« PreviousContinue »
nate observation. Such a scrutiny operates like the violation of the dearest confidence -like the exposure of the secrets of the heart. For these reasons I have always considered that music is seldom intensely felt, except amongst a society whose mutual relations embrace the affectionate as well as the ceremonious intercourses of life. It will necessarily follow, that in proportion to the warmth and delicacy of the natural sensibility and to the high cultivation of the art, will be the pleasures thus derived from its exercise. It is also in this view, that music becomes the most delightful solace of domestic hours-and if to these general remarks I add, that a slight accession of new stimulus, both in the selection of musical subjects and in the occasional addition of new auditors, greatly tends to exalt and keep alive the pleasure of the pursuit, I shall say nearly all that my experience prompts, in regard to the creation and the communication of the sober yet intense gratification of private musical society. The matter for the nicest adjustment is in the judicious application of these stimuli, so as to hit the medium between langour and exhaustion, for talent is but too liable to be affected by the danger incident to both these causes of disorder and decline. To preserve a constant progression, equal to the common desire, is the capital difficulty. Sameness wearies, excess satiates the appetite.-(P. 106-109.)
it necessarily happens, that whenever a female has no prevailing object or rather objects of steady pursuit, the hours cannot pass otherwise than heavily. A very short time will suffice to fulfil the essential duties of the task commonly allotted to young females, in a sphere of life any thing above that condition where the employment of their time gains their livelihood. They cannot get on without variety of intellectual objects; reading and work will both fatigue and wear out. Manners are changed. Formerly, woman was rather the slave or the mistress, than the companion of man. Tent-stitch and tapestry were preventive contrivances to stifle the fancy and to murder time. But now pleasures are chiefly domestic, they are enjoyed much by participation; and it is the duty of the wife and the mother to frame such a round of amusement as shall keep as well as win the husband, and mould him to that home which is not only to preserve affection and to attract a circle of friends, but which is also to model a society fitted to form their offspring for virtuous and amiable citizens, good sons and daughters, good husbands and wives, and, in their turn, good fathers and mothers. To the formation of such a home, as society is now constituted, much various knowledge and various accomplishment are necessary in the female. It is the imagination that keeps the heart warm," writes one who well knew mankind. I will not say that In the succeeding letter he contrasts the ITALIAN and ENGLISH music is so important as to be indispensable to such a plan; but I will go so far as to MANNER with much skill, and his avow, that I think music, justly pursued, observations on TONE are the best is likely to assist most materially in fixing we have seen. The remaining letters, the attention, refining the taste, varying from which we cannot afford to make the powers, and warming the sensibility of extracts, will, like the preceding females. If, as has been affirmed with an papers, both interest and instruct approach to truth, none can sing with really the reader. The remarks on ORNA- fine expression till they have felt the pasMENT should be read by every singer sion of love, it may be inferred, that there -either public or private. Of the is a subtilizing, a refining power, inherent in music, which cannot fail to be ultimatePrefatory Essay we have said nothing, nor do we intend to speak-in the support of domestic happiness. I ly connected with the affections concerned but the subjoined extract will, we firmly believe that it is so. I firmly behave a notion, say a great deal. lieve that music purifies and elevates and endears wherever it is cultivated, not for the superiority which is the prize of public exhibition, but as the alternative amusement and solace of private life; and it will never fail to repay those who seek its satisfactions, with a pleasure that will be permanent, because it must be always progressive.--(P. 7—9.)
The most valuable end of education is that dependence upon ourselves, and that independence of others, which a power to Occupy time worthily and happily bestows. This chiefest attribute belongs not to music only, but ought to be the first consideration in every part of a well-regulated plan for the formation of youthful habits. Occupation of this sort is more, far more necessary to females than to men. Business, either public or private, employs the hours of the latter. But in proportion as the time of the former is disengaged, are they likely to fall victims to frivolity or ennui, or to a still worse fate. It is not that the female mind is more prone to idleness or weakness than that of their lordlier companion--but
We feel with Mr. Bacon, that "singing has hitherto been treated too much like an art and too little as a science," and thank him for having corrected the error and advocated the claims of the jewel-crowned Goddess with so much talent and suc
SCHILLER'S LIFE AND WRITINGS,
(PART III continued.)
FROM HIS SETTLEMENT AT JENA TO HIS DEATH (1790-1805).
AMONG a number of fluctuating engagements, one, which for ten years had been constant with him, was the editing of the Thalia. The principles and performances of that work he had long looked upon as insufficient: in particular, ever since his settlement at Jena, it had been among his favourite projects to exchange it for some other conducted on a more liberal scheme, uniting more ability in its support, and embracing a much wider compass of literary interests. Many of the most distinguished persons in Germany had agreed to assist him in executing such a plan; Goethe, himself a host, undertook to go hand in hand with him. The Thalia was in consequence relinquished, at the end of 1793; and the first number of the Horen came out early in the following year. This publication was enriched with many valuable pieces on points of philosophy and criticism; some of Schiller's finest essays first appeared here: even without the foreign aids which had been promised him, it already bade fair to outdo, as he had meant it should, every previous work of that description. The Musen-almanach, of which he likewise undertook the superintendence, did not aim so high: like other works of the same title, which are numerous in Germany, it was intended for preserving and annually delivering to the world a series of short poetical effusions, or other fugitive compositions, collected from various quarters, and often having no connexion but their juxta-position. In this work, as well as in the Horen, some of Schiller's finest smaller poems made their first appearance; many of these pieces being written about this period, especially the greater part of his ballads, the idea of attempting which took its rise in a friendly rivalry with Goethe. But the most noted composition sent forth in the pages of the Musen-almanach, was the Xenien; * a collection of epigrams
which originated partly, as it seems, in the mean or irritating conduct of various cotemporary authors. In spite of the most flattering promises, and of its own intrinsic character, the Horen, at its first appearance, instead of being hailed with welcome by the leading minds of the country, for whom it was intended as a rallying point, met in many quarters with no sentiment but coldness or hostility. The controversies of the day had sown discord among literary men; Schiller and Goethe, associating together, had provoked ill-will from a host of persons, who felt the justice of such mutual preference, but liked not the inferences to be drawn from it; and eyed this intellectual duumvirate, however meek in the discharge of its functions, and the wearing of its honours, with jealousy and discontent. The cavilling of these persons, awkwardly contrasted with their individual absurdity and insipidity, at length provoked the serious notice of the two illustrious associates: the result was this German Dunciad; a production of which the plan was, that it should comprise an immense multitude of detached couplets, each conveying a complete thought within itself, and furnished by one of the joint operators. The subjects were of unlimited variety; "the most," as Schiller says, "wild satire, glancing at writers and writings, intermixed with here and there a flash of poetical or philosophic thought." It was at first intended to provide about a thousand of these pointed monodistichs; unity in such a work appearing to consist in a certain boundlessness of size, which should hide the heterogeneous nature of the individual parts: the whole were then to be arranged and elaborated, till they had acquired the proper degree of consistency and symmetry; each sacrificing something of its own peculiar spirit to preserve the spirit of the rest. This
* So called, we presume, from evor, munus hospitale. AUG. 1824. L
number never was completed: and, Goethe being now busy with his Wil helm Meister, the project of completing it was at length renounced; and the Xenias were published as unconnected particles, not pretending to constitute a whole. Enough appeared to create unbounded commotion among the parties implicated: the Xenias were exclaimed against, abused and replied to on all hands: but as they had declared war not on persons but on actions; not against Gleim, Nicolai, Munso, but against bad taste, dulness, and affectation, nothing criminal could be sufficiently made out against them. The Musenalmanach, where they appeared in 1797, continued to be published till the time of Schiller's leaving Jena: the Horen ceased some months before.
The co-operation of Goethe, which Schiller had obtained so readily in these pursuits, was of singular use to him in many others. Both possessing minds of the first order, yet constructed and trained in the most opposite modes, each had much that was valuable to learn of the other, and suggest to him. Cultivating different kinds of excellence, they could joyfully admit each other's merit; connected by mutual services, and now by community of literary interests, few unkindly feelings could have place between them. For a man of high qualities, it is rare to find a meet companion; painful and injurious to want one. Solitude exasperates or deadens the heart; perverts or enervates the faculties: association with inferiors leads to dogmatism in thought, and self-will even in affections. Rousseau never should have lived in the Val de Montmorenci; it had been good for Warburton that Hurd had not existed; for Johnson never to have known Boswell or Davies. From such evils Schiller and Goethe were delivered: their intimacy seems to have been equal, frank, and cordial; from the contrasts and the endowments of their minds, it must have had peculiar charms. In his critical theories, Schiller had derived much profit from communicating with an intellect as excursive as his own, but far cooler and more sceptical: as he lopped off from his creed the excrescences of Kantism, Goethe and he, on comparing their ideas, often found in
them a striking similarity; more striking and more gratifying, when it was considered from what diverse premises these harmonious conclusions had been drawn. On such subjects they often corresponded when absent, and conversed when together. They were in the habit of paying long visits to each other's houses; frequently they used to travel in company between Jena and Weimar. "At Triesnitz, half a mile from Jena, Goethe and he," we are told, "might sometimes be observed sitting at table, beneath the shade of a spreading tree; talking and looking at the current of passengers."-There are some who would have "travelled fifty miles on foot" for the pleasure of joining the party.
Besides this intercourse with Goethe, he was happy in a kindly connexion with many other estimable men, both in literary and in active life. Dalberg, at a distance, was to the last his friend and warmest admirer. At Jena, he had Schütz, Paul, Hufland, Reinhold. Wilhelm von Humboldt, also, brother of the celebrated traveller, had come thither about this time, and was now among his closest associates. At Weimar, excluding less important persons, there were still Herder and Wieland to divide his attention with Goethe. And what to his affectionate heart must have been the most grateful circumstance of all, his aged parents were yet living to participate in the splendid fortune of the son whom they had once lamented and despaired of, but never ceased to love. In 1793, he paid them a visit in Swabia, and passed nine cheerful months among the scenes dearest to his recollection; enjoying the kindness of those unalterable friends whom nature had given him; and the admiring deference of those by whom it was most delightful to be honoured-those who had known him in adverse and humbler circumstances, whether they might have respected or contemned him. By the Grand Duke, his ancient censor and patron, he was not interfered with; that Prince, in answer to a previous application on the subject, having indirectly engaged to take no notice of this journey. The Grand Duke had already interfered too much with him, and bitterly repented of his in
terference. Next year he died; an event which Schiller, who had long forgotten past ill-treatment, did not learn without true sorrow, and grateful recollections of by-gone kindness. The new sovereign, anxious to repair the injustice of his predecessor, almost instantly made offer of a vacant Tübingen professorship to Schiller a proposal flattering to the latter, but which, by the persuasion of the Duke of Weimar, he respectfully declined.
Amid labours and amusements so multiplied, amid such variety of intellectual exertion and of intercourse with men, Schiller, it was clear, had not suffered the encroachments of bodily disease to undermine the vigour of his mental or moral powers. No period of his life displayed in stronger colours the lofty and determined zeal of his character. He had already written much; his fame stood upon a firm basis; domestic wants no longer called upon him for incessant effort; and his frame was pining under the slow canker of an incurable malady. Yet he never loitered, never rested; his fervid spirit, which had vanquished opposition and oppression in his youth; which had struggled against harassing uncertainties, and passed unsullied through many temptations, in his earlier manhood, did not now yield to this last and most fatal enemy. The present was the busiest, most productive season of his literary life; and with all its drawbacks, it was probably the happiest. Violent attacks from his disorder were of rare occurrence; and its constant influence, the dark vapours with which it would have overshadowed the faculties of his head and
heart, were repelled by diligence and a courageous exertion of his will. In other points, he had little to complain of, and much to rejoice in. He was happy in his family, the chosen scene of his sweetest, most lasting satisfaction; by the world he was honoured and admired; his wants were provided for; he had tasks which inspired and occupied him; friends who loved him, and whom he loved. Schiller had much to enjoy, and most of it he owed to himself.
In his mode of life at Jena, simplicity and uniformity were the most con
spicuous qualities, the single excess which he admitted being that of zeal in the pursuits of literature - the sin which all his life had most easily beset him. His health had suffered much, and principally, it was thought, from the practice of composing by night: yet the charms of this practice were still too great for his selfdenial; and, except in severe fits of sickness, he could not discontinue it. The highest, proudest pleasure of his mind was, that glow of intellectual production, that "fine frenzy," which makes the poet, while it lasts, a new and nobler creature; exalting him into brighter regions, adorned by visions of glorious beauty, and delighting all his faculties by the intense consciousness of their exerted power. To enjoy this pleasure in perfection, the solitary stillness of night diffusing its solemn influence over thought as well as earth and air, had at length in Schiller's case grown indispensable. For this purpose, accordingly, he was accustomed, in the present, as in former periods, to invert the common order of things: by day he read, refreshed himself with the aspect of nature, conversed or corresponded with his friends; but he wrote and studied in the night. And as his bodily feelings were too often those of languor and exhaustion, he adopted, in impatience of such mean impediments, the pernicious expedient of stimulants, which yield a momentary strength, only to waste our remaining fund of it more speedily and surely.
in a garden, which at length he purchased During summer, his place of study was in the suburbs of Jena, not far from the Weselhofts' house, where at that time was
the office of the Allgemeine Litteraturzeitung. Reckoning from the market-place of Jena, it lies on the south-west border of the town, between the Engelgatter and the Neuthor, in a hollow defile, through which a part of the Leutrabach flows round the city. On the top of the acclivity, from which there is a beautiful prospect into the valley of the Saal, and the fir mountains himself a small house with a single chamof the neighbouring forest, Schiller built ber. * It was his favourite abode during hours of composition; a great part of the
works he then wrote were written here. In winter he likewise dwelt apart from the noise of men; in the Griesbachs' house,
The street leading from Schiller's dwelling-house to this was by some wags named the Xenien-gasse; a name not yet entirely extinct.
on the outside of the city-trench. ❤ On sitting down to his desk at nights, he was wont to keep some strong coffee, or wine-chocolate, but more frequently a flask of old Rhenish, or Champaign, standing by him, that he might from time to time repair the exhaustion of nature. Often the neighbours used to hear him earnestly declaiming, in the silence of the night: and whoever had an opportunity of watching him on such occasions,-a thing very easy to be done from the heights lying opposite his little garden-house, on the other side of the dell,-might see him now speaking aloud and walking swiftly to and fro in his chamber, then suddenly throwing himself down into his chair and writing; and drinking the while, at times more than once, from the glass standing near him. In winter, he was to be found at his desk till four, or even five o'clock in the morning; in summer, till towards three. He then went to bed, out of which he seldom
rose till nine or ten.*
Had prudence been the dominant quality in Schiller's character, this practice would undoubtedly have been abandoned, or rather, never taken up. It was an error so to waste his strength; but one of those which increase rather than diminish our respect: originating, as it did, in generous ardour for what was best and grandest, they must be cold censurers that can condemn it harshly. For ourselves, we but lament and honour this excess of zeal; its effects were mournful, but its origin was noble. The lovers of the picturesque will not learn without regret, that the small garden-house, which was the scene of it, yielding to the hand of time, crumbled into ruin some years ago, and is not now at all to be traced. This piece of ground is hallowed with a glory that is bright, pure, and abiding; but the literary pilgrim could not have surveyed without peculiar emotion the simple chamber in which Schiller wrote the Reich der Schatten, the Spaziergang, the Ideal, and the immortal scenes of Wallenstein.
The last-named work had cost him many an anxious, given him many a pleasant, hour. For seven years it had continued in a state of irregular, and oft suspended progress; sometimes" lying endless and formless before him; sometimes on the point
of being given up entirely. The multitude of ideas which he wished to incorporate in the structure of the piece retarded him, and the difficulty of contenting his taste respecting the manner of effecting this retarded him still more. In Wallenstein, he wished to embody the more enlarged notions which experience had given him of men, especially which history had given him of generals and statesmen ; and while putting such characters in action, to represent whatever was, or could be made, poetical, in the stormy period of the Thirty Years' War. As he meditated on the subject, it continued to expand; in his fancy, it assumed successively a thousand forms; and after all due strictness of selection, such was still the extent of materials remaining on his hands, that he found it necessary to divide the play into three parts, distinct in their arrangement, but in truth forming a continuous drama of eleven acts. In this shape it was sent forth to the world, in 1799; a work of labour and persevering anxiety; but of anxiety and labour, as it then appeared, which had not been bestowed in vain. Wallenstein is by far the best performance he had yet produced; it merits a long chapter of criticism by itself; and we have only a few sentences which we can spend on it.
As a porch to the great edifice, stands part first, entitled Wallenstein's Camp, a piece in one act. It paints with much humour and graphical felicity the manners of that rude tumultuous host which Wallenstein presided over, and had made the engine of his ambitious schemes. Schiller's early experience of a military life seems now to have stood him in good stead: his soldiers are delineated with the distinctness of actual observation; in rugged sharpness of feature, they sometimes remind us of Smollett's seamen. Here are all the wild lawless spirits of Europe, assembled within the circuit of a single trench: violent, tempestuous, unstable is the life they lead. Ishmaelites, their hands against every man, and every man's hand against them; the instruments of rapine; tarnished with almost
Doering. S. 118–131.