted from my heart; I presented to my fate my bare head with chill indifference.

“Bendel,” I said, “thou knowest my lot.  Not without earlier blame has my heavy punishment befallen me.  Thou, innocent man, shalt no longer bind thy destiny to mine.  I do not desire it.  I leave this very night; saddle me a horse; I ride alone; thou remainest; it is my will.  Here still must remain some chests of gold; that retain thou; but I will alone wander unsteadily through the world.  But if ever a happier hour should smile upon me, and fortune look on me with reconciled eyes, then will I remember thee, for I have wept upon thy firmly faithful bosom in heavy and agonizing hours.”

With a broken heart was this honest man compelled to obey this last command of his master, at which his soul shrunk with terror.  I was deaf to his prayers, to his representations; blind to his tears.  He brought me out my steed.  Once more I pressed the weeping man to my bosom, sprang into the saddle, and under the shroud of night hastened from the grave of my existence, regardless which way my horse conducted me, since I had longer on earth no aim, no wish, no hope.

CHAPTER VIII

Page 240

A pedestrian soon joined me, who begged, after he had walked for some time by the side of my horse, that, as we went the same way, he might be allowed to lay a cloak which he carried, on the steed behind me.  I permitted it in silence.  He thanked me with easy politeness for the trifling service; praised my horse; and thence took occasion to extol the happiness and power of the rich, and let himself, I know not how, fall into a kind of monologue, in which he had me now merely for a listener.

He unfolded his views of life and of the world, and came very soon upon metaphysics, whose task is to discover the Word that should solve all riddles.  He stated his thesis with great clearness and proceeded onward to the proofs.

Thou knowest, my friend, that I have clearly discovered, since I have run through the schools of the philosophers, that I have by no means a turn for philosophical speculations, and that I have totally renounced for myself this field.  Since then I have left many things to themselves; abandoned the desire to know and to comprehend many things; and as thou thyself advised me, have, trusting to my common sense, followed as far as I was able the voice within me in my own way.  Now this rhetorician seemed to me to raise with great talent a firmly constructed fabric, which was at once self-based and self-supported, and stood as by an innate necessity.  I missed in it completely, however, what most of all I was desirous to find, and so it became for me merely a work of art, whose elegant compactness and completeness served to charm the eye only; nevertheless I listened willingly to the eloquent man who drew my attention from my grief to him; and I would have gladly yielded myself wholly up to him, had he captivated my heart as much as my understanding.

Meanwhile the time had passed, and unobserved the dawn had already enlightened the heaven.  I was horrified as I looked up suddenly, and saw the glory of colors unfold itself in the east, which announced the approach of the sun; while at this hour in which the shadows ostentatiously display themselves in their greatest extent, there was no protection from it; no refuge in the open country to be descried.  And I was not alone!  I cast a glance at my companion, and was again terror-stricken.  It was no other than the man in the gray coat!

He smiled at my alarm, and went on without allowing me a single word.  “Let, however, as is the way of the world, our mutual advantage for awhile unite us.  It is all in good time for separating.  The road here along the mountain-range, though you have not yet thought of it, is, nevertheless, the only one into which you could logically have struck.  Down into the valley you cannot venture; and still less will you desire to return again over the heights whence you came; and this also happens to be my way.  I see that you already turn pale before the rising sun.  I will, for the time we keep company, lend you your shadow, and you, in exchange, tolerate me

Page 241

in your society.  You have no longer your Bendel with you, I will do you good service.  You do not like me, and I am sorry for it; but, notwithstanding, you can make use of me.  The devil is not so black as he is painted.  Yesterday you vexed me, it is true; I will not upbraid you with it today; and I have already shortened the way hither for you; that you must admit.  Only just take your shadow again awhile on trial.”

The sun had ascended; people appeared on the road; I accepted, though with internal repugnance, the proposal.  Smiling he let my shadow glide to the ground, which immediately took its place on that of the horse, and trotted gaily by my side.  I was in the strangest state of mind.  I rode past a group of country-people, who made way for a man of consequence, reverently, and with bared heads.  I rode on, and gazed with greedy eyes and a palpitating; heart on this my quondam shadow which I had now borrowed from a stranger, yes, from an enemy.

The man went carelessly near me, and even whistled a tune—­he on foot, I on horseback; a dizziness seized me; the temptation was too great; I suddenly turned the reins, clapped spurs to the horse, and struck at full speed into a side-path.  But I carried not off the shadow, which at the turning glided from the horse and awaited its lawful possessor on the high road.  I was compelled with shame to turn back.  The man in the gray coat, when he had calmly finished his tune, laughed at me, set the shadow right again for me and informed me that it would hang fast and remain with me only when I was disposed to become the rightful proprietor.  “I hold you,” continued he, “fast by the shadow, and you cannot escape me.  A rich man, like you, needs a shadow; it cannot be otherwise, and you only are to blame that you did not perceive that sooner.”

I continued my journey on the same road; the comforts and the splendor of life again surrounded me; I could move about free and conveniently, since I possessed a shadow, although only a borrowed one; and I everywhere inspired the respect which riches command.  But I carried death in my heart.  My strange companion, who gave himself out as the unworthy servant of the richest man in the world, possessed an extraordinary professional readiness, prompt and clever beyond comparison, the very model of a valet for a rich man, but he stirred not from my side, perpetually debating with me and ever manifesting his confidence that, at length, were it only to be rid of him, I would resolve to settle the affair of the shadow.  He had become as burdensome to me as he was hateful.  I was even in fear of him.  He had made me dependent on him.  He held me, after he had conducted me back into the glory of the world from which I had fled.  I was almost obliged to tolerate his eloquence, and felt that he was in the right.  A rich man must have a shadow, and, as I desired to command the rank which he had contrived again to make necessary to me, I saw but one issue.  By this, however, I stood fast:  after having sacrificed my love, after my life had been blighted, I would never sign away my soul to this creature, for all the shadows in the world.  I knew not how it would end.

Page 242

We sat, one day, before a cave which the strangers who frequent these mountains are accustomed to visit.  One hears there the rush of subterranean streams roaring up from immeasurable depths, and the stone cast in seemed, in its resounding fall, to find no bottom.  He painted to me, as he often did, with a vivid power of imagination and in the lustrous charms of the most brilliant colors, the most carefully finished pictures of what I might achieve in the world by virtue of my purse, if I had but once again my shadow in my possession.  With my elbows resting on my knees, I kept my face concealed in my hands and listened to the false one, my heart divided between his seduction and my own strong will.  I could not longer stand such an inward conflict, and the deciding strife began.

“You appear, sir, to forget that I have indeed allowed you, upon certain conditions, to remain in my company, but that I have reserved my perfect freedom.”

“If you command it, I pack up.”

He was accustomed to this menace.  I was silent.  He began immediately to roll up my shadow.  I turned pale, but I let it proceed.  There followed a long pause; he first broke it.

“You cannot bear me, sir.  You hate me; I know it; yet why do you hate me?  Is it because you attacked me on the highway, and sought to deprive me by violence of my bird’s nest?  Or is it because you have endeavored, in a thievish manner, to cheat me out of my property, the shadow, which was intrusted to you entirely on your honor?  I, for my part, do not hate you in spite of all this.  I find it quite natural that you should seek to avail yourself of all your advantages, cunning, and power.  Neither do I object to your very strict principles and to your fancy to think like honesty itself.  In fact, I think not so strictly as you; I merely act as you think.  Or have I at any time pressed my finger on your throat in order to bring to me your most precious soul, for which I have a fancy?  Have I, on account of my bartered purse, let a servant loose on you?  Have I sought to swindle you out of it?” I had nothing to oppose to this, and he proceeded:  “Very good, sir! very good!  You cannot endure me; I know that very well, and am by no means angry with you for it.  We must part, that is clear, and, in fact, you begin to be very wearisome to me.  In order, then, to rid you of my continued, shame-inspiring presence, I counsel you once more to purchase this thing from me.”  I extended to him the purse:  “At that price?”—­“No!”

I sighed deeply, and added, “Be it so, then.  I insist, sir, that we part, and that you no longer obstruct my path in a world which, it is to be hoped, has room enough in it for us both.”  He smiled, and replied:  “I go, sir; but first let me instruct you how you may ring for me when you desire to see again your most devoted servant.  You have only to shake your purse, so that the eternal gold pieces therein jingle, and the sound will instantly

Page 243

attract me.  Every one thinks of his own advantage in this world.  You see that I at the same time am thoughtful of yours, since I reveal to you a new power.  Oh! this purse!—­had the moths already devoured your shadow, that would still constitute a strong bond between us.  Enough, you have me in my gold.  Should you have any commands, even when far off, for your servant, you know that I can show myself very active in the service of my friends, and the rich stand particularly well with me.  You have seen it yourself.  Only your shadow, sir—­allow me to tell you that—­never again, except on one sole condition.”

Forms of the past time swept before my soul.  I demanded hastily—­“Had you a signature from Mr. John?” He smiled.  “With so good a friend it was by no means necessary.”  “Where is he?  By God, I wish to know it!” He hesitatingly plunged his hand into his pocket, and, dragged thence by the hair, appeared Thomas John’s ghastly disfigured form, and the blue death-lips moved themselves with heavy words:  “Justo judicio Dei judicatus sum; justo judicio Dei condemnatus sum.”  I shuddered with horror, and dashing the ringing purse into the abyss, I spoke to him the last words—­“I adjure thee, horrible one, in the name of God, take thyself hence, and never again show thyself in my sight!”

He arose gloomily, and instantly vanished behind the masses of rock which bounded this wild, overgrown spot.

CHAPTER IX

I sat there without shadow and without money, but a heavy weight was taken from my bosom.  I was calm.  Had I not also lost my love, or had I in that loss felt myself free from blame, I believe that I should have been happy; but I knew not what I should do.  I examined my pockets; I found yet several gold pieces there; I counted them and laughed.  I had my horses below at the inn; I was ashamed of returning thither; I must, at least, wait till the sun was gone down; it stood yet high in the heavens.  I laid myself down in the shade of the nearest trees, and calmly fell asleep.

Lovely shapes blended themselves before me in charming dance into a pleasing dream.  Mina with a flower-wreath in her hair floated by me, and smiled kindly upon me.  The noble Bendel also was crowned with flowers, and went past with a friendly greeting.  I saw many besides, and I believe thee too, Chamisso, in the distant throng.  A bright light appeared, but no one had a shadow, and, what was stranger, it had by no means a bad effect.  Flowers and songs, love and joy, under groves of palm!  I could neither hold fast nor interpret the moving, lightly floating, lovable forms; but I knew that I dreamed such a dream with joy, and was careful to avoid waking.  I was already awake, but still kept my eyes closed in order to retain the fading apparition longer before my soul.

Page 244

I finally opened my eyes; the sun stood still high in the heavens, but in the east; I had slept through the night.  I took it for a sign that I should not return to the inn.  I gave up readily as lost what I yet possessed there, and determined to strike on foot into a branch road, which led along the wood-grown feet of the mountains, leaving it to fate to fulfil what it had yet in store for me.  I looked not behind me, and thought not even of applying to Bendel, whom I left rich behind me, and which I could readily have done.  I considered the new character which I should support in the world.  My dress was very modest.  I had on an old black polonaise, which I had already worn in Berlin, and which, I know not how, had first come again into my hands for this journey.  I had also a traveling cap on my head, a pair of old boots on my feet.  I arose, and cut me on the spot a knotty stick as a memorial, and pursued my wandering.

I met in the wood an old peasant who, friendly, greeted me, and with whom I entered into conversation.  I inquired, like an inquisitive traveler, first the way, then about the country and its inhabitants, the productions of the mountains, and many such things.  He answered my questions sensibly and loquaciously.  We came to the bed of a mountain torrent, which had spread its devastations over a wide tract of the forest.  I shuddered involuntarily at the sun-bright space, and allowed the countryman to go first; but in the midst of this dangerous spot, he stood still, and turned to relate to me the history of this desolation.  He saw immediately my defect, and paused in the midst of his discourse.

“But how does that happen—­the gentleman has actually no shadow!”

“Alas! alas!” replied I, sighing, “during a long and severe illness, my hair, nails, and shadow fell off.  See, father, at my age, my hair, which is renewed again, is quite white, the nails very short, and the shadow—­that will not grow again.”

“Ay! ay!” responded the old man, shaking his head—­“no shadow, that is bad!  That was a bad illness that the gentleman had.”  But he did not continue his narrative, and at the next cross-way which presented itself left me without saying a word.  Bitter tears trembled anew upon my cheeks, and my cheerfulness was gone.

I pursued my way with a sorrowful heart, and sought no further the society of men.  I kept myself in the darkest wood, and was many a time compelled, in order to pass over a space where the sun shone, to wait for whole hours, lest some human eye should forbid me the transit.  In the evening I sought shelter in the villages.  I went particularly in quest of a mine in the mountains where I hoped to get work under the earth; since, besides that my present situation made it imperative that I should provide for my support, I had discovered that the most active labor alone could protect me from my own annihilating thoughts.

Page 245

A few rainy days advanced me well on the way, but at the expense of my boots, whose soles had been calculated for Count Peter, and not for the pedestrian laborer.  I was already barefoot and had to procure a pair of new boots.  The next morning I transacted this business with much gravity in a village where a wake was being held, and where in a booth old and new boots were sold.  I selected and bargained long.  I was forced to deny myself a new pair, which I would gladly have had, for the extravagant price frightened me.  I therefore contented myself with an old pair, which were yet good and strong, and which the handsome, blond-haired boy who kept the stall, for present cash payment handed to me with a friendly smile and wished me good luck on my journey.  I put them on at once, and left the place by the northern gate.

I was deeply absorbed in my thoughts and scarcely saw where I set my feet, for I was pondering on the mine which I hoped to reach by evening, and where I hardly knew how I should introduce myself.  I had not advanced two hundred strides when I observed that I had gone out of the way.  I therefore looked round me, and found myself in a wild and ancient forest, where the axe appeared never to have been wielded.  I still pressed forward a few steps, and beheld myself in the midst of desert rocks which were overgrown only with moss and lichens, and between which lay fields of snow and ice.  The air was intensely cold; I looked round—­the wood had vanished behind me.  I took a few strides more—­and around me reigned the silence of death; the ice whereon I stood boundlessly extended itself, and on it rested a thick, heavy fog.  The sun stood blood-red on the edge of the horizon.  The cold was insupportable.

I knew not what had happened to me.  The benumbing frost compelled me to hasten my steps; I heard only the roar of distant waters; a step, and I was on the icy margin of an ocean.  Innumerable herds of seals plunged rushing before me in the flood.  I pursued this shore; I saw naked rocks, land, birch and pine forests; I now advanced for a few minutes right onward.  It became stifling hot.  I looked around—­I stood amongst beautifully cultivated rice-fields, and beneath mulberry-trees.  I seated myself in their shade; I looked at my watch; I had left the market town only a quarter of an hour before.  I fancied that I dreamed; I bit my tongue to awake myself, but I was really awake.  I closed my eyes in order to collect my thoughts.  I heard before me singular accents pronounced through the nose.  I looked up.  Two Chinese, unmistakable from their Asiatic physiognomy, if indeed I would have given no credit to their costume, addressed me in their speech with the accustomed salutations of their country.  I arose and stepped two paces backward; I saw them no more.  The landscape was totally changed—­trees and forests instead of rice-fields.  I contemplated these trees and the plants which bloomed around me, which I recognized as the growth of southeastern Asia.  I wished to approach one of these trees—­one step, and again all was changed.  I marched now like a recruit who is drilled, and strode slowly and with measured steps.  Wonderfully diversified lands, rivers, meadows, mountain chains, steppes, deserts of sand, unrolled themselves before my astonished eyes.  There was no doubt of it—­I had seven-league boots on my feet.

Page 246

CHAPTER X

I fell in speechless adoration on my knees and shed tears of thankfulness, for suddenly my future stood clear before my soul.  For early offense thrust out from the society of men, I was cast, for compensation, upon Nature, which I ever loved; the earth was given me as a rich garden, study for the object and strength of my life, and science for its goal.  It was no resolution which I adopted.  I only have since, with severe, unremitted diligence, striven faithfully to represent what then stood clear and perfect before my eye, and my satisfaction has depended on the agreement of the representation with the original.

I roused myself in order, without delay, and with a hasty survey, to take possession of the field where I should hereafter reap.  I stood on the heights of Tibet, and the sun, which had risen upon me only a few hours before, now already stooped to the evening sky.  I wandered over Asia from east to west, overtaking him in his course, and entered Africa.  I gazed about me with eager curiosity, as I repeatedly traversed it in all directions.  As I surveyed the ancient pyramids and temples in passing through Egypt, I descried in the desert not far from hundred-gated Thebes, the caves where the Christian anchorites once dwelt.  It was suddenly firm and clear in me—­here is thy home!  I selected one of the most concealed which was at the same time spacious, convenient, and inaccessible to the jackals, for my future abode, and again went forward.

I passed, at the pillars of Hercules, over to Europe, and when I reviewed the southern and northern provinces, I crossed from northern Asia over the polar glaciers to Greenland and America, traversed both parts of that continent, and the winter which already reigned in the south drove me speedily back northward from Cape Horn.

I tarried awhile till it was day in eastern Asia, and, after some repose, continued my wandering.  I traced through both Americas the mountain chain which constitutes the highest known acclivities on our globe.  I stalked slowly and cautiously from summit to summit, now over flaming volcanoes, now snow-crowned peaks, often breathing with difficulty, when, reaching Mount Saint Elias, I sprang across Behring’s Straits to Asia.  I followed the western shores in their manifold windings, and examined with especial care to ascertain which of the islands were accessible to me.  From the peninsula of Malacca my boots carried me to Sumatra, Java, Bali and Lamboc.  I attempted often with danger, and always in vain, a northwest passage over the lesser islet and rocks with which this sea is studded, to Borneo and the other islands of this Archipelago.  I was compelled to abandon the hope.  At length I seated myself on the extreme portion of Lamboc, and gazing toward the south and east, wept, as at the fast closed bars of my prison, that I had so soon discovered my limits.  New Holland so extraordinary and so essentially necessary to the comprehension of the earth and its sun-woven garment, the vegetable and the animal world, with the South Sea and its Zoophyte islands, was interdicted to me, and thus, at the very outset, all that I should gather and build up was destined to remain a mere fragment!  Oh, my Adelbert, what, after all, are the endeavors of men!

Page 247

Often did I in the severest winter of the southern hemisphere, endeavor, passing the polar glaciers westward, to leave behind me those two hundred strides out from Cape Horn, which sundered me probably from Van Diemen’s Land and New Holland, regardless of my return or whether this dismal region should close upon me as my coffin-lid—­making desperate leaps from ice-drift to ice-drift, and bidding defiance to the cold and the sea.  In vain!  I never reached New Holland, but, every time, I came back to Lamboc, seated myself on its farthest peak, and wept again, with my face turned toward the south and east, as at the fast closed bars of my prison.

I tore myself at length from this spot, and returned with a sorrowful heart into inner Asia.  I traversed that farther, pursuing the morning dawn westward, and came, yet in the night, to my proposed home in the Thebais, which I had touched upon in the afternoon of the day before.

As soon as I was somewhat rested, and when it was day again in Europe, I made it my first care to procure everything which I wanted.  First of all, stop-shoes; for I had experienced how inconvenient it was when I wished to examine near objects, not to be able to slacken my stride except by pulling off my boots.  A pair of slippers drawn over them had completely the effect which I anticipated, and later I always carried two pairs, since I sometimes threw them from my feet, without having time to pick them up again, when lions, men, or hyenas startled me from my botanizing.  My very excellent watch was, for the short duration of my passage, a capital chronometer.  Besides this I needed a sextant, some scientific instruments, and books.

To procure all this, I made several anxious journeys to London and Paris, which, auspiciously for me, a mist just then overshadowed.  As the remains of my enchanted gold was now exhausted, I easily accomplished the payment by gathering African ivory, in which, however, I was obliged to select only the smallest tusks, as not too heavy for me.  I was soon furnished and equipped with all these, and commenced immediately, as private philosopher, my new course of life.

I roamed about the earth, now determining the altitudes of mountains; now the temperature of its springs and the air; now contemplating the animal, now inquiring into the vegetable tribes.  I hastened from the equator to the pole, from one world to the other, comparing facts with facts.  The eggs of the African ostrich or the northern sea-fowl, and fruits, especially of the tropical palms and bananas, were even my ordinary food.  In lieu of happiness I had tobacco, and of human society and the ties of love, one faithful poodle, which guarded my cave in the Thebais, and, when I returned home with fresh treasures, sprang joyfully toward me and gave me still a human feeling that I was not alone on the earth.  An adventure was yet destined to conduct me back amongst mankind.

CHAPTER XI

Page 248

As I once scotched my boots on the shores of the north and gathered lichens and sea-weed, an ice-bear came unawares upon me round the corner of a rock.  Flinging off my slippers, I would step over to an opposite island, to which a naked crag which protruded midway from the waves offered me a passage.  I stepped with one foot firmly on the rock, and plunged over on the other side into the sea, one of my slippers having unobserved remained fast on the foot.

The excessive cold seized on me; I with difficulty rescued my life from this danger; and the moment I reached land, I ran with the utmost speed to the Lybyan desert in order to dry myself in the sun, but, as I was here exposed, it burned me so furiously on the head that I staggered back again very ill toward the north.  I sought to relieve myself by rapid motion, and ran with swift, uncertain steps, from west to east, from east to west.  I found myself now in the day, now in the night; now in summer, now in the winter’s cold.

I know not how long I thus reeled about on the earth.  A burning fever glowed in my veins; with deepest distress I felt my senses forsaking me.  As mischief would have it, in my incautious career, I now trod on some one’s foot; I must have hurt him; I received a heavy blow, and fell to the ground.

When I again returned to consciousness, I lay comfortably in a good bed, which stood amongst many other beds in a handsome hall.  Some one sat at my head; people went through the hall from one bed to another.  They came to mine, and spoke together about me.  They styled me Number Twelve; and on the wall at my feet stood—­yes, certainly it was no delusion, I could distinctly read on a black tablet of marble in great golden letters, quite correctly written, my name—­

  PETER SCHLEMIHL.

On the tablet beneath my name were two other rows of letters, but I was too weak to put them together.  I again closed my eyes.

I heard something of which the subject was Peter Schlemihl read aloud, and articulately, but I could not collect the sense.  I saw a friendly man, and a very lovely woman in black dress appear at my bedside.  The forms were not strange to me, and yet I could not recognize them.

Some time went on, and I recovered my strength.  I was called Number Twelve; and Number Twelve, on account of his long beard, passed for a Jew, on which account, however, he was not at all the less carefully treated.  That he had no shadow appeared to have been unobserved.  My boots, as I was assured, were, with all that I had brought hither, in good keeping, in order to be restored to me on my recovery.  The place in which I lay was called the SCHLEMIHLIUM.  What was daily read aloud concerning Peter Schlemihl was an exhortation to pray for him as the Founder and Benefactor of this institution.  The friendly man whom I had seen by my bed was Bendel; the lovely woman was Mina.

Page 249

I recovered unrecognized in the Schlemihlium; and learned yet further that I was in Bendel’s native city, where, with the remains of my otherwise unblessed gold, he had in my name founded this Hospital, where the unhappy blessed me, and himself maintained its superintendence.  Mina was a widow.  An unhappy criminal process had cost Mr. Rascal his life, and her the greater part of her property.  Her parents were no more.  She lived here as a pious widow, and practised works of mercy.

Once she conversed with Mr. Bendel at the bedside of Number Twelve.  “Why, noble lady, will you so often expose yourself to the bad atmosphere which prevails here?  Does fate then deal so hardly with you that you wish to die?”

“No, Mr. Bendel, since I have dreamed out my long dream, and have awoke in myself, all is well with me; since then I crave not, and fear not, death.  Since then, I reflect calmly on the past and the future.  Is it not also with a still inward happiness that you now, in so devout a manner, serve your master and friend?”

“Thank God, yes, noble lady.  But we have seen wonderful things; we have unwarily drunk much good, and bitter woes, out of the full cup.  Now it is empty, and we may believe that the whole has been only a trial, and, armed with wise discernment, awaits the real beginning.  The real beginning is of another fashion; and we wish not back the first jugglery, and are on the whole glad, such as it was, to have lived through it.  I feel also within me a confidence that it must now be better than formerly with our old friend.”

“Within me too,” replied the lovely widow, and then passed on.

The conversation left a deep impression upon me, but I was undecided in myself whether I should make myself known or depart hence unrecognized.  I took my resolve.  I requested paper and pencil, and wrote these words—­“It is indeed better with your old friend now than formerly, and if he does penance it is the penance of reconciliation.”

Hereupon I desired to dress myself, as I found myself stronger.  The key of the small wardrobe which stood near my bed was brought, and I found therein all that belonged to me.  I put on my clothes, suspended my botanical case, in which I rejoiced still to find my northern lichens, round my black polonaise, drew on my boots, laid the written paper on my bed, and, as the door opened, I was already far on the way to the Thebais.

As I took the way along the Syrian coast, on which I for the last time had wandered from home, I perceived my poor Figaro coming toward me.  This excellent poodle, which had long expected his master at home, seemed to desire to trace him out.  I stood still and called to him.  He sprang barking toward me, with a thousand moving assurances of his inmost and most extravagant joy.  I took him up under my arm, for in truth he could not follow me, and brought him with me home again.

Page 250

I found all in its old order, and returned gradually, as my strength was recruited, to my former employment and mode of life, except that I kept myself for a whole year out of the, to me, wholly insupportable polar cold.  And thus, my dear Chamisso, I live to this day.  My boots are no worse for the wear, as that very learned work of the celebrated Tieckius, De Rebus Gestis Pollicilli, at first led me to fear.  Their force remains unimpaired, my strength only decays; yet I have the comfort to have exerted it in a continuous and not fruitless pursuit of one object.  I have, so far as my boots could carry me, become more fundamentally acquainted than any man before me with the earth, its shape, its elevations, its temperatures, the changes of its atmosphere, the exhibitions of its magnetic power, and the life upon it, especially in the vegetable world.  The facts I have recorded with the greatest possible exactness and in perspicuous order in several works, and stated my deductions and views briefly in several treatises.  I have settled the geography of the interior of Africa, and of the northern polar regions; of the interior of Asia, and its eastern shores.  My Historia Stirpium Plantarum Utriusque Orbis stands as a grand fragment of the Flora Universalis Terrae, and as a branch of my Systema Naturae.  I believe that I have therein not merely augmented, at a moderate calculation, the amount of known species, more than one-third, but have done something for the Natural System, and for the Geography of Plants.  I shall labor diligently at my Fauna.  I shall take care that, before my death, my works shall be deposited in the Berlin University.

And thee, my dear Chamisso, have I selected as the preserver of my singular history, which, perhaps, when I have vanished from the earth, may afford valuable instruction to many of its inhabitants.  But thou, my friend, if thou wilt live among men, learn before all things to reverence the shadow, and then the gold.  Wishest thou to live only for thyself and for thy better self—­oh, then!—­thou needest no counsel.

ERNST THEODOR AMADEUS HOFFMANN

* * * * *

THE GOLDEN POT[44] (1814)

TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC H. HEDGE

FIRST VIGIL

    The mishaps of the student Anselmus.  Conrector Paulmann’s sanitary
    canaster and the gold-green snakes.

On Ascension-day, at three o’clock in the afternoon, a young man in Dresden came running through the Black Gate, falling right into a basket of apples and cakes, which an old and very ugly woman was there exposing to sale.  All that escaped being smashed to pieces was scattered away, and the street-urchins joyfully divided the booty which this quick gentleman had thrown in the way.  At the murder-shriek which the crone

Page 251

set up, her gossips, leaving their cake and brandy-tables, encircled the young man, and with plebeian violence stormfully scolded him, so that, for shame and vexation, he uttered no word, but merely held out his small and by no means particularly well-filled purse, which the crone eagerly clutched and stuck into her pocket.  The firm ring now opened; but as the young man started off, the crone called after him:  “Ay, run, run thy ways, thou Devil’s bird!  To the crystal run—­to the crystal!” The squealing, creaking voice of the woman had something unearthly in it, so that the promenaders paused in amazement, and the laugh, which at first had been universal, instantly died away.  The student Anselmus, for the young man was no other, felt himself, though he did not in the least understand these singular phrases, nevertheless seized with a certain involuntary horror; and he quickened his steps still more, to escape the curious looks of the multitude, which were all turned toward him.  As he worked his way through the crowd of well-dressed people, he heard them murmuring on all sides:  “Poor young fellow!  Ha! what a cursed bedlam it is!” The mysterious words of the crone had, oddly enough, given this ludicrous adventure a sort of tragic turn; and the youth, before unobserved, was now looked after with a certain sympathy.  The ladies, for his fine shape and handsome face, which the glow of inward anger was rendering still more expressive, forgave him this awkward step, as well as the dress he wore, though it was utterly at variance with all mode.  His pike-gray frock was shaped as if the tailor had known the modern form only by hearsay; and his well-kept black satin lower habiliments gave the whole a certain pedagogic air, to which the gait and gesture of the wearer did not at all correspond.

The student had almost reached the end of the alley which leads out to the Linke Bath; but his breath could stand such a rate no longer.  From running, he took to walking; but scarcely did he yet dare to lift an eye from the ground; for he still saw apples and cakes dancing round him, and every kind look from this or that fair damsel was to him but the reflex of the mocking laughter at the Black Gate.  In this mood, he had got to the entrance of the bath; one group of holiday people after the other were moving in.  Music of wind-instruments resounded from the place, and the din of merry guests was growing louder and louder.  The poor student Anselmus was almost on the point of weeping; for he too had expected, Ascension-day having always been a family-festival with him, to participate in the felicities of the Linkean paradise; nay, he had purposed even to go the length of a half “portion” of coffee with rum, and a whole bottle of double beer, and, that he might carouse at his ease, had put more money in his purse than was properly permissible and feasible.  And now, by this fatal step into the apple-basket, all that he had about him had been swept away.  Of coffee, of double beer, of music, of looking at the bright damsels—­in a word, of all his fancied enjoyments, there was now nothing more to be said.  He glided slowly past, and at last turned down the Elbe road, which at that time happened to be quite solitary.

Page 252

[Illustration:  Permission Berlin Photo Co., New York.  HENSEL ERNST THEODOR AMADEUS HOFFMANN]

Beneath an elder-tree, which had grown out through the wall, he found a kind green resting-place; here he sat down, and filled a pipe from the Sanitaetsknaster or Health-tobacco, of which his friend the Conrector Paulmann had lately made him a present.  Close before him rolled and chafed the gold-dyed waves of the fair Elbe-stream; behind him rose lordly Dresden, stretching, bold and proud, its light towers into the airy sky; which again, farther off, bent itself down toward flowery meads and fresh springing woods; and in the dim distance, a range of azure peaks gave notice of remote Bohemia.  But, heedless of this, the student Anselmus, looking gloomily before him, blew forth his smoky clouds into the air.  His chagrin at length became audible, and he said:  “Of a truth, I am born to losses and crosses for my life long!  That in boyhood I never could become the King on Twelfthnight, that at Odds or Evens I could never once guess the right way, that my bread and butter always fell on the buttered side—­of all these sorrows I will not speak; but is it not a frightful destiny, that now, when, in spite of Satan, I have become a student, I must still be a jolthead as before?  Do I ever put a new coat on, without the first day smearing it with tallow, or on some ill-fastened nail or other tearing a cursed hole in it?  Do I ever bow to any Councilor or any lady, without pitching the hat out of my hands, or even slipping on the pavement, and shamefully going heels-over-head?  Had I not, every market-day, while in Halle, a regular sum of from three to four groschen to pay for broken pottery, the Devil putting it into my head to walk straight forward, like a leming-rat?  Have I ever once got to my college, or any place I was appointed to, at the right time?  What availed it that I set out half an hour before, and planted myself at the door, with the knocker in my hand?  Just as the clock is going to strike, souse! some Devil pours a wash-basin down on me, or I bolt against some fellow coming out, and get myself engaged in endless quarrels till the time is clean gone.

“Ah! well-a-day! whither are ye fled, ye blissful dreams of coming fortune, when I proudly thought that here I might even reach the height of Privy Secretary?  And has not my evil star estranged from me my best patrons?  I learn, for instance, that the Councilor, to whom I have a letter, cannot suffer cropped hair; with immensity of trouble, the barber fastens me a little cue to my hindhead; but at the first bow his unblessed knot gives way, and a little shock-dog, running snuffling about me, frisks off to the Privy Councilor with the cue in his mouth.  I spring after it in terror, and stumble against the table, where he has been working while at breakfast; and cups, plates, ink-glass, sand-box, rush jingling to the floor, and a flood of chocolate and ink overflows the “Relation” he has just been writing.  ‘Is the Devil in the man?’ bellows the furious Privy Councilor, and shoves me out of the room.

Page 253

“What avails it that Corrector Paulmann gave me hopes of a writership:  will my malignant fate allow it, which everywhere pursues me?  Today even!  Do but think of it!  I was purposing to hold my good old Ascension-day with right cheerfulness of soul; I would stretch a point for once; I might have gone, as well as any other guest, into Linke’s Bath, and called out proudly:  ’Marqueur! a bottle of double beer; best sort, if you please!’ I might have sat till far in the evening, and, moreover, close by this or that fine party of well-dressed ladies.  I know it, I feel it! heart would have come into me and I should have been quite another man; nay, I might have carried it so far that when one or other of them asked, `What o’clock may it be?’ or ’What is it they are playing?’ I should have started up with light grace, and without overturning my glass or stumbling over the bench, but in a curved posture, moving one step and a half forward, I should have answered:  ’Give me leave, Mademoiselle! it is the overture of the Donauweibchen;’ or, ‘It is just going to strike six.’  Could any mortal in the world have taken it ill of me?  No!  I say; the girls would have looked over, smiling so roguishly, as they always do when I pluck up heart to show them that I too understand the light tone of society, and know how ladies should be spoken to.  But here—­the Devil leads me into that cursed apple-basket, and now must I sit moping in solitude, with nothing but a poor pipe of——­” Here the student Anselmus was interrupted in his soliloquy by a strange rustling and whisking, which rose close by him in the grass, but soon glided up into the twigs and leaves of the elder-tree that stretched out over his head.  It was as if the evening wind were shaking the leaves; as if little birds were twittering among the branches, moving their little wings in capricious flutter to and fro.  Then he heard a whispering and lisping; and it seemed as if the blossoms were sounding like little crystal bells.  Anselmus listened and listened.  Ere long, the whispering, and lisping, and tinkling, he himself knew not how, grew to faint and half-scattered words: 

“’Twixt this way, ’twixt that; ’twixt branches, ’twixt blossoms, come shoot, come twist and twirl we!  Sisterkin, sisterkin! up to the shine; up, down, through and through, quick!  Sun-rays yellow; evening-wind whispering; dew-drops pattering; blossoms all singing:  sing we with branches and blossoms!  Stars soon glitter; must down:  ’twixt this way, ’twixt that, come shoot, come twist, come twirl we, sisterkin!”

And so it went along, in confused and confusing speech.  The student Anselmus thought:  “Well, it is but the evening-wind, which tonight truly is whispering distinctly enough.”  But at that moment there sounded over his head, as it were, a triple harmony of clear crystal bells:  he looked up, and perceived three little snakes, glittering with green and gold, twisted round the branches, and stretching out their heads to the evening sun.  Then, again, began a whispering and twittering in the same words as before, and the little snakes went gliding and caressing up and down through the twigs; and while they moved so rapidly, it was as if the elder-bush were scattering a thousand glittering emeralds through the dark leaves.

Page 254

“It is the evening sun which sports so in the elder-bush,” thought the student Anselmus; but the bells sounded again, and Anselmus observed that one Snake held out its little head to him.  Through all his limbs there went a shock like electricity; he quivered in his inmost heart; he kept gazing up, and a pair of glorious dark-blue eyes were looking at him with unspeakable longing; and an unknown feeling of highest blessedness and deepest sorrow was like to rend his heart asunder.  And as he looked, and still looked, full of warm desire, into these charming eyes, the crystal bells sounded louder in harmonious accord, and the glittering emeralds fell down and encircled him, flickering round him in thousand sparkles, and sporting in resplendent threads of gold.  The Elder-bush moved and spoke:  “Thou layest in my shadow; my perfume flowed round thee, but thou understoodst me not.  The perfume is my speech, when Love kindles it.”  The Evening-Wind came gliding past, and said:  “I played round thy temples, but thou understoodst me not.  Breath is my speech, when Love kindles it.”  The sunbeams broke through the clouds, and the sheen of it burnt, as in words:  “I overflowed thee with glowing gold, but thou understoodst me not.  Glow is my speech, when Love kindles it.”

And, still deeper and deeper sunk in the view of these glorious eyes, his longing grew keener, his desire more warm.  And all rose and moved around him, as if awakening to joyous life.  Flowers and blossoms shed their odors round him; and their odor was like the lordly singing of a thousand softest voices; and what they sung was borne, like an echo, on the golden evening clouds, as they flitted away, into far-off lands.  But as the last sunbeam abruptly sank behind the hills, and the twilight threw its veil over the scene, there came a hoarse deep voice, as from a great distance: 

“Hey! hey! what chattering and jingling is that up there?  Hey! hey! who catches me the ray behind the hills?  Sunned enough, sung enough.  Hey! hey! through bush and grass, through grass and stream!  Hey! hey!  Come dow-w-n, dow-w-w-n!”

So faded the voice away, as in murmurs of a distant thunder; but the crystal bells broke off in sharp discords.  All became mute; and the student Anselmus observed how the three snakes, glittering and sparkling, glided through the grass toward the river; rustling and hustling, they rushed into the Elbe; and over the waves where they vanished, there crackled up a green flame, which, gleaming forward obliquely, vanished in the direction of the city.

SECOND VIGIL

    How the student Anselmus was looked upon as drunk and mad.  The
    crossing of the Elbe.  Bandmaster Graun’s Bravura.  Conradi’s
    Stomachic Liqueur, and the bronzed Apple-Woman.

Page 255

“The gentleman seems not to be in his right wits!” said a respectable burgher’s wife, who, returning from a walk with her family, had paused here, and, with crossed arms, was looking at the mad pranks of the student Anselmus.  Anselmus had clasped the trunk of the elder-tree, and was calling incessantly up to the branches and leaves:  “O glitter and shine once more, ye dear gold snakes; let me hear your little bell-voices once more!  Look on me once more, ye kind eyes; O once, or I must die in pain and ardent longing!” And with this, he was sighing and sobbing from the bottom of his heart most pitifully, and, in his eagerness and impatience, shaking the elder-tree to and fro; which, however, instead of any reply, rustled quite gloomily and inaudibly with its leaves, and so rather seemed, as it were, to make sport of the student Anselmus and his sorrows.

“The gentleman seemingly is not in his right wits!” said the burgher’s wife; and Anselmus felt as if you had shaken him out of a deep dream, or poured ice-cold water on him, that he might awaken without loss of time.  He now first saw clearly where he was and recollected what a strange apparition had teased him, nay, so beguiled his senses as to make him break forth into loud talk with himself.  In astonishment, he gazed at the woman; and at last, snatching up his hat, which had fallen to the ground in his transport, was for making off in all speed.  The burgher himself had come forward in the meanwhile; and, setting down the child from his arm on the grass, had been leaning on his staff, and with amazement listening and looking at the student.  He now picked up the pipe and tobacco-pouch which the student had let fall, and, holding them out to him, said:  “Don’t take on so dreadfully in the dark, my worthy sir, or alarm people, when nothing is the matter, after all, but having taken a sip too much; go home, like a pretty man, and take a nap of sleep on it.”

The student Anselmus felt exceedingly ashamed; he uttered nothing but a most lamentable Ah!

“Pooh!  Pooh!” said the burgher, “never mind it a jot; such a thing will happen to the best; on good old Ascension-day a man may readily enough forget himself in his joy, and gulp down a thought too much.  A clergyman himself is no worse for it:  I presume, my worthy sir, you are a Candidatus.—­But, with your leave, sir, I shall fill my pipe with your tobacco; mine went out a little while ago.”

This last sentence the burgher uttered while the student Anselmus was about putting up his pipe and pouch; and now the burgher slowly and deliberately cleaned his pipe, and began as slowly to fill it.  Several burgher girls had come up; they were speaking secretly with the woman and one another, and tittering as they looked at Anselmus.  The student felt as if he were standing on prickly thorns and burning needles.  No sooner had he recovered his pipe and tobacco-pouch, than he darted off at the height of his speed.

Page 256

All the strange things he had seen were clean gone from his memory; he simply recollected having babbled all manner of foolish stuff beneath the elder-tree.  This was the more shocking to him, as he entertained from of old an inward horror against all soliloquists.  It is Satan that chatters out of them, said his Rector; and Anselmus shared honestly his belief.  To be regarded as a Candidatus Theologiae, overtaken with drink on Ascension-day!  The thought was intolerable.

He was just about turning up the Poplar Alley, by the Kosel Garden, when a voice behind him called out:  “Herr Anselmus!  Herr Anselmus! for the love of Heaven, whither are you running in such haste?” The student paused, as if rooted to the ground; for he was convinced that now some new mischance would befall him.  The voice rose again:  “Herr Anselmus, come back, then; we are waiting for you here at the water!” And now the student perceived that it was his friend Conrector Paulmann’s voice; he went back to the Elbe, and found the Conrector, with his two daughters, as well as Registrator Heerbrand, all on the point of stepping into their gondola.  Conrector Paulmann invited the student to go with them across the Elbe, and then to pass the evening at his house in the Pirna suburb.  The student Anselmus very gladly accepted this proposal, thinking thereby to escape the malignant destiny which had ruled over him all day.

Now, as they were crossing the river, it chanced that, on the farther bank, near the Anton Garden, fireworks were just going off.  Sputtering and hissing, the rockets went aloft, and their blazing stars flew to pieces in the air, scattering a thousand vague shoots and flashes round them.  The student Anselmus was sitting by the steersman, sunk in deep thought; but when he noticed in the water the reflection of these darting and wavering sparks and flames, he felt as if it was the little golden snakes that were sporting in the flood.  All the strange things he had seen at the elder-tree again started forth into his heart and thoughts; and again that unspeakable longing, that glowing desire, laid hold of him here, which had before agitated his bosom in painful spasms of rapture.

“Ah! is it you again, my little golden snakes?  Sing now, O sing!  In your song let the kind, dear, dark-blue eyes again appear to me.—­Ah? are ye under the waves, then?”

So cried the student Anselmus, and at the same time made a violent movement, as if he were for plunging from the gondola into the river.

“Is the Devil in you, sir?” exclaimed the steersman, and clutched him by the coat-tail.  The girls, who were sitting by him, shrieked in terror, and fled to the other side of the gondola.  Registrator Heerbrand whispered something in Conrector Paulmann’s ear, to which the latter answered, but in so low a tone that Anselmus could distinguish nothing but the words:  “Such attacks—­never noticed them before?” Directly after this, Conrector

Page 257

Paulmann also rose, and then sat down, with a certain earnest, grave, official mien, beside the student Anselmus, taking his hand, and saying:  “How are you, Herr Anselmus?” The student Anselmus was like to lose his wits, for in his mind there was a mad distraction, which he strove in vain to soothe.  He now saw plainly that what he had taken for the gleaming of the golden snakes was nothing but the reflection of the fireworks in Anton’s Garden:  but a feeling unexperienced till now, he himself knew not whether it was rapture or pain, cramped his breast together; and when the steersman struck through the water with his helm, so that the waves, curling as in anger, gurgled and chafed, he heard in their din a soft whispering:  “Anselmus!  Anselmus! seest thou not how we still skim along before thee?  Sisterkin looks at thee again; believe, believe, believe in us!” And he thought he saw in the reflected light three green-glowing streaks; but then, when he gazed, full of fond sadness, into the water, to see whether these gentle eyes would not again look up to him, he perceived too well that the shine proceeded only from the windows in the neighboring houses.  He was sitting mute in his place, and inwardly battling with himself, when Conrector Paulman repeated, with still greater emphasis:  “How are you, Herr Anselmus?”

With the most rueful tone, Anselmus replied:  “Ah!  Herr Conrector, if you knew what strange things I have been dreaming, quite awake, with open eyes, just now, under an elder-tree at the wall of Linke’s garden, you would not take it amiss of me that I am a little absent, or so.”

“Ey, ey, Herr Anselmus!” interrupted Conrector Paulmann, “I have always taken you for a solid young man; but to dream, to dream with your eyes wide open, and then, all at once, to start up for leaping into the water!  This, begging your pardon, is what only fools or madmen could do.”

The student Anselmus was deeply affected at his friend’s hard saying; then Veronica, Paulmann’s eldest daughter, a most pretty blooming girl of sixteen, addressed her father:  “But, dear father, something singular must have befallen Herr Anselmus; and perhaps he only thinks he was awake, while he may really have been asleep, and so all manner of wild stuff has come into his head and is still lying in his thoughts.”

“And, dearest Mademoiselle!  Worthy Conrector!” interrupted Registrator Heerbrand, “may one not, even when awake, sometimes sink into a sort of dreaming state?  I myself have had such fits.  One afternoon, for instance, during coffee, in a sort of brown study like this, in the very moment of corporeal and spiritual digestion, the place where a lost document was lying occurred to me, as if by inspiration; and last night, no further gone, there came glorious large Latin WRIT tripping out before my open eyes, in the very same way.”

“Ah! most honored Registrator,” answered Conrector Paulmann, “you have always had a tendency to the Poetica; and thus one falls into fantasies and romantic humors.”

Page 258

The student Anselmus, however, was particularly gratified that in this most troublous situation, while in danger of being considered drunk or crazy, any one should take his part; and though it was already fairly dark, he thought he noticed, for the first time, that Veronica had really very fine dark-blue eyes, and this too without remembering the strange pair which he had looked at in the elder-bush.  On the whole, the adventure under the elder-bush had once more entirely vanished from the thoughts of the student Anselmus; he felt himself at ease and light of heart; nay, in the capriciousness of joy, he carried it so far that he offered a helping hand to his fair advocate, Veronica, as she was stepping from the gondola; and without more ado, as she put her arm in his, escorted her home with so much dexterity and good luck that he missed his footing only once, and this being the only wet spot in the whole road, spattered Veronica’s white gown only a very little by the incident.

Conrector Paulmann failed not to observe this happy change in the student Anselmus; he resumed his liking for him, and begged forgiveness for the hard words which he had let fall before.  “Yes,” added he, “we have many examples to show that certain phantasms may rise before a man and pester and plague him not a little; but this is bodily disease, and leeches are good for it, if applied to the right part, as a certain learned physician, now deceased, has directed.”  The student Anselmus knew not whether he had been drunk, crazy, or sick; but at all events the leeches seemed entirely superfluous, as these supposed phantasms had utterly vanished, and the student himself was growing happier and happier, the more he prospered in serving the pretty Veronica with all sorts of dainty attentions.

As usual, after the frugal meal, came music; the student Anselmus had to take his seat before the harpsichord, and Veronica accompanied his playing with her pure clear voice.  “Dear Mademoiselle,” said Registrator Heerbrand, “you have a voice like a crystal bell!”

“That she has not!” ejaculated the student Anselmus, he scarcely knew how.  “Crystal bells in elder-trees sound strangely, strangely!” continued the student Anselmus, murmuring half aloud.

Veronica laid her hand on his shoulder, and asked:  “What are you saying now, Herr Anselmus?”

Instantly Anselmus recovered his cheerfulness, and began playing.  Conrector Paulmann gave a grim look at him; but Registrator Heerbrand laid a music-leaf on the frame, and sang with ravishing grace one of Bandmaster Graun’s bravura airs.  The student Anselmus accompanied this, and much more; and a fantasy duet, which Veronica and he now fingered, and Conrector Paulmann had himself composed, again brought all into the gayest humor.

It was now quite late, and Registrator Heerbrand was taking up his hat and stick, when Conrector Paulmann went up to him with a mysterious air, and said:  “Hem!—­Would not you, honored Registrator, mention to the good Herr Anselmus himself—­Hem! what we were speaking of before?”

Page 259

“With all the pleasure in nature,” said Registrator Heerbrand; and after all were seated in a circle, he began, without farther preamble, as follows: 

“In this city is an old, strange, remarkable man; people say he follows all manner of secret sciences; but as there are no such sciences, I rather take him for an antiquary, and, along with this, for an experimental chemist.  I mean no other than our Privy Archivarius Lindhorst.  He lives, as you know, by himself, in his old sequestered house; and when disengaged from his office he is to be found in his library, or in his chemical laboratory, to which, however, he admits no stranger.  Besides many curious books, he possesses a number of manuscripts, partly Arabic, Coptic, and some of them in strange characters which belong not to any known tongue.  These he wishes to have copied properly; and for this purpose he requires a man who can draw with the pen, and so transfer these marks to parchment, in Indian ink, with the highest strictness and fidelity.  The work is carried on in a separate chamber of his house, under his own oversight; and besides free board during the time of business, he pays his man a specie-dollar, daily, and promises a handsome present when the copying is rightly finished.  The hours of work are from twelve to six.  From three to four, you take rest and dinner.

“Herr Archivarius Lindhorst having in vain tried one or two young people for copying these manuscripts, has at last applied to me to find him an expert drawer; and so I have been thinking of you, dear Herr Anselmus, for I know that you both write very neatly, and likewise draw with the pen to great perfection.  Now, if in these bad times, and till your future establishment, you would like to earn a speziesthaler in the day, and this present over and above, you can go tomorrow precisely at noon, and call upon the Archivarius, whose house no doubt you know.  But be on your guard against any blot!  If such a thing falls on your copy, you must begin it again; if it falls on the original, the Archivarius will think nothing of throwing you out of the window, for he is a hot-tempered gentleman.”

The student Anselmus was filled with joy at Registrator Heerbrand’s proposal; for not only could the student write well and draw well with the pen, but this copying with laborious calligraphic pains was a thing he delighted in beyond aught else.  So he thanked his patron in the most grateful terms, and promised not to fail at noon tomorrow.

All night the student Anselmus saw nothing but clear speziesthalers, and heard nothing but their lovely clink.  Who could blame the poor youth, cheated of so many hopes by capricious destiny, obliged to take counsel about every farthing, and to forego so many joys which a young heart requires!  Early in the morning he brought out his black-lead pencils, his crow-quills, his Indian ink; for better materials, thought he, the Archivarius can find nowhere. 

Page 260

Above all, he mustered and arranged his calligraphic masterpieces and his drawings, to show them to the Archivarius, in proof of his ability to do what he wished.  All prospered with the student; a peculiar happy star seemed to be presiding over him; his neckcloth sat right at the very first trial; no tack burst; no loop gave way in his black silk stockings; his hat did not once fall to the dust after he had trimmed it.  In a word, precisely at half-past eleven, the student Anselmus, in his pike-gray frock, and black satin lower habiliments, with a roll of calligraphics and pen-drawings in his pocket, was standing in the Schlossgasse, in Conradi’s shop, and drinking one—­two glasses of the best stomachic liqueur; for here, thought he, slapping on the still empty pocket, for here speziesthalers will be clinking soon.

Notwithstanding the distance of the solitary street where the Archivarius Lindhorst’s very ancient residence lay, the student Anselmus was at the front door before the stroke of twelve.  He stood here, and was looking at the large fine bronze knocker; but now when, as the last stroke tingled through the air with loud clang from the steeple-clock of the Kreuzkirche, he lifted his hand to grasp this same knocker, the metal visage twisted itself, with horrid rolling of its blue-gleaming eyes, into a grinning smile.  Alas, it was the Apple-woman of the Black Gate!  The pointed teeth gnashed together in the loose jaws, and in their chattering through the skinny lips there was a growl of:  “Thou fool, fool, fool!—­Wait, wait!—­Why didst run!—­Fool!” Horror-struck, the student Anselmus flew back; he clutched at the door-post, but his hand caught the bell-rope and pulled it, and in piercing discords it rung stronger and stronger, and through the whole empty house the echo repeated, as in mockery:  “To the crystal fall!” An unearthly terror seized the student Anselmus, and quivered through all his limbs.  The bell-rope lengthened downward, and became a white, transparent, gigantic serpent, which encircled and crushed him, and girded him straiter and straiter in its coils, till his brittle, paralyzed limbs went crashing in pieces, and the blood spouted from his veins, penetrating into the transparent body of the serpent, and dyeing it red.  “Kill me!  Kill me!” he would have cried, in his horrible agony; but the cry was only a stifled gurgle in his throat.  The serpent lifted its head, and laid its long peaked tongue of glowing brass on the breast of Anselmus; then a fierce pang suddenly cut asunder the artery of life, and thought fled away from him.  On returning to his senses, he was lying on his own poor truckle-bed; Conrector Paulmann was standing before him, and saying:  “For Heaven’s sake, what mad stuff is this, dear Herr Anselmus?”

SIXTH VIGIL

    Archivarius Lindhorst’s Garden, with some Mocking birds.  The Golden
    Pot.  English current-hand.  Pot-hooks.  The Prince of the Spirits.

Page 261

“It may be, after all,” said the student Anselmus to himself, “that the superfine, strong, stomachic liqueur, which I took somewhat freely at Monsieur Conradi’s, might really be the cause of all these shocking phantasms which so tortured me at Archivarius Lindhorst’s door.  Therefore, I will go quite sober today, and so bid defiance to whatever further mischief may assail me.”  On this occasion, as before, when equipping himself for his first call on Archivarius Lindhorst, the student Anselmus put his pen-drawings and calligraphic masterpieces, his bars of Indian ink, and his well-pointed crow-pens, into his pockets; and was just turning to go out, when his eye lighted on the vial with the yellow liqueur, which he had received from Archivarius Lindhorst.  All the strange adventures he had met with again rose on his mind in glowing colors; and a nameless emotion of rapture and pain thrilled through his breast.  Involuntarily he exclaimed, with a most piteous voice:  “Ah, am I not going to the Archivarius solely for a sight of thee, thou gentle lovely Serpentina!” At that moment he felt as if Serpentina’s love might be the prize of some laborious perilous task which he had to undertake, and as if this task were no other than the copying of the Lindhorst manuscripts.  That at his very entrance into the house, or, more properly, before his entrance, all manner of mysterious things might happen, as of late, was no more than he anticipated.  He thought no more of Conradi’s strong water, but hastily put the vial of liqueur in his waistcoat-pocket that he might act strictly by the Archivarius’ directions, should the bronzed Apple-woman again take it upon her to make faces at him.

And did not the hawk-nose actually peak itself, did not the cat-eyes actually glare from the knocker, as he raised his hand to it, at the stroke of twelve?  But now, without further ceremony, he dribbled his liqueur into the pestilent visage; and it folded and molded itself, that instant, down to a glittering bowl-round knocker.  The door went up; the bells sounded beautifully over all the house:  “Klingling, youngling, in, in, spring, spring, klingling.”  In good heart he mounted the fine broad stair and feasted on the odors of some strange perfumery that was floating through the house.  In doubt, he paused on the lobby; for he knew not at which of these many fine doors he was to knock.  But Archivarius Lindhorst, in a white damask nightgown, stepped forth to him, and said:  “Well, it is a real pleasure to me, Herr Anselmus, that you have kept your word at last.  Come this way, if you please; I must take you straight into the Laboratory;” and with this he stepped rapidly through the lobby, and opened a little side-door which led into a long passage.  Anselmus walked on in high spirits, behind the Archivarius; they passed from this corridor into a hall, or rather into a lordly green-house:  for on both sides, up to the ceiling, stood all manner of rare wondrous flowers, nay, great trees with strangely-formed leaves

Page 262

and blossoms.  A magic dazzling light shone over the whole, though you could not discover whence it came, for no window whatever was to be seen.  As the student Anselmus looked in through the bushes and trees, long avenues appeared to open in remote distance.  In the deep shade of thick cypress groves lay glittering marble fountains, out of which rose wondrous figures, spouting crystal jets that fell with pattering spray into gleaming lily-cups; strange voices cooed and rustled through the wood of curious trees; and sweetest perfumes streamed up and down.

The Archivarius had vanished, and Anselmus saw nothing but a huge bush of glowing fire-lilies before him.  Intoxicated with the sight and the fine odors of this fairy-garden, Anselmus stood fixed to the spot.  Then began on all sides of him a giggling and laughing; and light little voices railed and mocked him:  “Herr Studiosus!  Herr Studiosus!  Where are you coming from?  Why are you dressed so bravely, Herr Anselmus?  Will you chat with us for a minute, how grandmammy sat squatting down upon the egg, and young master got a stain on his Sunday waistcoat?—­Can you play the new tune, now, which you learned from Daddy Cocka-doodle, Herr Anselmus?—­You look very fine in your glass periwig, and post-paper boots.”  So cried and chattered and sniggered the little voices, out of every corner, nay, close by the student himself, who but now observed that all sorts of party-colored birds were fluttering above him and jeering him in hearty laughter.  At that moment the bush of fire-lilies advanced toward him; and he perceived that it was Archivarius Lindhorst, whose flowered nightgown, glittering in red and yellow, had so far deceived his eyes.

“I beg your pardon, worthy Herr Anselmus,” said the Archivarius, “for leaving you alone; I wished, in passing, to take a peep at my fine cactus, which is to blossom tonight.  But how like you my little house-garden?”

“Ah, Heaven!  Immeasurably pretty it is, most valued Herr Archivarius,” replied the student; “but those party-colored birds have been bantering me a little.”

“What wishy-washy is this?” cried the Archivarius angrily into the bushes.  Then a huge gray parrot came fluttering out, and perched itself beside the Archivarius on a myrtle-bough; and looking at him with an uncommon earnestness and gravity through a pair of spectacles that stuck on his hooked bill, it shrilled out:  “Don’t take it amiss, Herr Archivarius; my wild boys have been a little free or so; but the Herr Studiosus has himself to blame in the matter, for——­”

“Hush! hush!” interrupted Archivarius Lindhorst; “I know the varlets; but thou must keep them in better discipline, my friend!—­Now, come along, Herr Anselmus.”

Page 263

And the Archivarius again stepped forth, through many a strangely-decorated chamber; so that the student Anselmus, in following him, could scarcely give a glance at all the glittering wondrous furniture, and other unknown things, with which the whole of them were filled.  At last they entered a large apartment, where the Archivarius, casting his eyes aloft, stood still; and Anselmus got time to feast himself on the glorious sight which the simple decoration of this hall afforded.  Jutting from the azure-colored walls rose gold-bronze trunks of high palm-trees, which wove their colossal leaves, glittering like bright emeralds, into a ceiling far up; in the middle of the chamber, and resting on three Egyptian lions, cast out of dark bronze, lay a porphyry plate; and on this stood a simple Golden Pot, from which, so soon as he beheld it, Anselmus could not turn away an eye.  It was as if, in a thousand gleaming reflections, all sorts of shapes were sporting on the bright polished gold; often he perceived his own form, with arms stretched out in longing—­ah! beneath the elder-bush—­and Serpentina was winding and shooting up and down, and again looking at him with her kind eyes.  Anselmus was beside himself with frantic rapture.

“Serpentina!  Serpentina!” cried he aloud; and Archivarius Lindhorst whirled round abruptly, and said:  “How now, worthy Herr Anselmus?  If I mistake not, you were pleased to call for my daughter; she is way in the other side of the house at present, and indeed just taking her lesson on the harpsichord.  Let us go over.”

Anselmus, scarcely knowing what he did, followed his conductor; he saw or heard nothing more, till Archivarius Lindhorst suddenly grasped his hand, and said:  “Here is the place!” Anselmus awoke as from a dream, and now perceived that he was in a high room, all lined on every side with book-shelves, and nowise differing from a common library and study.  In the middle stood a large writing-table, with a stuffed arm-chair before it.  “This,” said Archivarius Lindhorst, “is your work-room for the present:  whether you may work, some other time, in the blue library, also where you so suddenly called out my daughter’s name, I yet know not.  But now I could wish to convince myself of your ability to execute this task appointed to you, in the way I wish it and need it.”  The student here gathered full courage; and not without internal self-complacence in the certainty of highly gratifying Archivarius Lindhorst through his extraordinary talents, pulled out his drawings and specimens of penmanship from his pocket.  But no sooner had the Archivarius cast his eye on the first leaf, a piece of writing in the finest English style, than he smiled very oddly, and shook his head.  These motions he repeated at every following leaf, so that the student Anselmus felt the blood mounting to his face; and at last, when the smile became quite sarcastic and contemptuous, he broke out in downright vexation:  “The Herr Archivarius does not seem contented with my poor talents.”

Page 264

“Dear Herr Anselmus,” said Archivarius Lindhorst, “you have indeed fine capacities for the art of calligraphy; but, in the meanwhile, it is clear enough, I must reckon more on your diligence and good-will than on your capacity.”

The student Anselmus spoke largely of his often-acknowledged perfection in this art, of his fine Chinese ink, and most select crow-quills.  But Archivarius Lindhorst handed him the English sheet, and said:  “Be judge yourself!” Anselmus felt as if struck by a thunderbolt, to see his handwriting look so:  it was miserable, beyond measure.  There was no rounding in the turns, no hair-stroke where it should be; no proportion between the capital and single letters; nay, villainous school-boy pot-hooks often spoiled the best lines.  “And then,” continued Archivarius Lindhorst, “your ink will not stand.”  He dipped his finger in a glass of water, and as he just skimmed it over the lines they vanished without vestige.  The student Anselmus felt as if some monster were throttling him; he could not utter a word.  There stood he with the unlucky sheet in his hand; but Archivarius Lindhorst laughed aloud, and said:  “Never mind it, dearest Herr Anselmus; what you could not accomplish before, will perhaps do better here.  At any rate, you shall have better materials than you have been accustomed to.  Begin, in Heaven’s name!”

From a locked press Archivarius Lindhorst now brought out a black fluid substance, which diffused a most peculiar odor; also pens, sharply pointed and of strange color, together with a sheet of especial whiteness and smoothness; then at last an Arabic manuscript; and as Anselmus sat down to work, the Archivarius left the room.  The student Anselmus had often before copied Arabic manuscripts; the first problem, therefore, seemed to him not so very difficult to solve.  “How these pot-hooks came into my fine English current-hand, Heaven and Archivarius Lindhorst know best,” said he; “but that they are not from my hand, I will testify to the death!” At every new word that stood fair and perfect on the parchment, his courage increased, and with it his adroitness.  In truth, these pens wrote exquisitely well; and the mysterious ink flowed pliantly and black as jet, on the bright white parchment.  And as he worked along so diligently and with such strained attention, he began to feel more and more at home in the solitary room; and already he had quite fitted himself into his task, which he now hoped to finish well, when at the stroke of three the Archivarius called him into the side-room to a savory dinner.  At table, Archivarius Lindhorst was in special gaiety of heart; he inquired about the student Anselmus’ friends, Conrector Paulmann, and Registrator Heerbrand, and of the latter especially he had a store of merry anecdotes to tell.  The good old Rhenish was particularly grateful to the student Anselmus, and made him more talkative than he was wont to be.  At the stroke of four he rose to resume his labor; and this punctuality appeared to please the Archivarius.

Page 265

If the copying of these Arabic manuscripts had prospered in his hands before dinner, the task now went forward much better; nay, he could not himself comprehend the rapidity and ease with which he succeeded in transcribing the twisted strokes of this foreign character.  But it was as if, in his inmost soul, a voice were whispering in audible words:  “Ah! couldst thou accomplish it wert thou not thinking of her, didst thou not believe in her and in her love?” Then there floated whispers, as in low, low, waving crystal tones, through the room:  “I am near, near, near!  I help thee; be bold, be steadfast, dear Anselmus!  I toil with thee, that thou mayest be mine!” And as, in the fulness of secret rapture, he caught these sounds, the unknown characters grew clearer and clearer to him; he scarcely required to look on the original at all; nay, it was as if the letters were already standing in pale ink on the parchment, and he had nothing more to do than mark them black.  So did he labor on, encompassed with dear, consoling tones as with soft, sweet breath, till the clock struck six, and Archivarius Lindhorst entered the room.  He came forward to the table, with a singular smile; Anselmus rose in silence; the Archivarius still looked at him, with that mocking smile; but no sooner had he glanced over the copy than the smile passed into deep, solemn earnestness, which every feature of his face adapted itself to express.  He seemed no longer the same.  His eyes, which usually gleamed with sparkling fire, now looked with unutterable mildness at Anselmus; a soft red tinted the pale cheeks; and instead of the irony which at other times compressed the mouth, the softly-curved, graceful lips now seemed to be opening for wise and soul-persuading speech.  The whole form was higher, statelier; the wide nightgown spread itself like a royal mantle in broad folds over his breast and shoulders; and through the white locks, which lay on his high open brow, there was wound a thin band of gold.

“Young man,” began the Archivarius in solemn tone, “before thou thoughtest of it, I knew thee, and all the secret relations which bind thee to the dearest and holiest I have on earth!  Serpentina loves thee; a singular destiny, whose fateful threads were spun by hostile powers, is fulfilled should she be thine and thou obtain, as an essential dowry, the Golden Pot, which of right belongs to her.  But only from effort and contest can thy happiness in the higher life arise; hostile Principles assail thee; and only the interior force with which thou shalt withstand these assaults can save thee from disgrace and ruin.  Whilst laboring here thou art passing your apprenticeship; belief and full knowledge will lead thee to the near goal, if thou but hold fast what thou hast well begun.  Bear her always and truly in thy thoughts, her who loves thee; then shalt thou see the marvels of the Golden Pot, and be happy forevermore.  Fare thee well!  Archivarius Lindhorst expects thee tomorrow at noon in thy cabinet.  Fare thee well!” With these words Archivarius Lindhorst softly pushed the student Anselmus out of the door, which he then locked; and Anselmus found himself in the chamber where he had dined, the single door of which led out to the lobby.

Page 266

Altogether stupified with these strange phenomena, the student Anselmus stood lingering at the street-door; he heard a window open above him, and looked up:  it was Archivarius Lindhorst, quite the old man again, in his light-gray gown, as he usually appeared.  The Archivarius called to him:  “Hey, worthy Herr Anselmus, what are you studying over there?  Tush, the Arabic is still in your head.  My compliments to Herr Conrector Paulmann, if you see him; and come tomorrow precisely at noon.  The fee for this day is lying in your right waistcoat-pocket.”  The student Anselmus actually found the clear speziesthaler in the pocket indicated; but he took no joy in it.  “What is to come of all this,” said he to himself, “I know not; but if it be some mad delusion and conjuring work that has laid hold of me, the dear Serpentina still lives and moves in my inward heart, and rather than leave her I will perish altogether; for I know that the thought in me is eternal, and no hostile Principle can take it from me; and what else is this thought but Serpentina’s love?”

EIGHTH VIGIL

    The Library of the Palm-trees.  Fortunes of an unhappy Salamander. 
    How the Black Quill caressed a Parsnip, and Registrator Heerbrand
    was much overcome with Liqueur.

The student Anselmus had now worked several days with Archivarius Lindhorst; these working hours were for him the happiest of his life; ever encircled with the lovely tone of Serpentina’s encouraging words, he was filled and overflowed with a pure delight, which often rose to highest rapture.  Every strait, every little care of his needy existence, had vanished from his thoughts; and in the new life which had risen on him as in serene sunny splendor, he comprehended all the wonders of a higher world, which before had filled him with astonishment, nay, with dread.  His copying proceeded rapidly and lightly, for he felt more and more as if he were writing characters long known to him; and he scarcely needed to cast his eye upon the manuscript, while copying it all with the greatest exactness.

Except at the hour of dinner, Archivarius Lindhorst seldom made his appearance, and this always precisely at the moment when Anselmus had finished the last letter of some manuscript; then the Archivarius would hand him another, and, directly after, leave him without uttering a word, having first stirred the ink with a little black rod and changed the old pens with new sharp-pointed ones.  One day, when Anselmus, at the stroke of twelve, had as usual mounted the stairs, he found the door through which he commonly entered, standing locked; and Archivarius Lindhorst came forward from the other side, dressed in his strange flower-figured nightgown.  He called aloud:  “Today come this way, dear Anselmus; for we must to the chamber where Bhogovotgita’s masters are waiting for us.”

Page 267

He stepped along the corridor, and led Anselmus through the same chambers and halls as at the first visit.  The student Anselmus again felt astonished at the marvelous beauty of the garden; but he now perceived that many of the strange flowers, hanging on the dark bushes, were in truth insects gleaming with lordly colors, hovering up and down with their little wings as they danced and whirled in clusters, caressing one another with their antennae.  On the other hand again, the rose and azure-colored birds were odoriferous flowers; and the perfume which they scattered mounted from their cups in low, lovely tones, which, with the gurgling of distant fountains, and the sighing of the high shrubs and trees, melted into mysterious harmonies of a deep unutterable longing.  The mocking-birds, which had so jeered and flouted him before, were again fluttering to and fro over his head and crying incessantly with their sharp, small voices:  “Herr Studiosus, Herr Studiosus, don’t be in such a hurry!  Don’t peep into the clouds so!  You may fall on your nose—­He, he!  Herr Studiosus, put your powder-mantle on; cousin Screech-Owl will frizzle your toupee.”  And so it went along, in all manner of stupid chatter, till Anselmus left the garden.

Archivarius Lindhorst at last stepped into the azure chamber; the porphyry, with the Golden Pot, was gone; instead of it, in the middle of the room, stood a table overhung with violet-colored satin, upon which lay the writing-materials already known to Anselmus; and a stuffed arm-chair, covered with the same sort of cloth, was placed before it.

“Dear Herr Anselmus,” said Archivarius Lindhorst, “you have now copied me a number of manuscripts, rapidly and correctly, to my no small contentment:  you have gained my confidence; but the hardest is yet to come; and that is the transcribing or rather painting of certain works after the original, composed of peculiar signs; I keep them in this room, and they can be copied only on the spot.  You will, therefore, in future, work here; but I must recommend to you the greatest foresight and attention; a false stroke, or, which may Heaven forefend, a blot let fall on the original, will plunge you into misfortune.”

Anselmus observed that from the golden trunks of the palm-trees, little emerald leaves projected:  one of these leaves the Archivarius took hold of; and Anselmus could not but perceive that the leaf was in truth a roll of parchment, which the Archivarius unfolded and spread out before the student on the table.  Anselmus wondered not a little at these strangely intertwisted characters; and as he looked over the many points, strokes, dashes, and twirls in the manuscript, which seemed to represent either plants or mosses or animal figures, he almost lost hope of ever copying it.  He fell into deep thought on the subject.

“Be of courage, young man!” cried the Archivarius; “if thou hast sterling faith and true love, Serpentina will help thee.”

Page 268

His voice sounded like ringing metal; and as Anselmus looked up in utter terror, Archivarius Lindhorst was standing before him in the kingly form, which, during the first visit, he had assumed in the library.  Anselmus felt as if in his deep reverence he could not but sink on his knee; but the Archivarius stepped up the trunk of a palm-tree, and vanished aloft among the emerald leaves.  The student Anselmus understood that the Prince of the Spirits had been speaking with him, and was now gone up to his study; perhaps intending to advise with the beams which some of the planets had dispatched to him as envoys, on what was to become of Anselmus and Serpentina.

“It may be too,” thought he further, “that he is expecting news from the Springs of the Nile; or that some magician from Lapland is paying him a visit; me it behooves to set diligently about my task.”  And with this, he began studying the foreign characters in the roll of parchment.

The strange music of the garden sounded over to him and encircled him with sweet lovely odors; the mocking-birds too he still heard chirping and twittering, but could not distinguish their words—­a thing which greatly pleased him.  At times also it was as if the emerald leaves of the palm-trees were rustling, and as if the clear crystal tones, which Anselmus on that fateful Ascension-day had heard under the elder-bush, were beaming and flitting through the room.  Wonderfully strengthened by this shining and tinkling, the student Anselmus directed his eyes and thoughts more and more intensely on the superscription of the parchment roll; and ere long he felt, as it were from his inmost soul, that the characters could denote nothing else than these words:  Of the marriage of the Salamander with the green Snake.  Then resounded a louder triphony of clear crystal bells; “Anselmus! dear Anselmus!” floated to him from the leaves; and, O wonder! on the trunk of the palm-tree the green Snake came winding down.

“Serpentina!  Serpentina!” cried Anselmus, in the madness of highest rapture; for as he gazed more earnestly, it was in truth a lovely, glorious maiden that, looking at him with those dark-blue eyes, full of inexpressible longing, as they lived in his heart, was hovering down to meet him.  The leaves seemed to jut out and expand; on every hand were prickles sprouting from the trunks; but Serpentina twisted and wound herself deftly through them; and so drew her fluttering robe, framing her as if in changeful colors, along with her, that, playing round the dainty form, it nowhere caught on the projecting points and prickles of the palm-trees.  She sat down by Anselmus on the same chair, clasping him with her arm, and pressing him toward her, so that he felt the breath which came from her lips, and the electric warmth of her frame.

“Dear Anselmus!” began Serpentina, “thou shalt now soon be wholly mine; by thy faith, by thy Love thou shalt obtain me, and I will bring thee the Golden Pot, which shall make us both happy forevermore.”

Page 269

“O thou kind, lovely Serpentina!” said Anselmus.  “If I have but thee, what care I for all else!  If thou art but mine, I will joyfully give in to all the wondrous mysteries that have beset me ever since the moment when I first saw thee.”

“I know,” continued Serpentina, “that the strange and mysterious things with which my father, often merely in the sport of his humor, has surrounded thee, have raised horror and dread in thy mind; but now, I hope, it shall be so no more; for I came now only to tell thee, dear Anselmus, from the bottom of my heart and soul, all and sundry to a tittle that thou needest to know for understanding my father, and so learn the real condition of both of us.”

Anselmus felt as if he were so wholly clasped and encircled by the gentle, lovely form, that only with her could he move and stir, and as if it were but the beating of her pulse that throbbed through his nerves and fibres; he listened to each one of her words which penetrated his inmost heart, and, like a burning ray, kindled in him the rapture of Heaven.  He had put his arm round that daintier than dainty waist; but the changeful glistering cloth of her robe was so smooth and slippery that it seemed to him as if she could at any moment wind herself from his arms, and glide away.  He trembled at the thought.

“Ah, do not leave me, sweet Serpentina!” cried he involuntarily; “thou alone art my life.”

“Not now,” said Serpentina, “till I have told thee all that in thy love of me thou canst comprehend.”

“Know then, dearest, that my father is sprung from the wondrous race of the Salamanders; and that I owe my existence to his love for the green Snake.  In primeval times, in the Fairyland Atlantis, the potent Spirit-prince Phosphorus bore rule; and to him the Salamanders, and other Spirits of the Elements, were plighted.  Once on a time, the Salamander, whom he loved before all others (it was my father), chanced to be walking in the stately garden, which Phosphorus’ mother had decked in the lordliest fashion with her best gifts; and the Salamander heard a tall Lily singing in low tones:  `Press down thy little eyelids, till my Lover, the Morning-wind, awake thee.’  He stepped toward it:  touched by his glowing breath, the Lily opened her leaves; and he saw the Lily’s daughter, the green Snake, lying asleep in the hollow of the flower.  Then was the Salamander inflamed with warm love for the fair Snake; and he carried her away from the Lily, whose perfumes in nameless lamentation vainly called for her beloved daughter throughout all the garden.  For the Salamander had borne her into the palace of Phosphorus, and was there beseeching him:  ’Wed me with my beloved, for she shall be mine forevermore.’  ’Madman, what askest thou!’ said the Prince of the Spirits; ’know that once the Lily was my mistress, and bore rule with me; but the Spark, which I cast into her, threatened to annihilate the fair Lily; and only my victory over the black Dragon, whom now the Spirits of the Earth hold in fetters, maintains her, that her leaves continue strong enough to inclose this Spark and preserve it within them.  But when thou claspest the green Snake, thy fire will consume her frame; and a new Being, rapidly arising from her dust, will soar away and leave thee.’

Page 270

“The Salamander heeded not the warning of the Spirit-prince:  full of longing ardor he folded the green Snake in his arms; she crumbled into ashes; a winged Being, born from her dust, soared away through the sky.  Then the madness of desperation caught the Salamander, and he ran through the garden, throwing forth fire and flames, and wasted it in his wild fury, till its fairest flowers and blossoms hung down, blackened and scathed, and their lamentation filled the air.  The indignant Prince of the Spirits, in his wrath, laid hold of the Salamander, and said:  ’Thy fire has burnt out, thy flames are extinguished, thy rays darkened; sink down to the Spirits of the Earth; let these mock and jeer thee, and keep thee captive, till the Fire-element shall again kindle and beam up with thee as with a new being from the Earth.’  The poor Salamander sank down extinguished; but now the testy old Earth-spirit, who was Phosphorus’ gardener, came forth and said:  ’Master! who has greater cause to complain of the Salamander than I?  Had not all the fair flowers, which he has burnt, been decorated with my gayest metals; had I not stoutly nursed and tended their seeds, and spent many a fair hue on their leaves?  And yet I must pity the poor Salamander; for it was but love, in which thou, O Master, hast full often been entangled, that drove him to despair and made him desolate the garden.  Remit him the too harsh punishment!’—­’His fire is for the present extinguished,’ said the Prince of the Spirits; ’but in the hapless time, when the Speech of Nature shall no longer be intelligible to degenerate man; when the Spirits of the Elements, banished into their own regions, shall speak to him only from afar, in faint, spent echoes; when, displaced from the harmonious circle, an infinite longing alone shall give him tidings of the Land of Marvels, which he once might inhabit while Faith and Love still dwelt in his soul—­in this hapless time the fire of the Salamander shall again kindle; but only to manhood shall he be permitted to rise, and, entering wholly into man’s necessitous existence, he shall learn to endure its wants and oppressions.  Yet not only shall the remembrance of his first state continue with him, but he shall again rise into the sacred harmony of all Nature; he shall understand its wonders, and the power of his fellow-spirits shall stand at his behest.  Then, too, in a Lily-bush, shall he find the green Snake again, and the fruit of his marriage with her shall be three daughters, which, to men, shall appear in the form of their mother.  In the spring season these shall disport them in the dark Elder-bush, and sound with their lovely crystal voices.  And then if, in that needy and mean age of inward obduracy, there shall be found a youth who understands their song; nay, if one of the little Snakes look at him with her kind eyes; if the look awaken in him forecastings of the distant, wondrous Land, to which, having cast away the burden of the Common, he can

Page 271

courageously soar; if, with love to the Snake, there rise in him belief in the Wonders of Nature, nay, in his own existence amid these Wonders—­then the Snake shall be his.  But not till three youths of this sort have been found and wedded to the three daughters, may the Salamander cast away his heavy burden, and return to his brothers.’—­’Permit me, Master,’ said the Earth-spirit, ’to make these three daughters a present, which may glorify their life with the husbands they shall find.  Let each of them receive from me a Pot, of the fairest metal which I have; I will polish it with beams borrowed from the diamond; in its glitter shall our Kingdom of Wonders, as it now exists in the Harmony of universal Nature, be mirrored in glorious dazzling reflection; and from its interior, on the day of marriage, shall spring forth a Fire-lily, whose eternal blossom shall encircle the youth that is found worthy, with sweet wafting odors.  Soon too shall he learn its speech, and understand the wonders of our kingdom, and dwell with his beloved in Atlantis itself.’

“Thou perceivest well, dear Anselmus, that the Salamander of whom I speak is no other than my father.  Spite of his higher nature, he was forced to subject himself to the paltriest afflictions of common life; and hence, indeed, often comes the mischievous humor with which he vexes many.  He has told me now and then, that, for the inward make of mind, which the Spirit-prince Phosphorus required as a condition of marriage with me and my sisters, men have a name at present, which, in truth, they frequently enough misapply:  they call it a childlike poetic mind.  This mind, he says, is often found in youths, who, by reason of their high simplicity of manners and their total want of what is called knowledge of the world, are mocked by the populace.  Ah, dear Anselmus, beneath the Elder-bush thou understoodest my song, my look; thou lovest the green Snake, thou believest in me, and wilt be mine forevermore!  The fair Lily will bloom forth from the Golden Pot; and we shall dwell, happy, and united, and blessed, in Atlantis together!

“Yet I must not hide from thee that in its deadly battle with the Salamanders and Spirits of the Earth, the black Dragon burst from their grasp and hurried off through the air.  Phosphorus, indeed, again holds him in fetters; but from the black Quills, which, in the struggle, rained down on the ground, there sprung up hostile Spirits, which on all hands set themselves against the Salamanders and Spirits of the Earth.  That woman who so hates thee, dear Anselmus, and who, as my father knows full well, is striving for possession of the Golden Pot; that woman owes her existence to the love of such a Quill (plucked in battle from the Dragon’s wing) for a certain Parsnip beside which it dropped.  She knows her origin and her power; for, in the moans and convulsions of the captive Dragon, the secrets of many a mysterious constellation are revealed to her; and she uses every

Page 272

means and effort to work from the Outward into the Inward and unseen; while my father, with the beams which shoot forth from the spirit of the Salamander, withstands and subdues her.  All the baneful principles which lurk in deadly herbs and poisonous beasts, she collects; and, mixing them under favorable constellations, raises therewith many a wicked spell, which overwhelms the soul of man with fear and trembling, and subjects him to the power of those Demons, produced from the Dragon when it yielded in battle.  Beware of that old woman, dear Anselmus!  She hates thee because thy childlike, pious character has annihilated many of her wicked charms.  Keep true, true to me; soon art thou at the goal!”

“O my Serpentina! my own Serpentina!” cried the student Anselmus, “how could I leave thee, how should I not love thee forever!” A kiss was burning on his lips; he awoke as from a deep dream; Serpentina had vanished; six o’clock was striking, and it fell heavy on his heart that today he had not copied a single stroke.  Full of anxiety, and dreading reproaches from the Archivarius, he looked into the sheet; and, O wonder! the copy of the mysterious manuscript was fairly concluded; and he thought, on viewing the characters more narrowly, that the writing was nothing else but Serpentina’s story of her father, the favorite of the Spirit-prince Phosphorus, in Atlantis, the Land of Marvels.  And now entered Archivarius Lindhorst, in his light-gray surtout, with hat and staff; he looked into the parchment on which Anselmus had been writing, took a large pinch of snuff, and said with a smile “Just as I thought!—­Well, Herr Anselmus, here is your speziesthaler; we will now to the Linke Bath; do but follow me!” The Archivarius stepped rapidly through the garden, in which there was such a din of singing, whistling, talking, that the student Anselmus was quite deafened with it and thanked Heaven when he found himself on the street.

Scarcely had they walked a few paces when they met Registrator Heerbrand, who companionably joined them.  At the Gate, they filled their pipes, which they had about them; Registrator Heerbrand complained that he had left his tinder-box behind, and could not strike fire.  “Fire!” cried Archivarius Lindhorst, scornfully; “here is fire enough, and to spare!” And with this he snapped his fingers, out of which came streams of sparks and directly kindled the pipes.—­“Do but observe the chemical knack of some men!” said Registrator Heerbrand; but the student Anselmus thought, not without internal awe, of the Salamander and his history.

In the Linke Bath, Registrator Heerbrand drank so much strong double beer that at last, though usually a good-natured, quiet man, he began singing student songs in squeaking tenor; he asked every one sharply whether he was his friend or not; and at last had to be taken home by the student Anselmus, long after Archivarius had gone his way.

NINTH VIGIL

Page 273

How the student Anselmus attained to some Sense.  The Punch Parts.  How the student Anselmus took Conrector Paulmann for a Screech-Owl, and the latter felt much hurt at it.  The Ink-blot, and its Consequences.

The strange and mysterious things which day by day befell the student Anselmus had entirely withdrawn him from every-day life.  He no longer visited any of his friends, and waited every morning with impatience for the hour of noon, which was to unlock his paradise.  And yet while his whole soul was turned to the sweet Serpentina and the wonders of Archivarius Lindhorst’s fairy kingdom, he could not help now and then thinking of Veronica; nay, often it seemed as if she came before him and confessed with blushes how heartily she loved him, how much she longed to rescue him from the phantoms which were mocking and befooling him.  At times he felt as if a foreign power, suddenly breaking in on his mind, were drawing him with resistless force to the forgotten Veronica; as if he must needs follow her whither she pleased to lead him, nay, as if he were bound to her by ties that would not break.  That very night after Serpentina had first appeared to him in the form of a lovely maiden, after the wondrous secret of the Salamander’s nuptials with the green Snake had been disclosed, Veronica, came before him more vividly than ever.  Nay, not till he awoke was he clearly aware that he had been but dreaming; for he had felt persuaded that Veronica was actually beside him, complaining with an expression of keen sorrow, which pierced through his inmost soul, that he should sacrifice her deep, true love to fantastic visions, which only the distemper of his mind called into being, and which, moreover, would at last prove his ruin.  Veronica was lovelier than he had ever seen her; he could not drive her from his thoughts:  and in this perplexed and contradictory mood he hastened out, hoping to get rid of it by a morning walk.

A secret magic influence led him on to the Pirna gate; he was just turning into a cross street, when Conrector Paulmann, coming after him, cried out:  “Ey!  Ey!—­Dear Herr Anselmus!—­Amice!  Amice!  Where, in Heaven’s name, have you been buried so long?  We never see you at all.  Do you know, Veronica is longing very much to have another song with you!  So come along; you were just on the road to me, at any rate.”

The student Anselmus, constrained by this friendly violence, went along with the Conrector.  On entering the house they were met by Veronica, attired with such neatness and attention that Conrector Paulmann, full of amazement, asked her:  “Why so decked, Mam’sell?  Were you expecting visitors?  Well, here I bring you Herr Anselmus.”  The student Anselmus, in daintily and elegantly kissing Veronica’s hand felt a small soft pressure from it, which shot like a stream of fire over all his frame.  Veronica was cheerfulness, was grace itself; and when Paulmann left them for his study, she contrived,

Page 274

by all manner of rogueries and waggeries, so to uplift the student Anselmus that he at last quite forgot his bashfulness, and jigged round the room with the light-headed maiden.  But here again the Demon of Awkwardness got hold of him; he jolted a table, and Veronica’s pretty little work-box fell to the floor.  Anselmus picked it up; the lid had sprung, and a little round metallic mirror was glittering on him, into which he looked with peculiar delight.  Veronica glided softly up to him, laid her hand on his arm, and, pressing close to him, looked over his shoulder into the mirror also.  And now Anselmus felt as if a battle were beginning in his soul; thoughts, images flashed out—­Archivarius Lindhorst—­Serpentina—­the green Snake—­at last the tumult abated, and all this chaos arranged and shaped itself into distinct consciousness.  It was now clear to him that he had always thought of Veronica alone; nay, that the form which had yesterday appeared to him in the blue chamber had been no other than Veronica; and that the wild legend of the Salamander’s marriage with the green Snake had merely been written down by him from the manuscript, but nowise related in his hearing.  He wondered not a little at all these dreams and ascribed them solely to the heated state of mind into which Veronica’s love had brought him, as well as to his working with Archivarius Lindhorst, in whose rooms there were, besides, so many strangely intoxicating odors.  He could not but laugh heartily at the mad whim of falling in love with a little green Snake and taking a well-fed Privy Archivarius for a Salamander:  “Yes, Yes!  It is Veronica!” cried he aloud; but on turning his head around he looked right into Veronica’s blue eyes, from which warmest love was beaming.  A faint soft Ah! escaped her lips, which at that moment were burning on his.

“O happy I!” sighed the enraptured student:  “What I yesternight but dreamed, is in very deed mine today.”

“But wilt thou really wed me, then, when thou art Hofrat?” said Veronica.

“That I will,” replied the student Anselmus; and just then the door creaked, and Conrector Paulmann entered with the words: 

“Now, dear Herr Anselmus, I will not let you go today.  You will put up with a bad dinner; then Veronica will make us delightful coffee, which we shall drink with Registrator Heerbrand, for he promised to come hither.”

“All, best Herr Conrector!” answered the student Anselmus, “are you not aware that I must go to Archivarius Lindhorst’s and copy?”

“Look you, Amice!” said Conrector Paulmann, holding up his watch, which pointed to half-past twelve.

The student Anselmus saw clearly that he was much too late for Archivarius Lindhorst; and he complied with the Corrector’s wishes the more readily as he might now hope to look at Veronica the whole day long, to obtain many a stolen glance and little squeeze of the hand, nay, even to succeed in conquering a kiss—­so high had the student Anselmus’ desires now mounted; he felt more and more contented in soul, the more fully he convinced himself that he should soon be delivered from all the fantastic imaginations, which really might have made a sheer idiot of him.

Page 275

Registrator Heerbrand came, as he had promised, after dinner; and coffee being over, and the dusk come on, the Registrator, his face puckering up to a smile and gaily rubbing his hands, signified that he had something about him which, if mingled and reduced to form, as it were paged and titled, by Veronica’s fair hands, might be pleasant to them all, on this October evening.

“Come out, then, with this mysterious substance which you carry with, you, most valued Registrator,” cried Conrector Paulmann.  Then Registrator Heerbrand shoved his hand into his deep pocket, and at three journeys brought out a bottle of arrack, some citrons, and a quantity of sugar.  Before half an hour had passed, a savory bowl of punch was smoking on Paulmann’s table.  Veronica served the beverage; and ere long there was plenty of gay, good-natured chat among the friends.  But the student Anselmus, as the spirit of the punch mounted into his head, felt all the images of those wondrous things, which for some time he had experienced, again coming through his mind.  He saw the Archivarius in his damask nightgown, which glittered like phosphorus; he saw the azure room, the golden palm-trees; nay, it now seemed to him as if he must still believe in Serpentina; there was a fermentation, a conflicting tumult in his soul.  Veronica handed him a glass of punch; and in taking it, he gently touched her hand.  “Serpentina!  Veronica!” sighed he to himself.  He sank into deep dreams; but Registrator Heerbrand cried quite aloud:  “A strange old gentleman, whom nobody can fathom, he is and will be, this Archivarius Lindhorst.  Well, long life to him!  Your glass, Herr Anselmus!”

Then the student Anselmus awoke from his dreams, and said, as he touched glasses with Registrator Heerbrand “That proceeds, respected Herr Registrator, from the circumstance that Archivarius Lindhorst is in reality a Salamander, who wasted in his fury the Spirit-prince Phosphorus’ garden, because the green Snake had flown away from him.”

“How?  What?” inquired Conrector Paulmann.

“Yes,” continued the student Anselmus; “and for this reason he is now forced to be a Royal Archivarius, and to keep house here in Dresden with his three daughters, who, after all, are nothing more than little gold-green Snakes, that bask in elder-bushes, and traitorously sing, and seduce away young people, like so many sirens.”

“Herr Anselmus!  Herr Anselmus!” cried Conrector Paulmann, “is there a crack in your brain?  In Heaven’s name, what monstrous stuff is this you are babbling?”

“He is right,” interrupted Registrator Heerbrand; “that fellow, that Archivarius, is a cursed Salamander, and strikes you fiery snips from his fingers, which burn holes in your surtout like red-hot tinder.  Ay, ay, thou art in the right, brotherkin Anselmus; and whoever says No, is saying No to me!” And at these words Registrator Heerbrand struck the table with his fist, till the glasses rattled.

Page 276

“Registrator!  Are you crazy?” cried the angry Conrector.  “Herr Studiosus, Herr Studiosus!  What is this you are about again?”

“Ah!” said the student, “you too are nothing but a bird, a screech-owl, that frizzles toupees, Herr Conrector!” “What!—­I a bird?—­screech-owl, a frizzler?” cried the Conrector, full of indignation; “Sir, you are mad, born mad!”

“But the crone will get a clutch of him,” cried Registrator Heerbrand.

“Yes, the crone is potent,” interrupted the student Anselmus, “though she is but of mean descent; for her father was nothing but a ragged wing-feather, and her mother a dirty parsnip; but the most of her power she owes to all sorts of baneful creatures, poisonous vermin which she keeps about her.”

“That is a horrid calumny,” cried Veronica, with eyes all glowing in anger; “old Liese is a wise woman; and the black Cat is no baneful creature, but a polished young gentleman of elegant manners, and her cousin german.”

“Can he eat Salamanders without singeing his whiskers, and dying like a candle-snuff?” cried Registrator Heerbrand.

“No! no!” shouted the student Anselmus, “that he never can in this world; and the green Snake loves me, for I have a childlike mien, and I have looked into Serpentina’s eyes.”

“The Cat will scratch them out,” cried Veronica.

“Salamander, Salamander masters them all, all!” hallooed Conrector Paulmann, in the highest fury.  “But am I in a madhouse?  Am I mad myself?  What crazy stuff am I chattering?  Yes, I am mad too! mad too!” And with this, Conrector Paulmann started up, tore the peruke from his head and dashed it against the ceiling of the room, till the battered locks whizzed, and, tangled into utter disorder, rained down the powder far and wide.  Then the student Anselmus and Registrator Heerbrand seized the punch-bowl and the glasses, and, hallooing and huzzaing, pitched them against the ceiling also, and the sherds fell jingling and tingling about their ears.

Vivat the Salamander!—­Pereat, pereat the crone!—­Break the metal mirror!—­Dig the cat’s eyes out!—­Bird, little Bird, from the air—­Eheu—­Eheu—­Evoe—­Evoe, Salamander!” So shrieked and shouted and bellowed the three, like utter maniacs.  With loud weeping, Fraenzchen ran out; but Veronica lay whimpering for pain and sorrow on the sofa.

At this moment the door opened; all was instantly still; and a little man, in a small gray cloak, came stepping in.  His countenance had a singular air of gravity; and especially the round hooked nose, on which was a huge pair of spectacles, distinguished itself from all the noses ever seen.  He wore a strange peruke too—­more like a feather-cap than a wig.

“Ey, many good evenings!” grated and cackled the little comical mannikin.  “Is the student Herr Anselmus among you, gentlemen?—­Best compliments from Archivarius Lindhorst; he has waited today in vain for Herr Anselmus; but tomorrow he begs most respectfully to request that Herr Anselmus would not forget the hour.”

Page 277

And with this he went out again; and all of them now saw clearly that the grave little mannikin was in fact a gray Parrot.  Conrector Paulmann and Registrator Heerbrand raised a horse-laugh, which reverberated through the room, and, in the intervals, Veronica was moaning and whimpering, as if torn by nameless sorrow; but as to the student Anselmus, the madness of inward horror was darting through him, and unconsciously he ran out of the door, into the street.  Instinctively he reached his house, his garret.  Ere long Veronica came in to him, with a peaceful and friendly look, and asked him why, in his intoxication, he had so alarmed her; and desired him to be on his guard against new imaginations, while working at Archivarius Lindhorst’s.  “Good night, good night, my beloved friend!” whispered Veronica, scarce audibly, and breathed a kiss on his lips.  He stretched out his arms to clasp her, but the dreamy shape had vanished, and he awoke cheerful and refreshed.  He could not but laugh heartily at the effects of the punch; but in thinking of Veronica, he felt pervaded by a most delightful feeling.  “To her alone,” said he within himself, “do I owe this return from my insane whims.  In good sooth, I was little better than the man who believed himself to be of glass; or he who durst not leave his room for fear the hens should eat him, as he imagined himself to be a barleycorn.  But as soon as I am Hofrat I will marry Mademoiselle Paulmann and be happy, and there’s an end of it.”

At noon, as he walked through Archivarius Lindhorst’s garden, he could not help wondering how all this had once appeared so strange and marvelous to him.  He now saw nothing but common, earthen flowerpots, quantities of geraniums, myrtles, and the like.  Instead of the glittering party-colored birds which used to flout him, there were only a few sparrows fluttering hither and thither, which raised an unpleasant, unintelligible cry at sight of Anselmus.  The azure room also had quite a different look; and he could not understand how that glaring blue, and those unnatural golden trunks of palm-trees, with their shapeless glistening leaves, should ever have pleased him for a moment.  The Archivarius looked at him with a most peculiar, ironical smile, and asked:  “Well, how did you like the punch last night, good Anselmus?”

“Ah, doubtless you have heard from the gray Parrot how—­” answered the student Anselmus, quite ashamed; but he stopped short, bethinking him that this appearance of the Parrot was all a piece of jugglery of the confused senses.

“I was there myself,” said Archivarius Lindhorst; “did you not see me?  But, among the mad pranks you were playing, I had nigh got lamed; for I was sitting in the punch-bowl, at the very moment when Registrator Heerbrand laid hands on it, to dash it against the ceiling; and I had to make a quick retreat into the Conrector’s pipehead.  Now, adieu, Herr Anselmus!  Be diligent at your task; for the lost day also you shall have a speziesthaler, because you worked so well before.”

Page 278

“How can the Archivarius babble such mad stuff?” thought the student Anselmus, sitting down at the table to begin the copying of the manuscript, which Archivarius Lindhorst had as usual spread out before him.  But on the parchment roll he perceived so many strange crabbed strokes and twirls all twisted together in inexplicable confusion, offering no resting-point for the eye, that it seemed to him well-nigh impossible to copy all this exactly.  Nay, in glancing over the whole, you might have thought the parchment was nothing but a piece of thickly veined marble, or a stone sprinkled over with lichens.  Nevertheless he determined to do his utmost, and boldly dipped in his pen; but the ink would not run, do what he would; impatiently he spirted the point of his pen against his nail, and—­Heaven and Earth!—­a huge blot fell on the out-spread original!  Hissing and foaming, a blue flash rose from the blot, and, crackling and wavering, shot through the room to the ceiling.  Then a thick vapor rolled from the walls; the leaves began to rustle, as if shaken by a tempest; and down out of them darted glaring basilisks in sparkling fire; these kindled the vapor, and the bickering masses of flame rolled round Anselmus.  The golden trunks of the palm-trees became gigantic snakes, which knocked their frightful heads together with piercing metallic clang and wound their scaly bodies round Anselmus.

“Madman I suffer now the punishment of what, in insolent sacrilege, thou hast done!” So cried the frightful voice of the crowned Salamander, who appeared above the snakes like a glittering beam in the midst of the flame; and now the yawning jaws of the snakes poured forth cataracts of fire on Anselmus; and it was as if the fire-streams were congealing about his body and changing into a firm ice-cold mass.  But while Anselmus’ limbs, more and more pressed together and contracted, stiffened into powerlessness, his senses passed away.  On returning to himself, he could not stir a joint; he was as if surrounded with a glistening brightness, on which he struck if he but tried to lift his hand or move otherwise.—­Alas!  He was sitting in a well-corked crystal bottle, on a shelf, in the library of Archivarius Lindhorst.

TENTH VIGIL

Sorrows of the student Anselmus in the Glass Bottle.  Happy Life of the Cross Church Scholars and Law Clerks.  The Battle in the Library of Archivarius Lindhorst.  Victory of the Salamander, and Deliverance of the student Anselmus.

Justly may I doubt whether thou, kind reader, wert ever sealed up in a glass bottle; or even that any vivid tormenting dream ever oppressed thee with such a demon from fairyland.  If such were the case, thou wouldst keenly enough figure out the poor student Anselmus’ woe; but shouldst thou never have even dreamed such things, then will thy quick fancy, for Anselmus’ sake and mine, be obliging enough to inclose itself for a few moments in the crystal. 

Page 279

Thou art drowned in dazzling splendor; all objects about thee appear illuminated and begirt with beaming rainbow hues; all quivers and wavers, and clangs and drones, in the sheen; thou art floating motionless as in a firmly congealed ether, which so presses thee together that the spirit in vain gives orders to the dead and stiffened body.  Weightier and weightier the mountain burden lies on thee; more and more does every breath exhaust the little handful of air, that still plays up and down in the narrow space; thy pulse throbs madly; and, cut through with horrid anguish, every nerve is quivering and bleeding in this deadly agony.  Have pity, kind reader, on the student Anselmus of whom this inexpressible torture laid hold in his glass prison; but he felt too well that death could not relieve him; for did he not awake from the deep swoon into which the excess of pain had cast him, and open his eyes to new wretchedness, when the morning sun shone clear into the room?  He could move no limb; but his thoughts struck against the glass, stupefying him with discordant clang; and instead of the words, which the spirit used to speak from within him, he now heard only the stifled din of madness.  Then he exclaimed in his despair “O Serpentina!  Serpentina! save me from this agony of Hell!” And it was as if faint sighs breathed around him, which spread like green transparent elder-leaves over the glass; the clanging ceased; the dazzling, perplexing glitter was gone, and he breathed more freely.

“Have not I myself solely to blame for my misery?  Ah!  Have not I sinned against thee, thou kind, beloved Serpentina?  Have not I raised vile doubts of thee?  Have not I lost my faith, and, with it, all, all that was to make me so blessed?  Ah!  Thou wilt now never, never be mine; for me the Golden Pot is lost, and I shall not behold its wonders any more.  Ah, but once could I see thee, but once hear thy gentle sweet voice, thou lovely Serpentina!”

So wailed the student Anselmus, caught with deep piercing sorrow; then spoke a voice close by him:  “What the devil ails you Herr Studiosus?  What makes you lament so, out of all compass and measure?”

The student Anselmus now noticed that on the same shelf with him were five other bottles, in which he perceived three Cross Church Scholars, and two Law Clerks.

“Ah, gentlemen, my fellows in misery,” cried he, “how is it possible for you to be so calm, nay so happy, as I read in your cheerful looks?  You are sitting here corked up in glass bottles, as well as I, and cannot move a finger, nay, not think a reasonable thought but there rises such a murder-tumult of clanging and droning and in your head itself a tumbling and rumbling enough to drive one mad.  But doubtless you do not believe in the Salamander, or the green Snake.”

“You are pleased to jest, Mein Herr Studiosus,” replied a Cross Church Scholar; “we have never been better off than at present; for the speziesthalers which the mad Archivarius gave us for all manner of pot-hook copies, are clinking in our pockets; we have now no Italian choruses to learn by heart; we go every day to Joseph’s or other inns, where we do justice to the double-beer, we even look pretty girls in their faces; and we sing, like real students, Gaudeamus igitur, and are contented in spirit!”

Page 280

“The gentlemen are quite right,” added a Law Clerk; “I too am well furnished with speziesthalers, like my dearest colleague beside me here; and we now diligently walk about on the Weinberg, instead of scurvy Act-writing within four walls.”

“But, my best, worthiest gentlemen!” said the student Anselmus, “do you not feel, then, that you are all and sundry corked up in glass bottles, and cannot for your hearts walk a hair’s-breadth?”

Here the Cross Church Scholars and the Law Clerks set up a loud laugh, and cried:  “The student is mad; he fancies himself to be sitting in a glass bottle, and is standing on the Elbe-bridge and looking right down into the water.  Let us go along!”

“Ah!” sighed the student, “they have never seen the sweet Serpentina; they know not what Freedom, and life in Love, and Faith, signify; and so by reason of their folly and low-mindedness, they feel not the oppression of the imprisonment into which the Salamander has cast them.  But I, unhappy I, must perish in want and woe, if she, whom I so inexpressibly love, do not deliver me!”

Then, waving in faint tinkles, Serpentina’s voice flitted through the room:  “Anselmus! believe, love, hope!” And every tone beamed into Anselmus’ prison; and the crystal yielded to his pressure, and expanded, till the breast of the captive could move and heave.

The torment of his situation became less and less, and he saw clearly that Serpentina still loved him, and that it was she alone, who had rendered his confinement in the crystal tolerable.  He disturbed himself no more about his frivolous companions in misfortune, but directed all his thoughts and meditations on the gentle Serpentina.  Suddenly, however, there arose on the other side a dull, croaking, repulsive murmur.  Ere long he could observe that it proceeded from an old coffee-pot, with half-broken lid, standing over against him on a little shelf.  As he looked at it more narrowly, the ugly features of a wrinkled old woman by degrees unfolded themselves; and in a few moments, the Apple-wife of the Black Gate stood before him.  She grinned and laughed at him, and cried with screeching voice:  “Ey, Ey, my pretty boy, must thou lie in limbo now?  To the crystal thou hast run; did I not tell thee long ago?”

“Mock and jeer me; do, thou cursed witch!” said the student Anselmus.  “Thou art to blame for it all; but the Salamander will catch thee, thou vile Parsnip!”

“Ho, ho!” replied the crone, “not so proud, good ready-writer!  Thou hast smashed my little sons to pieces, thou hast burnt my nose; but I must still like thee, thou knave, for once thou wert a pretty fellow; and my little daughter likes thee too.  Out of the crystal thou wilt never come unless I help thee; up thither I cannot clamber; but my cousin gossip the Rat, that lives close above thee, will gnaw in two the shelf on which thou standest; thou shalt jingle down, and I catch thee in my apron, that thy nose be not broken, or thy fine sleek face at all injured; then I will carry thee to Mam’sell Veronica, and thou shalt marry her when thou art Hofrat.”

Page 281

“Avaunt, thou devil’s brood!” cried the student Anselmus, full of fury; “it was thou alone and thy hellish arts that brought me to the sin which I must now expiate.  But I bear it all patiently; for only here can I be, where the kind Serpentina encircles me with love and consolation.  Hear it, thou beldam, and despair!  I bid defiance to thy power; I love Serpentina, and none but her forever; I will not be Hofrat, will not look at Veronica, who by thy means entices me to evil.  Can the green Snake not be mine, I will die in sorrow and longing.  Take thyself away, thou vile rook!  Take thyself away!”

The crone laughed till the chamber rung:  “Sit and die then,” cried she, “but now it is time to set to work; for I have other trade to follow here.”  She threw off her black cloak, and so stood in hideous nakedness; then she ran round in circles, and large folios came tumbling down to her; out of these she tore parchment leaves, and, rapidly patching them together in artful combination and fixing them on her body, in a few instants she was dressed as if in strange party-colored scale harness.  Spitting fire, the black Cat darted out of the ink-glass, which was standing on the table, and ran mewing toward the crone, who shrieked in loud triumph and along with him vanished through the door.

Anselmus observed that she went toward the azure chamber, and directly he heard a hissing and storming in the distance; the birds in the garden were crying; the Parrot creaked out:  “Help! help!  Thieves! thieves!” That moment the crone returned with a bound into the room, carrying the Golden Pot on her arm, and, with hideous gestures, shrieking wildly through the air; “Joy! joy, little son!—­Kill the green Snake!  To her, son!  To her!”

Anselmus thought he heard a deep moaning, heard Serpentina’s voice.  Then horror and despair took hold of him; he gathered all his force, he dashed violently, as if nerve and artery were bursting, against the crystal; a piercing clang went through the room, and the Archivarius in his bright damask nightgown was standing in the door.

“Hey, hey! vermin!—­Mad spell!—­Witchwork!—­Hither, holla!” So shouted he; then the black hair of the crone started up like bristles; her red eyes glanced with infernal fire, and clenching together the peaked fangs of her ample jaws, she hissed:  “Hiss, at him!  Hiss, at him!  Hiss!” and laughed and haw-hawed in scorn and mockery, and pressed the Golden Pot firmly toward her, and threw out of it handfuls of glittering earth on the Archivarius; but as it touched the nightgown the earth changed into flowers, which rained down on the ground.  Then the lilies of the nightgown flickered and flamed up; and the Archivarius caught these lilies blazing in sparky fire and dashed them on the witch; she howled for agony, but still as she leapt aloft and shook her harness of parchment the lilies went out and fell away into ashes.

Page 282

“To her, my lad!” creaked the crone; then the black Cat darted through the air, and plunged over the Archivarius’ head toward the door; but the gray Parrot fluttered out against him and caught him with his crooked bill by the nape, till red fiery blood burst down over his neck; and Serpentina’s voice cried:  “Saved!  Saved!” Then the crone, foaming with rage and desperation, darted out upon the Archivarius; she threw the Golden Pot behind her, and holding up the long talons of her skinny fists, was for clutching the Archivarius by the throat; but he instantly doffed his nightgown, and hurled it against her.  Then, hissing, and sputtering, and bursting, shot blue flames from the parchment leaves, and the crone rolled round in howling agony, and strove to get fresh earth from the Pot, fresh parchment leaves from the books, that she might stifle the blazing flames; and whenever any earth or leaves came down on her the flames went out.  But now, as if coming from the interior of the Archivarius, there issued fiery crackling beams, and darted on the crone.

“Hey, hey!  To it again!  Salamander!  Victory!” clanged the Archivarius’ voice through the chamber; and a hundred bolts whirled forth in fiery circles round the shrieking crone.  Whizzing and buzzing flew Cat and Parrot in their furious battle; but at last the Parrot, with his strong wing, dashed the Cat to the ground; and with his talons transfixing and holding fast his adversary, which, in deadly agony, uttered horrid mews and howls, he, with his sharp bill, picked out his glowing eyes, and the burning froth spouted from them.  Then thick vapor streamed up from the spot where the crone, hurled to the ground, was lying under the nightgown; her howling, her terrific, piercing cry of lamentation died away in the remote distance.  The smoke, which had spread abroad with irresistible smell, cleared off; the Archivarius picked up his nightgown, and under it lay an ugly Parsnip.

“Honored Herr Archivarius, here, let me offer you the vanquished foe,” said the Parrot, holding out a black hair in his beak to Archivarius Lindhorst.

“Very well, my worthy friend,” replied the Archivarius; “here lies my vanquished foe too; be so good now as to manage what remains.  This very day, as a small douceur, you shall have six cocoanuts, and a new pair of spectacles also, for I see the Cat has villainously broken your glasses.

“Yours forever, most honored friend and patron!” answered the Parrot, much delighted; then took the Parsnip in his bill, and fluttered out with it by the window which Archivarius Lindhorst had opened for him.

Page 283

The Archivarius now lifted the Golden Pot, and cried, with a strong voice, “Serpentina!  Serpentina!” But as the student Anselmus, joying in the destruction of the vile beldam who had hurried him into misfortune, cast his eyes on the Archivarius, behold, here stood once more the high majestic form of the Spirit-prince, looking up to him with indescribable dignity and grace.  “Anselmus,” said the Spirit-prince, “not thou, but a hostile Principle, which strove destructively to penetrate into thy nature and divide thee against thyself, was to blame for thy unbelief.  Thou hast kept thy faithfulness; be free and happy.”  A bright flash quivered through the spirit of Anselmus; the royal triphony of the crystal bells sounded stronger and louder than he had ever heard it; his nerves and fibres thrilled; but, swelling higher and higher, the melodious tones rang through the room; the glass which inclosed Anselmus broke; and he rushed into the arms of his dear and gentle Serpentina.

ELEVENTH VIGIL

Conrector Paulmann’s anger at the madness which had broken out in his Family.  How Registrator Heerbrand became Hofrat; and, in the keenest Frost, walked about in Shoes and silk Stockings.  Veronica’s Confessions.  Betrothment over the steaming Soup-dish.

“But tell me, best Registrator, how the cursed punch last night could so mount into our heads, and drive us to all manner of allotria?” So said Conrector Paulmann, as he next morning entered his room, which still lay full of broken sherds, and in whose midst his hapless peruke, dissolved into its original elements, was floating in the punch-bowl.  After the student Anselmus ran out of doors, Conrector Paulmann and Registrator Heerbrand had still kept trotting and hobbling up and down the room, shouting like maniacs, and butting their heads together; till Fraenzchen, with much labor, carried her vertiginous papa to bed, and Registrator Heerbrand, in the deepest exhaustion, sank on the sofa, which Veronica had left, taking refuge in her bedroom.  Registrator Heerbrand had his blue handkerchief tied about his head; he looked quite pale and melancholic, and moaned out:  “Ah, worthy Conrector, not the punch which Mam’sell Veronica most admirably brewed, no! but simply that cursed student is to blame for all the mischief.  Do you not observe that he has long been mente caphis?  And are you not aware that madness is infectious?  One fool makes twenty; pardon me, it is an old proverb; especially when you have drunk a glass or two, you fall into madness quite readily, and then involuntarily you manoeuvre, and go through your exercise, just as the crack-brained fugleman makes the motion.  Would you believe it, Conrector?  I am still giddy when I think of that gray Parrot!”

“Gray fiddlesticks!” interrupted the Conrector; “it was nothing but Archivarius Lindhorst’s little old Famulus, who had thrown a gray cloak over him and was seeking the student Anselmus.”

Page 284

“It may be,” answered Registrator Heerbrand, “but, I must confess, I am quite downcast in spirit; the whole night through there was such a piping and organing.”

“That was I,” said the Conrector, “for I snore loud.”

“Well, maybe,” answered the Registrator; “but Conrector, Conrector!  Ah, not without cause did I wish to raise some cheerfulness among us last night—­But that Anselmus has spoiled all!  You know not—­O Conrector, Conrector!” And with this, Registrator Heerbrand started up, plucked the cloth from his head, embraced the Conrector, warmly pressed his hand, and again cried, in quite heart-breaking tones:  “O Conrector, Conrector!” and, snatching his hat and staff, rushed out of doors.

“This Anselmus comes not over my threshold again,” said Conrector Paulmann; “for I see very well that, with this obdurate madness of his, he robs the best people of their senses.  The Registrator is now over with it too; I have hitherto kept safe; but the Devil, who knocked hard last night in our carousal, may get in at last and play his tricks with me.  So Apage, Satanas!  Off with thee, Anselmus!” Veronica had grown quite pensive; she spoke no word; only smiled now and then very oddly, and liked best to be alone.  “Also of her distress Anselmus is the cause,” said the Conrector, full of malice; “but it is well that he does not show himself here; I know he fears me, this Anselmus, and so he never comes.”

These concluding words Conrector Paulmann spoke aloud; then the tears rushed into Veronica’s eyes, and she said, sobbing:  “Ah! how can Anselmus come?  He has long been corked up in the glass bottle.”

“How?  What?” cried Conrector Paulmann.  “Ah Heaven!  Ah Heaven! she is doting too, like the Registrator; the loud fit will soon come!  Ah, thou cursed, abominable, thrice-cursed Anselmus!” He ran forth directly to Doctor Eckstein, who smiled, and again said:  “Ey!  Ey!” This time, however, he prescribed nothing; but added, to the little he had uttered, the following words, as he walked away:  “Nerves!  Come round of itself.  Take the air; walks; amusements; theatre; playing Sonntagskind, Schwestern von Prag.  Come round of itself.”

“So eloquent I have seldom seen the Doctor,” thought Conrector Paulmann; “really talkative, I declare!”

Several days and weeks and months were gone; Anselmus had vanished; but Registrator Heerbrand also did not make his appearance—­not till the fourth of February, when the Registrator, in a new fashionable coat of the finest cloth, in shoes and silk stockings, notwithstanding the keen frost, and with a large nosegay of fresh flowers in his hand, did enter precisely at noon into the parlor of Conrector Paulmann, who wondered not a little to see his friend so dizened.  With a solemn air, Registrator Heerbrand stepped forward to Conrector Paulmann; embraced him with the finest elegance, and then said:  “Now at last, on the Saint’s-day of your beloved and most honored

Page 285

Mam’sell Veronica, I will tell you out, straightforward, what I have long had lying at my heart.  That evening, that unfortunate evening, when I put the ingredients of that cursed punch in my pocket, I purposed imparting to you a piece of good news, and celebrating the happy day in convivial joys.  Already I had learned that I was to be made Hofrat, for which promotion I have now the patent, cum nomine et sigillo Principis, in my pocket.”

“Ah!  Herr Registr—­Herr Hofrat Heerbrand, I meant to say,” stammered the Conrector.

“But it is you, most honored Conrector,” continued the new Hofrat; “it is you alone that can complete my happiness.  For a long time I have in secret loved your daughter, Mam’sell Veronica; and I can boast of many a kind look which she has given me, evidently showing that she would not cast me away.  In one word, honored Conrector!  I, Hofrat Heerbrand, do now entreat of you the hand of your most amiable Mam’sell Veronica, whom I, if you have nothing against it, purpose shortly to take home as my wife.”

Conrector Paulmann, full of astonishment, clapped his hands repeatedly, crying:  “Ey, Ey, Ey!  Herr Registr—­Herr Hofrat, I meant to say—­who would have thought it?  Well, if Veronica does really love you, I for my share cannot object; nay, perhaps, her present melancholy is nothing but concealed love for you, most honored Hofrat!  You know what freaks they have!”

At this moment Veronica entered, pale and agitated as she now commonly was.  Then Hofrat Heerbrand stepped toward her; mentioned in a neat speech her Saint’s-day and handed her the odorous nosegay, along with a little packet; out of which, when she opened it, a pair of glittering ear-rings beamed up at her.  A rapid flying blush tinted her cheeks; her eyes sparkled in joy, and she cried:  “O Heaven!  These are the very ear-rings which I wore some weeks ago, and thought so much of.”

“How can this be, dearest Mam’sell,” interrupted Hofrat Heerbrand, somewhat alarmed and hurt, “when I bought these jewels not an hour ago in the Schlossgasse, for current money?”

But Veronica heeded him not; she was standing before the mirror to witness the effect of the trinkets, which she had already suspended in her pretty little ears.  Conrector Paulmann disclosed to her, with grave countenance and solemn tone, his friend Heerbrand’s preferment and present proposal.  Veronica looked at the Hofrat with a searching look, and said:  “I have long known that you wished to marry me.  Well, be it so!  I promise you my heart and hand; but I must now unfold to you, to both of you, I mean, my father and my bridegroom, much that is lying heavy on my heart; yes, even now, though the soup should get cold, which I see Fraenzchen is just putting on the table.”

Page 286

Without waiting for the Conrector’s or the Hofrat’s reply, though the words were visibly hovering on the lips of both, Veronica continued:  “You may believe me, best father, I loved Anselmus from my heart, and when Registrator Heerbrand, who is now become Hofrat himself, assured us that Anselmus might probably reach that position, I resolved that he and no other should be my husband.  But then it seemed as if alien hostile beings were for snatching him away from me; I had recourse to old Liese, who was once my nurse, but is now a wise woman, and a great enchantress.  She promised to help me and give Anselmus wholly into my hands.  We went at midnight on the Equinox to the crossing of the roads; she conjured certain hellish spirits, and by aid of the black Cat we manufactured a little metallic mirror, in which I, directing my thoughts on Anselmus, had but to look in order to rule him wholly in heart and mind.  But now I heartily repent having done all this, and here abjure all Satanic arts.  The Salamander has conquered old Liese; I heard her shrieks; but there was no help to be given; so soon as the Parrot had eaten the Parsnip my metallic mirror broke in two with a piercing clang.”  Veronica took out both the pieces of the mirror, and a lock of hair from her work-box, and handing them to Hofrat Heerbrand, she proceeded:  “Here, take the fragments of the mirror, dear Hofrat; throw them down, tonight, at twelve o’clock, over the Elbe-bridge, from the place where the Cross stands; the stream is not frozen there; the lock, however, do you wear on your faithful breast.  I again abjure all magic; and heartily wish Anselmus joy of his good fortune, seeing he is wedded with the green Snake, who is much prettier and richer than I. You, dear Hofrat, I will love and reverence as becomes a true honest wife.”

“Alack!  Alack!” cried Conrector Paulmann, full of sorrow; “she is cracked, she is cracked; she can never be Frau Hofraetin; she is cracked!”

“Not in the least,” interrupted Hofrat Heerbrand; “I know well that Mam’sell Veronica has felt kindly toward the loutish Anselmus; and it may be that in some fit of passion, she has had recourse to the wise woman, who, as I perceive, can be no other than the card-caster and coffee-pourer of the Seetor—­in a word, old Rauerin.  Nor can it be denied that there are secret arts, which exert their influence on men but too balefully; we read of such in the Ancients, and doubtless there are still such; but as to what Mam’sell Veronica is pleased to say about the victory of the Salamander, and the marriage of Anselmus with the green Snake, this, in reality, I take for nothing but a poetic allegory; a sort of poem, wherein she sings her entire farewell to the Student.”

“Take it for what you will, best Hofrat!” cried Veronica; “perhaps for a very stupid dream.”

“That I nowise do,” replied Hofrat Heerbrand; “for I know well that Anselmus himself is possessed by secret powers, which vex him and drive him on to all imaginable mad freaks.”

Page 287

Conrector Paulmann could stand it no longer; he broke loose:  “Hold!  For the love of Heaven, hold!  Are we again overtaken with the cursed punch, or has Anselmus’ madness come over us too?  Herr Hofrat, what stuff is this you are talking?  I will suppose, however, that it is love which haunts your brain; this soon comes to rights in marriage; otherwise I should be apprehensive that you too had fallen into some shade of madness, most honored Herr Hofrat; then what would become of the future branches of the family, inheriting the malum of their parents?  But now I give my paternal blessing to this happy union, and permit you as bride and bridegroom to take a kiss.”

This happened forthwith; and thus before the presented soup had grown cold, was a formal betrothment concluded.  In a few weeks, Frau Hofraetin Heerbrand was actually, as she had been in vision, sitting in the balcony of a fine house in the Neumarkt, and looking down with a smile on the beaux, who, passing by, turned their glasses up to her, and said:  “She is a heavenly woman, the Hofraetin Heerbrand.”

TWELFTH VIGIL

    Account of the Freehold Property to which Anselmus removed, as
    son-in-law of Archivarius Lindhorst; and how he lives there with
    Serpentina.  Conclusion.

How deeply did I feel, in the depth of my heart, the blessedness of the student Anselmus, who now, indissolubly united with his gentle Serpentina, has withdrawn to the mysterious Land of Wonders, recognized by him as the home toward which his bosom, filled with strange forecastings, had always longed.  But in vain was all my striving to set before thee, kind reader, those glories with which Anselmus is encompassed, or even in the faintest degree to shadow them forth to thee in words.  Reluctantly I could not but acknowledge the feebleness of my every expression.  I felt myself enthralled amid the paltriness of every-day life; I sickened in tormenting dissatisfaction; I glided about like a dreamer; in brief, I fell into that condition of the student Anselmus, which, in the Fourth Vigil, I have endeavored to set before thee.  It grieved me to the heart, when I glanced over the Eleven Vigils, now happily accomplished, and thought that to insert the Twelfth, the keystone of the whole, would never be vouchsafed me.  For whensoever, in the night season, I set myself to complete the work, it was as if mischievous Spirits (they might be relations, perhaps cousins german, of the slain witch) held a polished glittering piece of metal before me, in which I beheld my own mean Self, pale, overwatched, and melancholic, like Registrator Heerbrand after his bout of punch.  Then I threw down my pen, and hastened to bed, that I might behold the happy Anselmus and the fair Serpentina, at least in my dreams.  This had lasted for several days and nights, when at length quite unexpectedly I received a note from Archivarius Lindhorst, in which he addressed me as follows: 

Page 288

“Respected Sir—­It is well known to me that you have written down, in Eleven Vigils, the singular fortunes of my good son-in-law Anselmus, whilom student, now poet; and are at present cudgeling your brains very sore, that in the Twelfth and Last Vigil you may tell somewhat of his happy life in Atlantis, where he now lives with my daughter on the pleasant Freehold which I possess in that country.  Now, notwithstanding I much regret that hereby my own peculiar nature is unfolded to the reading world; seeing it may, in my office as Privy Archivarius, expose me to a thousand inconveniences; nay, in the Collegium even give rise to the question:  How far a Salamander can justly, and with binding consequences, plight himself by oath, as a Servant of the State, and how far, on the whole, important affairs may be intrusted to him, since, according to Gabalis and Swedenborg, the Spirits of the Elements are not to be trusted at all?—­notwithstanding, my best friends must now avoid my embrace; fearing lest, in some sudden exuberance, I dart out a flash or two, and singe their hair-curls, and Sunday frocks; notwithstanding all this, I say, it is still my purpose to assist you in the completion of the Work, since much good of me and of my dear married daughter (would the other two were off my hands also!) has therein been said.  Would you write your Twelfth Vigil, therefore, then descend your cursed five pair of stairs, leave your garret, and come over to me.  In the blue palm-tree room, which you already know, you will find fit writing materials; and you can then, in a few words, specify to your readers what you have seen—­a better plan for you than any long-winded description of a life which you know only by hearsay.

With esteem, your obedient servant,

THE SALAMANDER LINDHORST,

P.T.  Royal Privy Archivarius.”

This truly somewhat rough, yet on the whole friendly note from Archivarius Lindhorst, gave me high pleasure.  Clear enough it seemed, indeed, that the singular manner in which the fortunes of his son-in-law had been revealed to me, and which I, bound to silence, must conceal even from thee, kind reader, was well known to this peculiar old gentleman; yet he had not taken it so ill as I might readily have apprehended.  Nay, here was he offering me his helpful hand in the completion of my work; and from this I might justly conclude that at bottom he was not averse to have his marvelous existence in the world of spirits thus divulged through the press.

“It may be,” thought I, “that he himself expects from this measure, perhaps, to get his two other daughters the sooner married; for who knows but a spark may fall in this or that young man’s breast, and kindle a longing for the green Snake; whom, on Ascension-day, under the elder-bush, he will forthwith seek and find?  From the woe which befell Anselmus, when inclosed in the glass bottle, he will take warning to be doubly and trebly on his guard against all doubt and unbelief.”

Page 289

Precisely at eleven o’clock I extinguished my study-lamp and glided forth to Archivarius Lindhorst, who was already waiting for me in the lobby.

“Are you there, my worthy friend?  Well, this is what I like, that you have not mistaken my good intentions; do but follow me!”

And with this he led the way through the garden, now filled with dazzling brightness, into the azure chamber, where I observed the same violet table at which Anselmus had been writing.

Archivarius Lindhorst disappeared, but soon came back, carrying in his hand a fair golden goblet out of which a high blue flame was sparkling up.  “Here,” said he, “I bring you the favorite drink of your friend the Bandmaster, Johannes Kreisler.[45] It is burning arrack, into which I have thrown a little sugar.  Sip a touch or two of it; I will doff my nightgown, and, to amuse myself and enjoy your worthy company while you sit looking and writing, shall just bob up and down a little in the goblet.”

“As you please, honored Herr Archivarius,” answered I:  “but if I am to ply the liqueur, you will get none.”

“Don’t fear that, my good fellow,” cried the Archivarius; then hastily threw off his nightgown, mounted, to my no small amazement, into the goblet, and vanished in the blaze.  Without fear, softly blowing black the flame, I partook of the drink; it was truly delicious!

Stir not the emerald leaves of the palm-trees in soft sighing and rustling, as if kissed by the breath of the morning wind?  Awakened from their sleep, they move and mysteriously whisper of the wonders which, from the far distance, approach like tones of melodious harps!  The azure rolls from the walls, and floats like airy vapor to and fro; but dazzling beams shoot through the perfume which, whirling and dancing, as in jubilee of childlike sport, mounts and mounts to immeasurable heights, and vaults over the palm-trees.  But brighter and brighter shoots beam on beam, till in bright sunshine and boundless expanse opens the grove where I behold Anselmus.  Here glowing hyacinths, and tulips, and roses, lift their fair heads; and their perfumes, in loveliest sound, call to the happy youth:  “Wander, wander among us, our beloved; for thou understandest us!  Our perfume is the Longing of Love; we love thee, and are thine forevermore!” The golden rays burn in glowing tones:  “We are Fire, kindled by Love.  Perfume is Longing; but Fire is Desire:  and dwell we not in thy bosom?  We are thy own!” The dark bushes, the high trees, rustle and sound:  “Come to us, thou loved, thou happy one!  Fire is Desire; but Hope is our cool Shadow.  Lovingly we rustle round thy head; for thou understandest us, because Love dwells in thy breast!” The fountains and brooks murmur and patter.  “Loved one, walk not so quickly by; look into our crystal!  Thy image dwells in us, which we preserve with Love, for thou hast understood us.”  In the triumphal choir, bright birds are singing:  “Hear us!  Hear us! 

Page 290

We are Joy, we are Delight, the rapture of Love!” But longingly Anselmus turns his eyes to the Glorious Temple, which rises behind him in the distance.  The artful pillars seem trees; and the capitals and friezes acanthus leaves, which in wondrous wreaths and figures form splendid decorations.  Anselmus walks to the Temple; he views with inward delight the variegated marble, the steps with their strange veins of moss.  “Ah, no!” cries he, as if in the excess of rapture, “she is not far from me now; she is near!” Then advances Serpentina, in the fulness of beauty and grace, from the Temple; she bears the Golden Pot, from which a bright Lily has sprung.  The nameless rapture of infinite longing glows in her bright eyes; she looks at Anselmus, and says:  “Ah!  Dearest, the Lily has sent forth her bowl; what we longed for is fulfilled; is there a happiness to equal ours?” Anselmus clasps her with the tenderness of warmest ardor; the Lily burns in flaming beams over his head.  And louder move the trees and bushes; clearer and gladder play the brooks; the birds, the shining insects dance in the waves of perfume; a gay, bright rejoicing tumult, in the air, in the water, in the earth, is holding the festival of Love!  Now rush sparkling streaks, gleaming over all the bushes; diamonds look from the ground like shining eyes; high gushes spurt from the wells; strange perfumes are wafted hither on sounding wings; they are the Spirits of the Elements, who do homage to the Lily, and proclaim the happiness of Anselmus.  Then Anselmus raises his head, as if encircled with a beamy glory.  Is it looks?  Is it words?  Is it song?  You hear the sound:  “Serpentina!  Belief in thee, Love of thee, has unfolded to my soul the inmost spirit of Nature!  Thou hast brought me the Lily, which sprung from Gold, from the primeval Force of the earth, before Phosphorus had kindled the spark of Thought; this Lily is Knowledge of the sacred Harmony of all Beings; and in this do I live in highest blessedness forevermore.  Yes, I, thrice happy, have perceived what was highest; I must indeed love thee forever, O Serpentina!  Never shall the golden blossoms of the Lily grow pale; for, like Belief and Love, Knowledge is eternal.”

For the vision, in which I had now beheld Anselmus bodily, in his Freehold of Atlantis, I stand indebted to the arts of the Salamander; and most fortunate was it that, when all had melted into air, I found a paper lying on the violet table, with the foregoing statement of the matter, written fairly and distinctly by my own hand.  But now I felt myself as if transpierced and torn in pieces by sharp sorrow.  “Ah, happy Anselmus, who hast cast away the burden of week-day life, who in the love of thy kind Serpentina fliest with bold pinion, and now livest in rapture and joy on thy Freehold in Atlantis! while I—­poor I!—­must soon, nay, in a few moments, leave even this fair hall, which itself is far from a Freehold in Atlantis, and again be transplanted to my garret, where, enthralled among the pettinesses of necessitous existence, my heart and my sight are so bedimmed with thousand mischiefs, as with thick fog, that the fair Lily will never, never be beheld by me.”

Page 291

Then Archivarius Lindhorst patted me gently on the shoulder, and said:  “Soft, soft, my honored friend!  Lament not so!  Were you not even now in Atlantis, and have you not at least a pretty little copyhold Farm there, as the poetical possession of your inward sense?  And is the blessedness of Anselmus aught else but a Living in Poesy?  Can aught else but Poesy reveal itself as the sacred Harmony of all Beings, as the deepest secret of Nature?”

FRIEDRICH BARON DE LA MOTTE FOUQUE

* * * * *

SELECTIONS FROM UNDINE[46] (1811)

TRANSLATED BY F.E.  BUNNETT

CHAPTER VIII

The Day after the wedding

The fresh light of the morning awoke the young married pair.  Undine hid bashfully beneath her covers while Huldbrand lay still, absorbed in deep meditation.  Wonderful and horrible dreams had disturbed Huldbrand’s rest; he had been haunted by spectres, who, grinning at him by stealth, had tried to disguise themselves as beautiful women, and from beautiful women they all at once assumed the faces of dragons, and when he started up from these hideous visions the moonlight shone pale and cold into the room; terrified he looked at Undine on whose bosom he fell asleep and who still lay in unaltered beauty and grace.  Then he would press a light kiss upon her rosy lips and would fall asleep again only to be awakened by new terrors.  After he had reflected on all this, now that he was fully awake, he reproached himself for any doubt that could have led him into error with regard to his beautiful wife.  He begged her to forgive him for the injustice he had done her, but she only held out to him her fair hand, sighed deeply, and remained silent.  But a glance of exquisite fervor, such as he had never seen before, beamed from her eyes, carrying with it the full assurance that Undine bore him no ill-will.  He then rose cheerfully and left her, to join his friends in the common apartment.

He found the three sitting round the hearth with an air of anxiety, as if they dared not venture to speak aloud.  The priest seemed to be praying in his inmost spirit that all evil might be averted.  When, however, they saw the young husband come forth so cheerfully, the careworn expression of their faces vanished.

The old fisherman even began to tease the knight, but in so chaste and modest a manner that the aged wife herself smiled good-humoredly as she listened to them.  Undine at length made her appearance.  All rose to meet her and all stood still with surprise, for the young wife seemed so strange to them and yet the same.  The priest was the first to advance toward her, with paternal affection beaming in his face, and, as he raised his hand to bless her, the beautiful woman sank reverently on her knees before him.  With a few humble and gracious words she

Page 292

begged him to forgive her for any foolish things she might have said the evening before, and entreated him in an agitated tone to pray for the welfare of her soul.  She then rose, kissed her foster-parents, and thanking them for all the goodness they had shown her, she exclaimed, “Oh, I now feel in my innermost heart, how much, how infinitely much, you have done for me, dear, kind people!” She could not at first desist from her caresses, but scarcely had she perceived that the old woman was busy in preparing breakfast than she went to the hearth, cooked and arranged the meal, and would not suffer the good old mother to take the least trouble.

She continued thus throughout the whole day, quiet, kind, and attentive—­at once a little matron and a tender bashful girl.  The three who had known her longest expected every moment to see some whimsical vagary of her capricious spirit burst forth; but they waited in vain for it.  Undine remained as mild and gentle as an angel.  The holy father could not take his eyes from her, and he said repeatedly to the bridegroom, “The goodness of heaven, sir, has intrusted a treasure to you yesterday through me, unworthy as I am; cherish it as you ought, and it will promote your temporal and eternal welfare.”

[Illustration:  FRIEDRICH BARON DE LA MOTTE-FOUQUE.]

Toward evening Undine was hanging on the knight’s arm with humble tenderness, and drew him gently out of the door where the declining sun was shining pleasantly on the fresh grass and upon the tall slender stems of the trees.  The eyes of the young wife were moist, as with the dew of sadness and love, and a tender and fearful secret seemed hovering on her lips—­which, however, was disclosed only by scarcely audible sighs.  She led her husband onward and onward in silence; when he spoke she answered him only with looks, in which, it is true, there lay no direct reply to his inquiries, but a whole heaven of love and timid devotion.  Thus they reached the edge of the swollen forest-stream, and the knight was astonished to see it rippling along in gentle waves, without a trace of its former wildness and swell.  “By the morning, it will be quite dry,” said the beautiful wife, in a regretful tone, “and you can then travel away wherever you will, without anything to hinder you.”

“Not without you, my little Undine,” replied the knight, laughing; “remember, even if I wished to desert you, the church, and the spiritual powers, and the emperor, and the empire, would interpose and bring the fugitive back again.”

“All depends upon you, all depends upon you,” whispered his wife, half weeping and half smiling.  “I think, however, nevertheless, that you will keep me with you; I love you so heartily.  Now carry me across to that little island that lies before us.  The matter shall be decided there.  I could easily indeed glide through the rippling waves, but it is so restful in your arms, and, if you are to cast me off, I shall have sweetly rested in them

Page 293

once more for the last time.”  Huldbrand, full as he was of strange fear and emotion, knew not what to reply.  He took her in his arms and carried her across, remembering now for the first time that this was the same little island from which he had borne her back to the old fisherman on that first night.  On the farther side he put her down on the soft grass, and was on the point of placing himself lovingly near his beautiful burden when she said, “No, there, opposite to me!  I will read my sentence in your eyes, before your lips speak; now, listen attentively to what I will relate to you!” And she began: 

“You must know, my loved one, that there are beings in the elements which appear almost like you mortals, and which rarely allow themselves to become visible to your race.  Wonderful salamanders glitter and sport in the flames; lean and malicious gnomes dwell deep within the earth; spirits, belonging to the air, wander through the forests; and a vast family of water spirits live in the lakes and streams and brooks.  In resounding domes of crystal, through which the sky looks in with its sun and stars, these latter spirits find their beautiful abode; lofty trees of coral, with blue and crimson fruits, gleam in the gardens; they wander over the pure sand of the sea, and among lovely variegated shells, and amid all exquisite treasures of the old world, which the present is no longer worthy to enjoy; all these the floods have covered with their secret veils of silver, and the noble monuments sparkle below, stately and solemn, and bedewed by the loving waters which allure from them many a beautiful moss-flower and entwining cluster of sea-grass.  Those, however, who dwell there, are very fair and lovely to behold, and for the most part are more beautiful than human beings.  Many a fisherman has been so fortunate as to surprise some tender mermaid, as she rose above the waters and sang.  He would then tell afar of her beauty, and such wonderful beings have been given the name of Undines.  You, moreover, are now actually beholding an Undine.”

The knight tried to persuade himself that his beautiful wife was under the spell of one of her strange humors and that she was taking pleasure in teasing him with one of her extravagant inventions.  But repeatedly as he said this to himself, he could not believe it for a moment; a strange shudder passed through him; unable to utter a word, he stared at the beautiful narrator with an immovable gaze.  Undine shook her head sorrowfully, drew a deep sigh, and then proceeded.

“Our condition would be far superior to that of you human beings—­for human beings we call ourselves, being similar to them in form and culture—­but there is one evil peculiar to us.  We and our like in the other elements vanish into dust and pass away, body and spirit, so that not a vestige of us remains behind; and when you mortals hereafter awake to a purer life we remain with the sand and the sparks and the wind and the waves. 

Page 294

Hence we have also no souls; the element moves us and is often obedient to us while we live, though it scatters us to dust when we die; and we are merry, without having aught to grieve us—­merry as the nightingales and little gold-fishes and other pretty children of nature.  But all beings aspire to be higher than they are.  Thus my father, who is a powerful water-prince in the Mediterranean Sea, desired that his only daughter should become possessed of a soul, even though she must then endure many of the sufferings of those thus endowed.  Such as we, however, can obtain a soul only by the closest union of love with one of your human race.  I am now possessed of a soul, and my soul I owe you, my inexpressibly beloved one, and it will ever thank you if you do not make my whole life miserable.  For what is to become of me if you avoid and reject me?  Still I would not retain you by deceit.  And if you mean to reject me do so now, and return alone to the shore.  I will dive into this brook, which is my uncle; and here in the forest, far removed from other friends, he passes his strange and solitary life.  He is, however, powerful, and is esteemed and beloved by many great streams; and as he brought me hither to the fisherman, a light-hearted, laughing child, he will take me back again to my parents, a loving, suffering, and soul-endowed woman.”

She was about to say still more, but Huldbrand embraced her with the most heartfelt emotion and love, and bore her back again to the shore.  It was not till he reached it that he swore, amid tears and kisses, never to forsake his sweet wife, calling himself more happy than the Greek sculptor Pygmalion, whose beautiful statue received life from Venus and became his loved one.  In endearing confidence Undine walked back to the cottage, leaning on his arm, and feeling now for the first time with all her heart how little she ought to regret the forsaken crystal palaces of her mysterious father.

CHAPTER XIII

How they lived at Castle Ringstetten

The writer of this story, both because it moves his own heart and because he wishes it to move that of others, begs you, dear reader, to pardon him if he now briefly passes over a considerable space of time, only cursorily mentioning the events that marked it.  He knows well that he might portray according to the rules of art, step by step, how Huldbrand’s heart began to turn from Undine to Bertalda; how Bertalda more and more responded with ardent love to the young knight, and how they both looked upon the poor wife as a mysterious being rather to be feared than pitied; how Undine wept, and how her tears stung the knight’s heart with remorse without awakening his former love, so that though he at times was kind and endearing to her, a cold shudder would soon draw him from her and he would turn to his fellow-mortal, Bertalda.  All this the writer knows might be fully detailed, and perhaps ought to have been so; but such a task

Page 295

would have been too painful, for similar things have been known to him by sad experience, and he shrinks from their shadow even in remembrance.  You know probably a like feeling, dear reader, for such is the lot of mortal man.  Happy are you if you have received rather than inflicted the pain, for in such things it is more blessed to receive than to give.  If it be so, such recollections will bring only a feeling of sorrow to your mind, and perhaps a tear will trickle down your cheek over the faded flowers that once caused you such delight.  But let that be enough.  We will not pierce our hearts with a thousand separate things, but only briefly state, as I have just said, how matters were.

Poor Undine was very sad, and the other two were not to be called happy.  Bertalda, especially, thought that she could trace the effect of jealousy on the part of the injured wife whenever her wishes were in any way thwarted.  She had therefore habituated herself to an imperious demeanor, to which Undine yielded in sorrowful submission, and the now blinded Huldbrand usually encouraged this arrogant behavior in the strongest manner.  But the circumstance that most of all disturbed the inmates of the castle was a variety of wonderful apparitions which met Huldbrand and Bertalda in the vaulted galleries of the castle, and which had never been heard of before as haunting the locality.  The tall white man, in whom Huldbrand recognized only too plainly Uncle Kuehleborn, and Bertalda the spectral master of the fountain, often passed before them with a threatening aspect, and especially before Bertalda, on so many occasions that she had several times been made ill with terror and had frequently thought of quitting the castle.  But still she stayed there, partly because Huldbrand was so dear to her, and she relied on her innocence, no words of love having ever passed between them, and partly also because she knew not whither to direct her steps.  The old fisherman, on receiving the message from the lord of Ringstetten that Bertalda was his guest, had written a few lines in an almost illegible hand but as well as his advanced age and long disuse would admit of.  “I have now become,” he wrote, “a poor old widower, for my dear and faithful wife is dead.  However lonely I now sit in my cottage, Bertalda is better with you than with me.  Only let her do nothing to harm my beloved Undine!  She will have my curse if it be so.”  The last words of this letter Bertalda flung to the winds, but she carefully retained the part respecting her absence from her father—­just as we are all wont to do in similar circumstances.

One day, when Huldbrand had just ridden out, Undine summoned the domestics of the family and ordered them to bring a large stone and carefully to cover with it the magnificent fountain which stood in the middle of the castle-yard.  The servants objected that it would oblige them to bring water from the valley below.  Undine smiled sadly.  “I am sorry, my people,” she replied, “to increase your work.  I would rather myself fetch up the pitchers, but this fountain must be closed.  Believe me that it cannot be otherwise, and that it is only by so doing that we can avoid a greater evil.”

Page 296

The whole household were glad to be able to please their gentle mistress; they made no further inquiry, but seized the enormous stone.  They were just raising it in their hands and were already poising it over the fountain, when Bertalda came running up and called out to them to stop, as it was from this fountain that the water was brought which was so good for her complexion and she would never consent to its being closed.  Undine, however, although gentle as usual, was this time more than usually firm.  She told Bertalda that it was her due, as mistress of the house, to arrange her household as she thought best, and that, in this, she was accountable to no one but her lord and husband.  “See, oh, pray see,” exclaimed Bertalda, in an angry yet uneasy tone, “how the poor beautiful water is curling and writhing at being shut out from the bright sunshine and from the cheerful sight of the human face, for whose mirror it was created!” The water in the fountain was indeed wonderfully agitated and hissing; it seemed as if something within were struggling to free itself, but Undine only the more earnestly urged the fulfilment of her orders.  The earnestness was scarcely needed.  The servants of the castle were as happy in obeying their gentle mistress as in opposing Bertalda’s haughty defiance; and in spite of all the rude scolding and threatening of the latter, the stone was soon firmly lying over the opening of the fountain.  Undine leaned thoughtfully over it and wrote with her beautiful fingers on its surface.  She must, however, have had something very sharp and corrosive in her hand, for when she turned away and the servants drew near to examine the stone, they perceived all sorts of strange characters upon it, which none of them had seen there before.

Bertalda received the knight, on his return home in the evening, with tears and complaints of Undine’s conduct.  He cast a serious look at his poor wife, and she looked down in great distress; yet she said with great composure, “My lord and husband does not reprove even a bond-slave without a hearing, how much less, then, his wedded wife?”

“Speak,” said the knight with a gloomy countenance, “what induced you to act so strangely?”

“I should like to tell you when we are quite alone,” sighed Undine.

“You can tell me just as well in Bertalda’s presence,” was the rejoinder.

“Yes, if you command me,” said Undine; “but command it not.  Oh pray, pray command it not!” She looked so humble, so sweet, so obedient, that the knight’s heart felt a passing gleam from better times.  He kindly placed her arm within his own and led her to his apartment, when she began to speak as follows: 

Page 297

“You already know, my beloved lord, something of my evil uncle, Kuehleborn, and you have frequently been displeased at meeting him in the galleries of this castle.  He has several times frightened Bertalda into illness.  This is because he is devoid of soul, a mere elemental mirror of the outward world, without the power of reflecting the world within.  He sees, too, sometimes, that you are dissatisfied with me; that I, in my childishness, am weeping at this, and that Bertalda perhaps is at the very same moment laughing.  Hence he imagines various discrepancies in our home life, and in many ways mixes unbidden with our circle.  What is the good of my reproving him?  What is the use of my sending him angrily away?  He does not believe a word I say.  His poor nature has no idea that the joys and sorrows of love have so sweet a resemblance, and are so closely linked that no power can separate them.  Amid tears a smile shines forth, and a smile allures tears from their secret chambers.”

She looked up at Huldbrand, smiling and weeping; and he again experienced within his heart all the charm of his old love.  She felt this, and, pressing him more tenderly to her, she continued amid tears of joy, “As the disturber of our peace was not to be dismissed with words, I have been obliged to shut the door upon him.  And the only door by which he obtains access to us, is that fountain.  He is at odds with the other water-spirits in the neighborhood, counting from the adjacent valleys, and his kingdom only recommences further off on the Danube, into which some of his good friends direct their course.  For this reason I had the stone placed over the opening of the fountain, and I inscribed characters upon it which cripple all my uncle’s power, so that he can now neither intrude upon you, nor upon me, nor upon Bertalda.  Human beings, it is true, can raise the stone again with ordinary effort, in spite of the characters inscribed on it; the inscription does not hinder them.  If you wish, therefore, follow Bertalda’s desire, but, truly, she knows not what she asks!  The ill-bred Kuehleborn has set his mark especially upon her; and if this or that came to pass which he has predicted to me and which might indeed happen without your meaning any evil—­ah! dear one, even you would then be exposed to danger!”

Huldbrand felt deeply the generosity of his sweet wife, in her eagerness to shut up her formidable protector while she had even been chided for it by Bertalda.  He pressed her therefore in his arms with the utmost affection, and said with emotion, “The stone shall remain, and all shall remain, now and ever, as you wish to have it, my sweet little Undine.”

Page 298

She caressed him with humble delight as she heard the expressions of love so long withheld, and then at length she said, “My dearest friend, since you are so gentle and kind today, may I venture to ask a favor of you?  See now, it is just the same with you as it is with summer.  In the height of its glory summer puts on the flaming and thundering crown of mighty storms and assumes the air of a king over the earth.  You too sometimes let your fury rise, and your eyes flash, and your voice is angry, and this becomes you well, though I in my folly may sometimes weep at it.  But never, I pray you, behave thus toward me on the water, or even when we are near it.  You see, my relatives would then acquire a right over me.  They would unrelentingly tear me from you in their rage because they would imagine that one of their race was injured, and I should be compelled all my life to dwell below in the crystal palaces, and should never be permitted to ascend to you again; or they would send me up to you—­and that, oh God, would be infinitely worse.  No, no, my beloved friend, do not let it come to that, however dear poor Undine be to you.”  He promised solemnly to do as she desired, and husband and wife returned from the apartment, full of happiness and affection.

At that moment Bertalda appeared with some workmen to whom she had already given orders, and said in the sullen tone which she had assumed of late, “I suppose the secret conference is at an end, and now the stone may be removed.  Go out, workmen, and attend to it.”  But the knight, angry at her impertinence, directed in short and very decisive words that the stone should be left; he reproved Bertalda, too, for her violence toward his wife.  Whereupon the workmen withdrew, smiling with secret satisfaction; while Bertalda, pale with rage, hurried away to her rooms.

The hour for the evening repast arrived, and Bertalda was waited for in vain.  They sent after her, but the domestic found her apartments empty, and only brought back with him a sealed letter addressed to the knight.  He opened it with alarm, and read:  “I feel with shame that I am only a poor fisher-girl.  I will expiate my fault in having forgotten this for a moment, by returning to the miserable cottage of my parents.  Farewell to you and your beautiful wife.”

Undine was heartily distressed.  She earnestly entreated Huldbrand to hasten after their friend and bring her back again.  Alas! she had no need to urge him.  His affection for Bertalda burst forth again with vehemence.  He hurried round the castle, inquiring if any one had seen which way the beautiful fugitive had gone.  He could learn nothing of her and was already on his horse in the castle-yard, resolved to take at a venture the road by which he had brought Bertalda hither.  Just then a page appeared, who assured him that he had met the lady on the path to the Black Valley.  Like an arrow the knight sprang through the gate-way in the direction indicated, without hearing Undine’s voice of agony as she called to him from the window:  “To the Black Valley!  Oh, not there!  Huldbrand, don’t go there! or, for Heaven’s sake, take me with you!” But when she perceived that all her calling was in vain, she ordered her white palfrey to be saddled immediately and rode after the knight without allowing any servant to accompany her.

Page 299

CHAPTER XIV

How Bertalda returned home with the Knight

The Black Valley lies deep within the mountains.  What it is now called we do not know.  At that time the people of the country gave it this appellation on account of the deep obscurity in which the low land lay, owing to the shadows of the lofty trees, and especially firs, that grew there.  Even the brook which bubbled between the rocks wore the same dark hue, and dashed along with none of that gladness with which streams are wont to flow that have the blue sky immediately above them.  Now, in the growing twilight of evening, it looked altogether wild and gloomy between the heights.  The knight trotted anxiously along the edge of the brook, fearful at one moment that by delay he might allow the fugitive to advance too far, and, at the next, that by too great rapidity he might overlook her in case she were concealing herself from him.  Meanwhile he had already penetrated quite a ways into the valley, and might soon hope to overtake the maiden if he were on the right track, but the fear that this might not be the case made his heart beat with anxiety.  Where would the tender Bertalda tarry through the stormy night, which was so fearful in the valley, should he fail to find her?  At length he saw something white gleaming through the branches on the slope of the mountain.  He thought he recognized Bertalda’s dress, and turned his course in that direction.  But his horse refused to go forward; it reared impatiently; and its master, unwilling to lose a moment, and seeing moreover that the copse was impassable on horseback, dismounted; then, fastening his snorting steed to an elm-tree, he worked his way cautiously through the bushes.  The branches sprinkled his forehead and cheeks with the cold drops of the evening dew; a distant roll of thunder was heard murmuring from the other side of the mountains; everything looked so strange that he began to feel a dread of the white figure which now lay only a short distance from him on the ground.  Still he could plainly see that it was a woman, either asleep or in a swoon, and that she was attired in long white garments such as Bertalda had worn on that day.  He stepped close up to her, made a rustling with the branches, and let his sword clatter, but she moved not.  “Bertalda!” he exclaimed, at first in a low voice, and then louder and louder—­but still she heard not.  At last, when he uttered the dear name with a more powerful effort, a hollow echo from the mountain-caverns of the valley indistinctly reverberated “Bertalda!” but still the sleeper woke not.  He bent down over her; the gloom of the valley and the obscurity of approaching night would not allow him to distinguish her features.

Just as he was stooping closer over her with a feeling of painful doubt, a flash of lightning shot across the valley, he saw before him a frightfully distorted countenance, and a hollow voice exclaimed, “Give me a kiss, you enamoured swain!” Huldbrand sprang up with a cry of horror, and the hideous figure rose with him.  “Go home!” it murmured; “wizards are on the watch.  Go home, or I will have you!” and it stretched out its long white arms toward him.

Page 300

“Malicious Kuehleborn!” cried the knight, recovering himself.  “Hey, ’tis you, you goblin?  There, take your kiss!” And he furiously hurled his sword at the figure.  But it vanished like vapor, and a gush of water which wetted him through left the knight in no doubt as to the foe with whom he had been engaged.  “He wishes to frighten me back from Bertalda,” said he aloud to himself; “he thinks to terrify me with his foolish tricks, and to make me give up the poor distressed girl to him so that he can wreak his vengeance on her.  But he shall not do that, weak spirit of the elements as he is.  No powerless phantom may understand what a human heart can do when its best energies are aroused.”  He felt the truth of his words, and that the very expression of them had inspired his heart with fresh courage.

It seemed too as if fortune were on his side, for he had not reached his fastened horse when he distinctly heard Bertalda’s plaintive voice not far distant, and could catch her weeping accents through the ever increasing tumult of the thunder and tempest.  He hurried swiftly in the direction of the sound, and found the trembling girl just attempting to climb the steep in order to escape in any way from the dreadful gloom of the valley.  He stepped, however, lovingly in her path, and, bold and proud as her resolve had been before, she now felt only too keenly the delight that the friend whom she so passionately loved should rescue her from this frightful solitude, and that the joyous life in the castle should be again open to her.  She followed almost unresisting, but so exhausted with fatigue that the knight was glad to lead her to his horse, which he now hastily unfastened in order to lift the fair fugitive upon it; and then, cautiously holding the reins, he hoped to proceed through the uncertain shades of the valley.

But the horse had become quite unmanageable from the wild apparition of Kuehleborn.  Even the knight would have had difficulty in mounting the rearing and snorting animal, but to place the trembling Bertalda on its back was perfectly impossible.  They determined therefore to return home on foot.  Leading the horse after him by the bridle, the knight supported the tottering girl with his other hand.  Bertalda exerted all her strength to pass quickly through the fearful valley, but weariness weighed her down like lead and every limb trembled, partly from the terror she had endured when Kuehleborn had pursued her, and partly from her continued alarm at the howling of the storm and the pealing of the thunder through the wooded mountain.

At last she slid from the supporting arm of her protector, and, sinking down on the moss, exclaimed, “Let me lie here, my noble lord; I suffer the punishment due to my folly, and I must now perish here anyhow through weariness and dread.”

Page 301

“No, sweet friend, I will never leave you!” cried Huldbrand, vainly endeavoring to restrain his furious steed; for, worse than before, it now began to foam and rear with excitement, till at last the knight was glad to keep the animal at a sufficient distance from the exhausted maiden to save her from increasing fear.  But scarcely had he withdrawn a few paces with the wild steed than she began to call after him in the most pitiful manner, believing that he was really going to leave her in this horrible wilderness.  He was utterly at a loss what course to take.  Gladly would he have given the excited beast its liberty and have allowed it to rush away into the night and spend its fury, had he not feared that in this narrow defile it might come thundering with its iron-shod hoofs over the very spot where Bertalda lay.

In the midst of this extreme perplexity and distress he heard with delight the sound of a vehicle driving slowly down the stony road behind them.  He called out for help, and a man’s voice replied, promising assistance, but bidding him have patience; and, soon after, two gray horses appeared through the bushes, and beside them the driver in the white smock of a carter; a great white linen cloth was next visible, covering the goods apparently contained in the wagon.  At a loud shout from their master the obedient horses halted.  The driver then came toward the knight and helped him restrain his foaming animal.  “I see well,” said he, “what ails the beast.  When I first traveled this way my horses acted no better.  The fact is, there is an evil water-spirit haunting the place, and he takes delight in this sort of mischief.  But I have learned a charm; if you will let me whisper it in your horse’s ear he will stand at once just as quiet as my gray beasts are doing there.”

“Try your luck then, only help us quickly!” exclaimed the impatient knight.

The wagoner then drew down the head of the rearing charger close to his own, and whispered something in his ear.  In a moment the animal stood still and quiet, and his quick panting and reeking condition were all that remained of his previous unmanageableness.  Huldbrand had no time to inquire how all this had been effected.  He agreed with the carter that he should take Bertalda on his wagon, where, as the man assured him, there was a quantity of soft cotton bales upon which she could be conveyed to Castle Ringstetten, and the knight was to accompany them on horseback.  But the horse appeared too much exhausted by its past fury to be able to carry its master so far, so the Carter persuaded Huldbrand to get into the wagon with Bertalda.  The horse could be tethered on behind.  “We are going down hill,” said he, “and that will make it light for my gray beasts.”  The knight accepted the offer and entered the wagon with Bertalda; the horse followed patiently behind, and the wagoner, steady and attentive, walked by the side.

Page 302

In the stillness of the night, as its darkness deepened and the subsiding tempest sounded more and more remote, encouraged by the sense of security and their fortunate escape a confidential conversation arose between Huldbrand and Bertalda.  With flattering words he reproached her for her daring flight; she excused herself with humility and emotion, and from every word she said a gleam shone forth which disclosed distinctly to the lover that the beloved was his.  The knight felt the sense of her words far more than he regarded their meaning, and it was the sense alone to which he replied.  Presently the wagoner suddenly shouted with a loud voice.  “Up, my grays, up with your feet, keep together!  Remember who you are!” The knight leaned out of the wagon and saw that the horses were stepping into the midst of a foaming stream or were already almost swimming, while the wheels of the wagon were rushing round and gleaming like mill-wheels, and the wagoner had climbed up in front in consequence of the increasing waters.

“What sort of a road is this?  It goes into the very middle of the stream,” cried Huldbrand to his guide.

“Not at all, sir,” returned the other laughing, “it is just the reverse; the stream goes into the very middle of our road.  Look round and see how every thing is covered by the water.”

The whole valley indeed was suddenly filled with the surging flood, that visibly increased.  “It is Kuehleborn, the evil water-spirit, who wishes to drown us!” exclaimed the knight.  “Have you no charm against him, my friend?”

“I know indeed of one,” returned the wagoner, “but I cannot and may not use it until you know who I am.”

“Is this a time for riddles?” cried the knight.  “The flood is ever rising higher, and what does it matter to me to know who you are?”

“It does matter to you, though,” said the wagoner, “for I am Kuehleborn.”  So saying, he thrust his distorted face into the wagon with a grin, but the wagon was a wagon no longer, the horses were not horses—­all was transformed to foam and vanished in the hissing waves, and even the wagoner himself, rising as a gigantic billow, drew down the vainly struggling horse beneath the waters, and then, swelling higher and higher, swept over the heads of the floating pair, like some liquid tower, threatening to bury them irrecoverably.

Just then the soft voice of Undine sounded through the uproar, the moon emerged from the clouds, and by its light Undine wa