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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 489 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05.
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

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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.

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