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harassed, chagrined, debased or mad- their conduct than their writings. dened; the victim at once of tra- Such men are the flower of this lower gedy and farce; the last forlorn out-' world : to such alove can the epithet post in the war of mind against of great be applied with its true emmatter. Many are the noble souls phasis. There is a congruity in their that have perished bitterly, with proceedings which one loves to contheir tasks unfinished, under these template : “ he who would write hecorroding woes: some in utter fa- roic poems, should make his whole mine, like Otway; some in dark in- life a heroic poem.” sanity, like Cowper and Collins ; So thought our Milton, and, what some like Chatterton have sought out was more difficult, he acted so. To a more stern quietus, and turning Milton, the moral king of authors, an their indignant steps away from a heroic multitude out of many ages world which refused them welcome, and countries might be joined; a have taken refuge in that strong for- “ cloud of witnesses,” that encome tress, where poverty and cold neglect, pass the true literary man throughand the thousand natural shocks out his pilgrimage, inspiring him to which flesh is heir to could not reach lofty emulation, cheering his solitary them any more.

thoughts with hope, teaching him to • Yet among these men are to be struggle, to endure-to conquer diffifound the brightest specimens and the culties, or, in failure and heavy sufferchief benefactors of mankind ! It is ings, to “arm th' obdured breast with they that keep awake the finer parts stubborn patience as with triple of our souls; that give us better steel.” To this angust series, in his aims than power or pleasure, and own degree, the name of Schiller withstand the total sovereignty of may be added. Mammon in this earth. They are Schiller lived in more peaceful the vanguard in the march of mind; times than Milton ; his history is less the intellectual Backwoodsmen, re- distinguished by obstacles surmountclaiming from the idle wilderness ed, or sacrifices made to principle: new territories for the thought and yet he had his share of trials to enthe activity of their happier brethren. counter; and the admirers of his Pity that from all their conquests, so works need not feel ashamed of the rich in benefit to others, themselves way in which he bore it. One virtue, should reap so little! But it is vain the parent of many others, and the to murmur. They are volunteers in most essential of any, in his circumthis cause; they weighed the charms stances, he possessed in a supreme of it against the perils; and they degree; he was devoted with entire · must abide the results of their deci- and unchanging ardour to the cause

sion, as all must. The hardships of be had embarked in. The extent the course they follow are formidable, of his natural endowments might but not all inevitable; and to such have served, with a less eager chaas pursue it rightly, it is not without racter, as an excuse for long peits great rewards. If an author's life riods of indolence, broken only by is more agitated and more painful fits of casual exertion : with him it than that of others, it may also be was but a new incitement to improve made more spirit-stirring and ex- and develope them. The ideal man alted: fortune may render him un- that lay within him, the image of happy; it is only himself that can himself as he should be, was formed make him despicable. The history upon a strict and curious standard ; of genius has, in fact, its bright side and to reach this constantly apas well as its dark. And if it is dis- proached and constantly receding tressing to survey the misery, and emblem of perfection, was the unwhat is worse, the debasement of so wearied effort of his life. This many gifted men, it is doubly cheer- crowning principle of conduct, never ing on the other hand to reflect on the ceasing to inspire his energetic mind, few, who, amid the temptations and introduced a consistency into his acsorrows to which life in all its pro- tions, a firm coherence into his chavinces and most in theirs is liable, racter, which the changeful condition have travelled through it in calm and of his history rendered of peculiar virtuous majesty, and are now hal- importance. His resources, his place lowed in our memories, not less for of residence, his associates, his

worldly prospects, might vary as they merely as a mental recreation, a
pleased; this purpose did not vary; elegant and pleasant mode of filling
it was ever present with him to nerve up the vacancy of tedious evenings :
every better faculty of his head and in Germany, it has the advantage of
heart, to invest the checquered vicis being comparatively new; and its
situdes of his fortune with a dignity exhibitions are directed to a class of
derived from himself. The zeal of minds attuned to a far higher pitch
his nature overcame the temptations of feeling. The Germans are ac-
to that loitering and indecision, that cused of a proneness to amplify and
fluctuation between sloth and con- systematize, to admire with excess,
suming toil, that infirmity of reso- and to find in whatever calls forth
lụtion, with all its tormenting and their applause an epitome of a thou-
enfeebling consequences, to which a sand excellences, which no une else
literary man, working as he does at can discover in it. Their discussions
a solitary task, uncalled for by any on the theatre do certainly give. co-
pressing tangible demand, and to be lour to this charge. Nothing, at
recompensed by distant and dubious least to an English reader, can ap-
advantage, is especially exposed. pear more disproportionate than the
Unity of aim, aided by ordinary vi- influence they impute to the stage,
gour of character, will generally en- and the quantity of anxious inves:
sure perseverance; a quality not tigation they devote to its concerns.
ranked among the cardinal yirtues, With us, the question about the
but as essential as any of them to moral tendency of theatrical amuse-
the proper conduct of life. Nine- ments is now very generally con-
tenths of the miseries and vices of signed to the meditation of debating
mankind proceed from idleness : with clubs, and speculative societies of
men of quick minds, to whom it is young men under age: with our
especially pernicious, this habit is neighbours it is a weighty subject of
commonly the fruit of many disap- inquiry for minds of almost the high,
pointments and schemes oft baffled ; est order. With us, the stage is con-
and men fail in their schemes, not so sidered as a harmless pastime, whole-
much from the want of strength as some because it occupies the man by
from the ill direction of it. The occupying his mental not his sensual
weakest living creature, by concen- faculties; one of the many depart-
trating his powers on a single ob- ments of fictitious representation;
ject, can accomplish something ; the perhaps the most exciting, but also
strongest, by dispersing his over the most transitory; sometimes hurt-
many, may fail to accomplish any ful, generally beneficial, just as the
thing. The drop, by continual falling, rest are; entitled to no peculiar re-
bores its passage through the hardest gard, and far inferior in its effect to
rock; the hasty torrent rushes over many others which have no special
it with hideous uproar, and leaves no apparatus for their application. The
trace behind. Few men have ap- Germans, on the contrary, talk of it
plied more steadfastly to the business as of some new organ for refining
of their life, or been more resolutely the hearts and minds of men; a sort
diligent than Schiller.

of lay pulpit, the worthy ally of the The profession of theatrical poet sacred one, and perhaps even better was, in his present circumstances, fitted to exalt some of our nobler particularly favourable to the main- feelings; because its objects are tenance of this wholesome state of much more varied, and because it mind. In the fulfilment of its du- speaks to us through many avenues, ties, while he gratified his own dear- addressing the eye by its pomp and est predilections, he was likewise decorations, the ear by its harmonies, warmly seconded by the prevailing and the heart and the imagination by taste of the public. The interest ex- its poetical embellishments, and hecited by the stage, and the import- roic acts and sentiments. Influences ance attached to every thing con- still more mysterious are hinted at, nected with it, are greater in Ger- if not directly announced. An idea many than in any other part of seems to lurk obscurely at the botEurope, not excepting France, or tom of certain of their abstruse and even Paris. Nor, as in Paris, is the elaborate speculations, as if the stage stage in German towns considered were destined to replace some of


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those sublime illusions, which the of minor undertakings sufficiently
progress of reason is fast driving evinced his diligence; and Don Car-
from the earth; as if its pageantry, los, which he had now seriously com-
and allegories, and figurative sha- menced, was occupying all his poe-
dowing forth of things, might supply tical faculties.
men's nature with much of that Another matter he had much at
quickening nourishment which we heart was the setting forth of a pe-
once derived from the superstitions riodical work, devoted to the con-
and mythologies of darker ages. cerns of the stage. In this enter-
Viewing the matter in this light, they prise, Schiller had expected the pa-
proceed in the management of it tronage and co-operation of the Ger-
with all due earnéstness. Hence man society, of which he was
their minute and painful investiga- member. It did not strike him that
tions of the origin of dramatic emo- any other motive than a genuine love
tion, of its various kinds and de- of art, and a zeal for its advance-
grees; their subdivisions of roman- ment, could have induced men to join
tic and heroic and romantico-heroic, such a body. But the zeal of the
and the other endless jargon that ens German society was more according
cumbers their critical writings. The to knowledge than that of their new
zeal of the people corresponds with associate: they listened with ap-
that of their instructors. The want proving ear to his vivid representa-
of more important public interests tions, and wide-spreading projects,
naturally contributes still farther to but declined taking any part in the
the prominence of this, the discus- execution of them. Dalberg alone
sion of which is not forbidden, or seemed willing to support him. Mor-
sure to be without effect. Literature tified, but not disheartened by their
attracts nearly all the powerful coldness, Schiller reckoned up his
thought that circulates in Germany; means of succeeding without them,
and the theatre is the great nucleus The plan of his work was contracted
of German literature.

within narrower limits; he deterIt was to be expected that Schiller mined to commence it on his own rewould participate in a feeling so uni

After much delay, the first versal, and so accordant with his number of the Rheinische Thalia, enown wishes and prospects. The thea- riched by three acts of Don Carlos, tre of Manheim was, at that period, appeared in 1785. It was continued, one of the best in Germany; he felt with one short interruption, till 1794. proud of the share which he had in The main purpose of the work being conducting it, and exerted himself the furtherance of dramatic art, and with his usual alacrity in promoting the extension and improvement of its various objects. Connected with the public taste for such entertainthe duties of his office, was the more ments, its chief contents are easy to personal duty of improving his own be guessed at; theatrical criticisms, faculties, and extending his know- essays on the nature of the stage, ledge of the art which he had engaged its history in various countries, its to cultivate. He read much, and stu- moral and intellectual effects, and died more. The perusal of Corneille, the best methods of producing them. Racine, Voltaire, and the other A part of the publication was open to French classics, could not be with- poetry and miscellaneous discussion. out advantage to one whose exu- Meditating so many subjects so berance of power, and defect of taste, assiduously, Schiller knew not what were the only faults he had ever been it was to be unemployed. Yet the reproached with; and the sounder task of composing dramatic varieties, ideas thus acquired, he was of training players, and deliberating stantly busy in exemplifying by at- in the theatrical senate, or even of tempts of his own. His projected expressing philosophically his opi- . translations from Shakspeare, and the nions on these points, could not French, were postponed for the pre- wholly occupy such a mind as his. sent; indeed, except in the instance There were times when, notwithof Macbeth, they were never finish- standing his own prior habits, and ed: his Conradin von Schwaben, and all the vaunting of dramaturgists, he a second part of the Robbers, were felt that their scenic glories were but likewise abandoned: but a number an empty show, a lying refuge, where



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there was no abiding rest for the but the shuddering voice of nature soul. His eager spirit turned away that asks: “ If our happiness defrom their paltry world of paste- pends on the harmonious play of the board, to dwell among the deep and sensorium; if our conviction may serious interests of the living world waver with the heating of the pulse ?' of men. The Thalia, besides its dra- What Schiller's ultimate opinions on matic speculations and performances, these points were we are nowhere contains several of his poems, which informed. That his heart was orindicate that his attention, though thodox,—that the whole universe was officially directed elsewhere, was a- for him a temple, in which he offered live to all the common concerns of up the continual sacrifice of devout humanity; that he looked on life not adoration,-his works and life bear more as a writer than as a man. The noble testimony; yet, here and there, Laura, whom he celebrates, was not his fairest visions seem as if suda vision of the mind; but a living denly sicklied over with a pale cast fair one, whom he saw daily, and of doubt; a withering shadow seems loved in the secrecy of his heart to flit across his soul, and chill it in His Gruppe aus dem Tartarus (Group its loftiest moods. The dark confrom Tartarus), his Kindesmörderinn dition of the man who longs to be(Infanticide), are products of a mind lieve and longs in vain, he can reprebrooding over dark and mysterious sent with a verisimilitude and touchthings. While improving in the art ing beauty, which shows it to have of poetry, in the capability of uttere been familiar to himself. Apart from ing his thoughts in the form best their ingenuity, there is a certain adapted to express them, he was severe pathos in some of these paslikewise improving in the more va- sages, which affects us with a peculuable art of thought itself; and ap- liar emotion. The hero of another plying it not only to the business of work is made to express himself in the imagination, but also to those these terms :profound and solemn inquiries, which every reasonable mortal is called to What went before and what will fol,

low me, I regard as two black impene, In particular, the Philosophische trable curtains, which hang down at the Briefe, written about this period, ex

two extremities of human life, and which hibits Schiller in a new and to us

no living man has yet drawn aside. Many more interesting point of view. Ju- before them with their torches, guessing

hundreds of generations have already stood lius and Raphael are the emblems of anxiously what lies behind. On the curhis own fears and his own hopes; tain of Futurity, many see their own sha. their Philosophic Letters unfold to us dows, the forms of their passions enlarged many a gloomy conflict that had and put in motion : they shrink in terror at passed in the secret chambers of their this image of themselves. Poets, philosoauthor's soul. Sceptical doubts on phers, and founders of states, have painted the most important of all subjects

this curtain with their dreams --more were natural to such an understand- smiling or more dark, as the sky above ing as Schiller's; but his heart

them was cheerful or gloomy; and their not of a temper to rest satisfied with pictures deceive when viewed from a distdoubts; or to draw a sorry compen- this our universal curiosity ; by their

ance. Many jugglers too make profit of sation for them from the pride of su

strange mummeries, they have set the outperior acuteness, or the vulgar plea- stretched fancy in astonishment. A deep sure of producing an effect on others silence reigns behind this curtain ; no one by assailing their dearest and holiest once within it will answer those he has left persuasions. With him, the ques- without ; all you can hear is a hollow echo tion about the essence of our being of your question, as if you shouted into a was not a subject for shallow specu- chasm. To the other side of this curtain lation, charitably named scientific ;

we are all bound : men grasp hold of it as still less for vain jangling and pole- stand within it to receive thein, quid sit id,

they pass, trembling, uncertain who may mical victories: it was a fearful mys- quod tantum morituri vident. Some untery, which it concerned all the believing people there have been who have deepest sympathies and most sub- maintained that this curtain but made a lime anticipations of his mind to have mockery of men, and that nothing could explained." It is no idle curiosity, be seen because nothing was behind it :

engage with.


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but to convince these people, the rest have inquiry when its difficulties and its
seized them and pushed them hastily in. value are becoming greatest, and

The Philosophic Letters paint the breaks off abruptly without arriving
struggles of an ardent, enthusiastic, at any conclusion. Schiller has sur-
inquisitive spirit to deliver itself from veyed the dark “ Serbonian bog” of
the harassing uncertainties, to pene- infidelity; but he has made no cause-
trate the dread obscurity, which over way through it: the Philosophic Let-
hangs the lot of man. The first ters are a fragment.
faint scruples of the doubter are set- Amid employments so varied, with
tled by the maxim: “ Believe no- health, and freedom from the coarser
thing but thy own reason; there is hardships of life, Schiller's feelings
nothing holier than truth." But might be earnest, but could scarcely
Reason, employed in such an inquiry, be unhappy. His mild and amiable
can do but half the work: she is like manners, united to such goodness of
the conjuror that has pronounced the heart, and such height of accom-
spell of invocation, but has forgot plishment, endeared him to all classes
the counter word ; spectres and sha- of society in Manheim ; Dalberg was
dowy forms come crowding at his still his warm friend ; Schwann and
summons; in endless multitudes they Laura he conversed with daily. His
press and hover round his magic genius was fast enlarging its empire,
circle, and the terror-struck black- and fast acquiring more complete
artist cannot lay them. Julius finds command of it; he was loved and
that on rejecting the primary dictates admired, rich in the enjoyment of
of feeling, the system of dogmatical present activity and fame, and richer
belief, he is driven to the system of in the hope of what was coming,
materialism. Recoiling in horror Yet in proportion as his faculties and
from this dead and cheerless creed, his prospects expanded, he began to
he toils and wanders in the laby- view his actual situation with less
rinths of pantheism, seeking comfort and less contentment. For a season
and rest, but finding none; till baf- after his arrival, it was natural that
fled and tired, and sick at heart, he Manheim should appear to him as
seems inclined, as far as

land does to the shipwrecked majudge, to renounce the dreary pro- riner,-full of gladness and beauty, blem altogether, to shut the eyes of merely because it is land. It was his too keen understanding, and take equally natural that, after a time, refuge under the shade of Revela- this sentiment should abate and pass tion. The anxieties and errors of away; that his place of refuge should Julius are described in glowing appear but as other places-only terms; his intellectual subtleties are with its difficulties and discomforte mingled with the eloquence of in- aggravated by their nearness. His tense feeling. The answers of his revenue was inconsiderable here, and friend are in a similar style; intend- dependent upon accidents for its ed not more to convince than to per- continuance; a share in directing suade. The whole work is full of the concerns of a provincial theatre, passion as well as acuteness; the a task not without its irritations, was impress of a philosophic and poetic little adequate to satisfy the wishes mind striving with all its vast ener- of a mind like his. Schiller longed gies to make its poetry and its phi- for a wider sphere of action: the losophy agree.

Considered as ex- world was all before him ; he lahibiting the state of Schiller's mented that he should still be linger. thoughts at this period, it possesses ing on the mere outskirts of its a peculiar interest. In other respects, business; that he should waste so there is little in it to allure us. It is much time and effort in contending short and incomplete; there is little with the irascible vanity of players, originality in the opinions it ex- or watching the ebbs and flows of presses, and none in the form of its public taste; in resisting small grievcomposition. As an argument on ances, and realizing a small result. either side, it is too rhetorical to be He determined upon leaving Man, of much weight; it abandons the heim. If destitute of other holds,



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* Der Geisterseher, Schillers. Werke, B. iv. S. 350.

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