Chopin’s first love.—Friendship with
in Warsaw after returning from Vienna.—Visit to prince Radziwill
at Antonin (October, 1829).—New compositions.—Gives two
In the preceding chapter I alluded to a new element that entered into the life of Chopin and influenced his artistic work. The following words, addressed by the young composer on October 3, 1829, to his friend Titus Woyciechowski, will explain what kind of element it was and when it began to make itself felt:—
Do not imagine that [when I speak of the advantages and desirability of a stay in Vienua] I am thinking of Miss Blahetka, of whom I have written to you; I have—perhaps to my misfortune—already found my ideal, which I worship faithfully and sincerely. Six months have elapsed, and I have not yet exchanged a syllable with her of whom I dream every night. Whilst my thoughts were with her I composed the Adagio of my Concerto, and early this morning she inspired the Waltz which I send along with this letter.
The influence of the tender passion on the development of heart and mind cannot be rated too highly; it is in nine out of ten, if not in ninety-nine out of a hundred cases that which transforms the rhymer into a poet, the artificer into an artist. Chopin confesses his indebtedness to Constantia, Schumann his to Clara. But who could recount all the happy and hapless loves that have made poets? Countless is the number of those recorded in histories, biographies, and anecdotes; greater still the number of those buried in literature and art, the graves whence they rise again as flowers, matchless in beauty, unfading, and of sweetest perfume. Love is indeed the sun that by its warmth unfolds the multitudinous possibilities that lie hidden, often unsuspected, in the depths of the human soul. It was, then, according to Chopin, about April, 1829, that the mighty power began to stir within him; and the correspondence of the following two years shows us most strikingly how it takes hold of him with an ever-increasing firmness of grasp, and shakes the whole fabric of his delicate organisation with fearful violence. The object of Chopin’s passion, the being whom he worshipped and in whom he saw the realisation of his ideal of womanhood, was Constantia Gladkowska, a pupil at the Warsaw Conservatorium, of whom the reader will learn more in the course of this and the next chapter.