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GOETHE'S LIFE AND WORKS.
FROM MY LIFE.POETRY AND TRUTH.
All that has hitherto been related, which had continued uninterruptedly indicates that fortunate and easy state on Sundays for several years, were which is enjoyed by countries during disturbed. The discords common a long peace. But nowhere, probably, between brothers and sisters-in-law, does so fair a season yield more hap- now first found a form in which they piness than in towns which live un- could express themselves. There was der their own laws, which are large dispute, discord, silence, separation. enough to include a considerable body The grandfather, generally a cheerof citizens, and are well situated for ful, quiet, and easy man, was impaenriching these by traffic. Strangers tient. The women sought in vain to
. find their advantage in passing to and put out the fire; and, after some unfro, and are compelled to bring profit pleasant scenes, my father was first if they would gain it. And if such separated from the society. And now towns rule no extensive district, they at home we could rejoice unchecked can the better secure their internal in the Prussian victories, which were opulence, because they have no out- commonly proclaimed with great exward relations obliging them to costly ultation by that vehement aunt. undertakings and alliances.
Every other interest necessarily gave Thus the Frankforters enjoyed du- way to this, and we passed the rering my childhood a series of fortu- mainder of the year in constant agitanate years.
But scarcely had the tion. The occupation of Dresden, 28th of August 1756 completed my the moderation with which the King seventh year, when instantly that began his slow, indeed, but secure celebrated war broke out which was progress, the victory of Lowositz, to exert great influence on the next the capture of the Saxons, were so seven years of my life, as well as on many triumphs for our party. All the world at large. Frederick II., that could be alleged in favour of the King of Prussia, had broken into adversaries was denied or lessened ; Saxony with sixty thousand men; and and as the opposing members of the instead of a previous declaration of family did the same, they could not war, a manifesto followed, said to be meet each other in the street without written by himself, explaining the disputes arising, as in Romeo and causes which prompted and justified Juliet. him in so monstrous a step. The Thus I, too, was at that time a world, which found itself addressed Prussian, or rather a Fritzian, [Fritz not only as audience but as tribunal, for Frederick.] For what had we to split immediately into two parties, do with Prussia ? It was the great and our family was an image of the King himself who influenced all · great whole.
hearts. I rejoiced with my father at My grandfather, who, as a Frank- our victories, and very willingly fort magistrate, had supported the copied out the songs of conquest, and coronation-canopy over Francis I., almost more willingly the satirical and had received from the Empress songs against the adverse party, stua weighty golden chain with her like pid as the rhymes were. ness, was, with some of his sons-in- As eldest grandson and godchild, I law and daughters, on the Austrian had, since my childhood, dined every side. My father, named by Charles Sunday with my grandfather and VII. imperial counsellor, and cordial. grandmother. These were my plealy interested in the fate of this un- santest hours in the whole week. happy monarch, inclined with the But now I could no longer enjoy a smaller half of the family towards single mouthful; for I was compelled Prussia. Very soon our meetings, to listen to the most horrible defama.
tions of my hero. Here blew another ties was even then very disagreeable wind — here sounded another tone to the boy, nay, injurious, as it accus. than at home. My liking, even my tomed him to separate himself from respect for the old people, diminished. persons whom he loved and valued. To my parents I could say nothing of The deeds and events of war always this. I avoided it both from my own following each other, left no peace to feeling, and also because my mother either party. We found a vexatious had warned me. Thus I was thrown comfort in reanimating and sharpen. back upon myself ; and as in my ing afresh those imaginary evils and sixth year, after the earthquake of self-created quarrels ; and thus we Lisbon, the goodness of God had be continued to torment each other come, in some degree, doubtful to me, mutually, until some years afterwards 80 now, on account of Frederick II., the French occupied Frankfort, and I began to question the justice of the brought a real discomfort into our public. My heart was naturally dis. houses. posed to veneration, and a great shock Now, although most regarded these was requisite in order to unsettle my important events proceeding at a disfaith in any thing venerable. Un- tance only as a means of eager amusehappily good manners and seemly ment, yet there were others who well behaviour had been recommended to discerned the seriousness of the times, us, not for their own sake, but for and feared that, by the entrance of that of people about us. What France into the quarrel, a scene of people would say, was always the the war might also be opened in our language ; aud I thought they must neighbourhood. They kept us chil. therefore be good people, and would dren at home more than hitherto, and know how to value all and every tried in many ways to occupy and thing. But now I found the con- divert us. For this purpose they had trary. The greatest and most evident brought out again the puppet-show merits were defamed and disliked ; left us by our grandmother, and had the highest deeds, if not denied, yet so arranged it that the spectators sat at least defaced and lessened. And in my gable-room, while the acting this contemptuous injustice was done and directing persons, and the theatre to the one man who was obviously tself, as far as the proscenium, had superior to all his contemporaries, their place in the next room. By the and who daily showed and made good special permission which I obtained to his capacity. This, too, was the fault admit now one set of boys and now not at all of the vulgar, but of distine another, I at first gained many friends. guished men, which I could not but But the restlessness inherent in chil. reckon my grandfather and uncle to dren would not let them long continue be. That there could be such a patient spectators. They disturbed the thing as parties, and that even he representation, and we were obliged himself belonged to a party, the boy to seek a younger public, which could had no conception. He was the more still at the worst be kept in order by persuaded he was in the right, and maids and nurses. We had learned by might hold his opinion for the better heart the original chief play for which one; as he, and those of the same the puppet-show properly was armind, did justice to the beauty and ranged; and it was this which at first other good qualities of Maria The- we exclusively represented. But this resa; and even did not charge the soon tired us. We changed the dresses, Emperor Francis with his fondness the decorations, and ventured on diffor jewels and gold. They believed ferent pieces, which, in truth, were themselves not to blame for often call- too extensive for so small a stage. ing Count Daun a nightcap.
Now, although by these bold underBut when I now consider the mat- takings we confused, and at last de ter more closely, I find in this the stroyed, that which we might really germ of the disesteem, nay, disdain of have accomplished; yet this childish the public, which stuck to me for a amusement and occupation exercised long period of my life, and was only and advanced in many ways my power late, and by insight and culture, re- of invention and presentation, my duced within due bounds. In fine, fancy, and a certain technical skill, to the experience of the injustice of par. a degree, which, perhaps, could not
have been secured by any other means with many tears, and held together
I could give great pleasure to him I had early learned to handle com- and my other friends by relating to passes and ruler, 'as I immediately them stories. They were particularly turned to practice all the instruction glad when I spoke in my own person, which was given us in geometry; and and rejoiced much that such wondrous as I particularly liked to employ things could have happened to their myself in pasteboard work. But I companion; with no little surprise did not stop at geometrical bodies, that I could find time and space for little boxes, and the like, but devised such adventures, as they knew pretty for myself pretty pleasure houses, well how I employed myself, and adorned with pilasters, outer steps, where I usually was. Nevertheless, and flat roofs; of all which, however, localities were requisite for such events, but little ever came to pass.
if not from another world, yet assureda I was much more persevering in ly from another region ; and yet all setting up, with the help of our ser- had happened only to-day or yestervant, by profession a tailor, an ar- day. It was therefore more that they moury for the service of the dramas deceived themselves than that I took and tragedies which, after we had out advantage of them. And if I had not grown the puppets, we ourselves took gradually learned, suitably to my charpleasure in performing. My playfel- acter, to work these air-shapes and lows, indeed, also prepared for them wind-bags into artistic presentations, selves similar armouries, which they such swaggering beginnings would held for as fine and good as mine. certainly not have remained without But I had provided not merely for the an evil conclusion. wants of a single person, but could If this tendency is accurately confurnish several of the little host with sidered, there will be discerned in it every kind of requisite, and so made that claim to authority with which the myself more and more necessary to poet utters even what is most improour little circle. That such games bable, and requires every one to pointed towards factions, wars, and acknowledge as real, that which has blows, and issued in frightful catas- seemed in any way true to him, the trophes of quarrel and chagrin; may inventor of it. well be conceived. In such cases, But that which has here been told certain comrades usually sided with only in general terms, and as matter me, others opposed us, though often, of reflection, will perhaps become more also, there were many changes in the agreeable and apparent by an example parties. One single boy, whom I and model. I therefore subjoin such a shall call Pylades, left only once my tale, which, as I had often to repeat party at the instigation of the others; it to my companions, still floats entire but could hardly hold out for a minute before my imagination and in my in confronting me.
We made it up memory.
THE NEW PARIS : A BOY'S LEGEND.
Lately, in the night before Easter finish dressing myself, because I al. Sunday, I dreamt that I stood before ways mistook the different articles, à mirror, and busied myself with the and the first always fell off my body new summer clothes which my dear when I was about to put on the next. parents had given me for the festival. In this great perplexity, a young and The dress consisted, as you know, in handsome man approached, and adshoes of smooth leather, with large dressed me in the friendliest manner. silver buckles, fine cotton stockings, “ 0! you are welcome!” said I; black lower garments of serge, and a “I am very glad to see you here."coat of green baracan with gold but. “ Do you know me then?" replied he, tons. The waistcoat of gold cloth was smiling.-" Why not?" was my no made out of my father's bridal dress. less smiling answer ; "you are MerMy hair had been dressed and powder- cury- I have often enough seen figures ed, and my curls stood out like little of you.”“Iam he,” replied the other; wings from my head. But I could not and sent to you by the gods on an
important errand. Do you see these resolved to follow them, and pass my three apples?"_Hestretched his hand, evening pleasantly. My way led to and showed me three apples which it wards the mound of the fortifications, could hardly grasp, and which were and I came to the part which is rightly as wonderfully beautiful as they were called the Bad Walls; for it is never large, the one of a red, the other of a quite right there. I walked but slowly, yellow, the third of
green colour. and thought of my three goddesses, One could not but suppose them pre- but especially of the little nymph; cious stones, shaped into the likeness and often held up my fingers, in hopes of the fruit. I would have taken them; she might be kind enough to poise but he drew back, and said, “ You herself there again. With such must, in the first place, know that they thoughts I was proceeding, when I are not for you. You must give them saw on my left hand in the wall a little to the three handsomest youths of the door, which I did not remember to city, who then, each according to his have ever noticed before. It looked lot, will find brides suitable to their low, but its pointed arch would have utmost wishes. Take them and pros- let the tallest man pass. Arch and per !"- So saying, he departed, and walls were chiselled out in the hand. left the apples in my open hands. somestway, with carved work and They appeared to me to have become sculpture. But the door itself was still larger. I lifted them up instantly that which drew all my attention. against the light, and found them quite Brown, most antique wood, but little transparent. But soon they stretched decorated, was crossed with broad upwards in length, and became three bands of brass, wrought with both beautiful--so beautiful little women of raised and sunken patterns, the folithe stature of middle-sized dolls, with age of which, with the most natural clothes of the colours of the apples. birds sitting in it, I could not suffiSo they glided smoothly up my fin- ciently admire. But, what I thought gers, and when I caught at them, to strangest, keyhole could be seize at least one, they hovered up- seen, no latch, no knocker ; and I wards so far away, that nothing re- supposed, therefore, that the door mained to me but the disappointment. could be opened only from within. I I stood there all amazed and petrified, was not mistaken ; for when I went and still held up my hands, and stared nearer, in order to touch the orna. at my fingers, as if there had been ments, it opened inwards, and there something on them to see. But sud appeared a man whose dress had somedenly I beheld upon my finger-ends thing long, wide, and odd about it. a delightful maiden dancing, smaller A venerable beard, also, clothed his than those, but graceful and lively; chin; whence I was inclined to conand, as she did not fly away like the sider him a Jew. But he, as if he had others, but remained, and moved guessed my thoughts, made the sign about, dancing now on one finger-point, of the Holy Cross, by which he gave now on another, I looked at her for me to understand that he was a good a while with admiration. But, as she Catholic Christian. “ Young gentlepleased me so much, I thought that at man, how came you hither, and what last I could grasp her, and made the are you doing?"-he said to me, snatch, as I fancied, adroitly enough. with friendly voice and demeanour. At the moment, however, I felt such “ I am admiring," I replied, “ the a blow on my head, that I fell down workmanship of this door; for I have stunned, and did not awake from this
never seen any thing like it, unless it stupefaction till it was time to dress were on small pieces in the collections myself and go to the church.
of amateurs." ; " I am glad,” he anDuring the service I often re- swered, “ that you like such works. called those images; and afterwards The door is much more beautiful inat my grandfather's table, when I side. Come in, if you are so disposed." dined. In the afternoon, I wished to I was not in very good spirits about call on some friends, both to show my- the matter. The extraordinary dress self in my new dress, with my hat un- of the doorkeeper, the seclusion, and der my arm, and my sword by my side, a something else, I know not what, and because I owed them visits. I that seemed to be in the air, oppressed found no one at home, and, as I heard I lingered, therefore, under the that they were gone to the gardens, I pretext of examining the outside better; and at the same time I looked se. nity to observe during our walk, alcretly into the garden, for a garden it though the old man contrived to keep was which had opened itself to me. me always towards the wall, and there. Close within the door I saw a space. fore pretty far from the middle. And Old lime-trees, at regular distances now, just as he was going to the door, from each other, entirely covered it I said to him, with a bow, “ You have with their thickly interwoven branches, been so extremely kind to me, that so that the most numerous companies, I would fain venture to make one more in the hottest of the day, might have request before I part from you. Might refreshed themselves in the shade. I not look more closely at that golden Already I had reached the threshold, railing, which appears to surround, and the old man contrived to win me with a very large circle, the interior on step by step. Nay, properly speak of the garden ? "_" Very willingly," ing, I did not resist ; for I had always replied he; “ but in that case you heard that a prince or sultan in such must submit to some conditions." a case must never ask whether there “ In what do they consist ?" I asked be danger before him. At all events, hastily. “ You must leave here your too, I had my sword by my side ; and hat and sword, and cannot let go my could I not soon have finished with the hand while I accompany you.”old man in case of his showing himself “ Most willingly," I replied; and laid hostile ? I therefore entered with per- my hat and sword on the nearest stone fect confidence: the keeper closed the bench. Immediately he grasped my door, and the bolt shot too so smooth left hand with his right, held it fast, ly, that I scarcely heard it. He now and led me with some force straight showed me the workmanship employed forwards. When we reached the rail. on the inside, which in truth was ing, my wonder changed into amazeof much richer art, explained it to ment. I had never seen any thing me, and at the same time exhibited re- like it. On a high vase of marble markable good-will. Being thus en- stood innumerable lances and parti. tirely tranquillized, I let myself be sans ranged beside each other, conguided into the shaded space by the nected by their strangely ornamented wall, which ran in a curve, and I found upper ends, and so forming an entire there much to admire. Niches taste- circle. I looked through the intervals, fully adorned with shells, corals, and and saw just behind them a softly metallic ores, poured abundant waters flowing water, bounded on both sides from triton-mouths into marble ba. by marble, and having in its clear sins. Between them were aviaries and depths a great number of gold and other lattices, in which squirrels frisk- silver fish, which moved hither and ed about, guinea pigs ran hither and thither, now slowly, now swiftly, now thither, and many other pleasant little singly, now in troops. And now I creatures. The birds called and sung would also fain have looked beyond to us as we advanced; the starlings the canal, to see what there was in the particularly chattered the absurdest heart of the garden. But I found, stuff. One cried always Paris ! Paris ! much to my discontent, that the other and the other Narcissus! Narcissus! side of the water was bordered by a as distinctly as a schoolboy can say it. similar railing, and that with so much The old man seemed to continue watch- art, that each interval on this side was ing me earnestly while the birds called exactly covered by a lance or partisan out thus, but I pretended not to notice on the other; and that, by these and it, and had in truth no leisure to at the other ornaments, it became impostend to it; for I could easily perceive sible to see through, shifting one's that we were moving in a curve, and place as one would. Besides, the old that this shaded space was in fact a man, who still continued to hold me great circle, which enclosed a much fast, prevented me moving freely. more important one. Indeed we had Meanwhile my curiosity, after all that actually reached again the small door, I had seen, still increased more and and it seemed as though the old man more; and I took courage to ask the old would let me out. But my eyes re- man whether one could not pass over. mained directed towards a golden rail. “Why not?"answered he:“buton new ing, which seemed to surround the conditions.” When I asked him what centre of this wonderful garden, and these were, he gave me to understand which I had found sufficient opportu- that I must change my dress. I was