Lucinda, by Friedrich Schlegel

Every person is a philosopher by nature; however, we are quickly dissuaded from this delightful activity by those who call philosophy impractical. But there is nothing more practical than knowing who you are and what you think. Try it sometime.

Lucinda, by Friedrich Schlegel

Postby admin » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:09 am

Lucinda
by Friedrich Schlegel
Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas
1799

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Introduction to Lucinda
by Calvin Thomas
Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Columbia University

Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinda, published in 1799, was an explosion of youthful radicalism—a rather violent explosion which still reverberates in the histories of German Romanticism. It is a book about the metaphysics of love and marriage, the emancipation of the flesh, the ecstasies and follies of the enamored state, the nature and the rights of woman, and other such matters of which the world was destined to hear a great deal during the nineteenth century. Not by accident, but by intention, the little book was shocking, formless, incoherent—a riot of the ego without beginning, middle, or end. Now and then it passed the present limits of the printable in its exploitation of the improper and the unconventional.

Yet the book was by no means the wanton freak of a prurient imagination; it had a serious purpose and was believed by its author to present the essentials of a new and beautiful theory of life, art and religion. The great Schleiermacher, one of the profoundest of German theologians and an eloquent friend of religion, called Lucinda a "divine book" and its author a "priest of love and wisdom." "Everything in this work," he declared, "is at once human and divine; a magic air of divinity rises from its deep springs and permeates the whole temple." Today no man in his senses would praise the book in such terms. Yet, with all its crudities of style and its aberrations of taste, Lucinda reveals, not indeed the whole form and pressure of the epoch that gave it birth, but certain very interesting aspects of it.

Then, too, it marks a curious stage in the development of the younger Schlegel, a really profound thinker and one of the notable men of his day. This explains why a considerable portion of the much discussed book is here presented for the first time in an English dress.

The earliest writings of Friedrich Schlegel—he was born in 1772—relate to Greek literature, a field which he cultivated with enthusiasm and with ample learning. In particular he was interested in what his Greek poets and philosophers had to say of the position of women in society; of the hetairai as the equal and inspiring companions of men; of a more or less refined sexual love, untrammeled by law and convention, as the basis of a free, harmonious and beautiful existence. Among other things, he seems to have been much impressed by Plato's notion that the genus homo was one before it broke up into male and female, and that sexual attraction is a desire to restore the lost unity. In a very learned essay On Diotima, published in 1797—Diotima is the woman of whose relation to Socrates we get a glimpse in Plato's Symposium—there is much that foreshadows Lucinda. Let two or three sentences suffice. "What is uglier than the overloaded femininity, what is more loathesome than the exaggerated masculinity, that rules in our customs, our opinions, and even in our better art?" "Precisely the tyrannical vehemence of the man, the flabby self-surrender of the woman, is in itself an ugly exaggeration." "Only the womanhood that is independent, only the manhood that is gentle, is good and beautiful."

In 1796 Friedrich Schlegel joined his brother at Jena, where Fichte was then expounding his philosophy. It was a system of radical idealism, teaching that the only reality is the absolute Ego, whose self-assertion thus becomes the fundamental law of the world. The Fichtean system had not yet been fully worked out in its metaphysical bearings, but the strong and engaging personality of its author gave it, for a little while, immense prestige and influence. To Friedrich Schlegel it seemed the gospel of a new era sort of French Revolution in philosophy. Indeed he proclaimed that the three greatest events of the century were the French Revolution, Fichte's philosophy, and Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. This last, which appeared in 1796 and contained obvious elements of autobiography, together with poems and disquisitions on this and that, was admired by him beyond all measure. He saw in it the exemplar and the program of a wonderful new art which he proposed to call "Romantic Poetry."

But gray theory would never have begotten Lucinda. Going to Berlin in 1797, Schlegel made the acquaintance of Dorothea Veit, daughter of Moses Mendelsohn and wife of a Berlin banker. She was nine years his senior. A strong attachment grew up between them, and presently the lady was persuaded to leave her husband and become the paramour of Schlegel. Even after the divorce was obtained Schlegel refused for some time to be married in church, believing that he had a sort of duty to perform in asserting the rights of passion over against social convention. For several years the pair lived in wild wedlock before they were regularly married. In 1808 they both joined the Catholic Church, and from that time on nothing more was heard of Friedrich Schlegel's radicalism. He came to hold opinions which were for the most part the exact opposite of those he had held in his youth. The vociferous friend of individual liberty became a reactionary champion of authority. Of course he grew ashamed of Lucinda and excluded it from his collected works.

Such was the soil in which the naughty book grew. It was an era of lax ideas regarding the marriage tie. Wilhelm Schlegel married a divorced woman who was destined in due time to transfer herself without legal formalities to Schelling. Goethe had set the example by his conscience marriage with Christiane Vulpius. It remains only to be said that the most of Friedrich Schlegel's intimates, including his brother Wilhelm, advised against the publication of Lucinda. But here, as in the matter of his marriage, the author felt that he had a duty to perform: it was necessary to declare independence of Mrs. Grundy's tyranny and shock people for their own good. But the reader of today will feel that the worst shortcomings of the book are not its immoralities, but its sins against art.

It will be observed that while Lucinda was called by its author a "novel," it hardly deserves that name. There is no story, no development of a plot. The book consists of disconnected glimpses in the form of letters, disquisitions, rhapsodies, conversations, etc., each with a more or less suggestive heading. Two of these sections—one cannot call them chapters—are omitted in the translation, namely, "Allegory of Impudence" and, "Apprenticeship of Manhood."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 24749
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Lucinda, by Friedrich Schlegel

Postby admin » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:14 am

Part 1 of 2

Lucinda
by Friedrich Schlegel
Translated by Paul Bernard Thomas
1799

PROLOGUE

Smiling with emotion Petrarch opens the collection of his immortal romanzas with a prefatory survey. The clever Boccaccio talks with flattering courtesy to all women, both at the beginning and at the end of his opulent book. The great Cervantes too, an old man in agony, but still genial and full of delicate wit, drapes the motley spectacle of his lifelike writings with the costly tapestry of a preface, which in itself is a beautiful and romantic painting.

Uproot a stately plant from its fertile, maternal soil, and there will still cling lovingly to it much that can seem superfluous only to a niggard.

But what shall my spirit bestow upon its offspring, which, like its parent, is as poor in poesy as it is rich in love?

Just one word, a parting trope: It is not alone the royal eagle who may despise the croaking of the raven; the swan, too, is proud and takes no note of it. Nothing concerns him except to keep clean the sheen of his white pinions. He thinks only of nestling against Leda's bosom without hurting her, and of breathing forth into song everything that is mortal within him.

CONFESSIONS OF AN AWKWARD MAN

JULIUS TO LUCINDA


Human beings and what they want and do, seemed to me, when I thought of it, like gray, motionless figures; but in the holy solitude all around me everything was light and color. A fresh, warm breath of life and love fanned me, rustling and stirring in all the branches of the verdant grove. I gazed and enjoyed it all, the rich green, the white blossoms and the golden fruit. And in my mind's eye I saw, too, in many forms, my one and only Beloved, now as a little girl, now as a young lady in the full bloom and energy of love and womanhood, and now as a dignified mother with her demure babe in her arms. I breathed the spring and I saw clearly all about me everlasting youth. Smiling I said to myself: "Even if this world is not the best and most useful of places, it is certainly the most beautiful."

From this feeling or thought nothing could have turned me, neither general despair nor personal fear. For I believed that the deep secrets of nature were being revealed to me; I felt that everything was immortal and that death was only a pleasant illusion. But I really did not think very much about it, since I was not particularly in a mood for mental synthesis and analysis. But I gladly lost myself in all those blendings and intertwinings of joy and pain from which spring the spice of life and the flower of feeling—spiritual pleasure as well as sensual bliss. A subtle fire flowed through my veins. What I dreamed was not of kissing you, not of holding you in my arms; it was not only the wish to relieve the tormenting sting of my desire, and to cool the sweet fire by gratification. It was not for your lips that I longed, or for your eyes, or for your body; no, it was a romantic confusion of all of these things, a marvelous mingling of memories and desires. All the mysteries of caprice in man and woman seemed to hover about me, when suddenly in my solitude your real presence and the glowing rapture in your face completely set me afire. Wit and ecstasy now began their alternating play, and were the common pulse of our united life. There was no less abandon than religion in our embrace. I besought you to yield to my frenzy and implored you to be insatiable. And yet with calm presence of mind I watched for the slightest sign of joy in you, so that not one should escape me to impair the harmony. I not only enjoyed, but I felt and enjoyed the enjoyment.

You are so extraordinarily clever, dearest Lucinda, that you have doubtless long ere this begun to suspect that this is all nothing but a beautiful dream. And so, alas, it is; and I should indeed feel very disconsolate about it if I could not cherish the hope that at least a part of it may soon be realized. The truth of the matter is this: Not long ago I was standing by the window—how long I do not know, for along with the other rules of reason and morality, I completely forgot about the lapse of time. Well, I was standing by the window and looking out into the open; the morning certainly deserves to be called beautiful, the air is still and quite warm, and the verdure here before me is fresh. And even as the wide land undulates in hills and dales, so the calm, broad, silvery river winds along in great bends and sweeps, until it and the lover's fantasy, cradled upon it like the swan, pass away into the distance and lose themselves in the immeasurable. My vision doubtless owes the grove and its southern color-effect to the huge mass of flowers here beside me, among which I see a large number of oranges. All the rest is readily explained by psychology. It was an illusion, dear friend, all an illusion, all except that, not long ago, I was standing, by the window and doing nothing, and that I am now sitting here and doing something—something which is perhaps little more than nothing, perhaps even less.

I had written thus far to you about the things I had said to myself, when, in the midst of my tender thoughts and profound feelings about the dramatic connection of our embraces, a coarse and unpleasant occurrence interrupted me. I was just on the point of unfolding to you in clear and precise periods the exact and straightforward history of our frivolities and of my dulness. I was going to expound to you, step by step, in accordance with natural laws, the misunderstandings that attack the hidden centre of the loveliest existence, and to confess to you the manifold effects of my awkwardness. I was about to describe the apprenticeship of my manhood, a period which, taken as a whole or in parts, I can never look back upon without a great deal of inward amusement, a little melancholy, and considerable self-satisfaction. Still, as a refined lover and writer, I will endeavor to refashion the coarse occurrence and adapt it to my purpose. For me and for this book, however, for my love of it and for its inner development, there is no better adaptation of means to ends than this, namely, that right at the start I begin by abolishing what we call orderly arrangement, keep myself entirely aloof from it, frankly claiming and asserting the right to a charming confusion. This is all the more necessary, inasmuch as the material which our life and love offers to my spirit and to my pen is so incessantly progressive and so inflexibly systematic. If the form were also of that character, this, in its way, unique letter would then acquire an intolerable unity and monotony, and would no longer produce the desired effect, namely, to fashion and complete a most lovely chaos of sublime harmonies and interesting pleasures. So I use my incontestable right to a confused style by inserting here, in the wrong place, one of the many incoherent sheets which I once filled with rubbish, and which you, good creature, carefully preserved without my knowing it. It was written in a mood of impatient longing, due to my not finding you where I most surely expected to find you—in your room, on our sofa—in the haphazard words suggested by the pen you had lately been using.

The selection is not difficult. For since, among the dreamy fancies which are here confided to you in permanent letters, the recollection of this most beautiful world is the most significant, and has a certain sort of resemblance to what they call thought, I choose in preference to anything else a dithyrambic fantasy on the most lovely of situations. For once we know to a certainty that we live in a most beautiful world, the next need is obvious, namely, to inform ourselves fully, either through ourselves or through others, about the most lovely situation in this most beautiful world.

DITHYRAMBIC FANTASY ON THE LOVELIEST OF SITUATIONS

A big tear falls upon the holy sheet which I found here instead of you. How faithfully and how simply you have sketched it, the old and daring idea of my dearest and most intimate purpose! In you it has grown up, and in this mirror I do not shrink from loving and admiring myself. Only here I see myself in harmonious completeness. For your spirit, too, stands distinct and perfect before me, not as an apparition which appears and fades away again, but as one of the forms that endure forever. It looks at me joyously out of its deep eyes and opens its arms to embrace my spirit. The holiest and most evanescent of those delicate traits and utterances of the soul, which to one who does not know the highest seem like bliss itself, are merely the common atmosphere of our spiritual breath and life.

The words are weak and vague. Furthermore, in this throng of impressions I could only repeat anew the one inexhaustible feeling of our original harmony. A great future beckons me on into the immeasurable; each idea develops a countless progeny. The extremes of unbridled gayety and of quiet presentiment live together within me. I remember everything, even the griefs, and all my thoughts that have been and are to be bestir themselves and arise before me. The blood rushes wildly through my swollen veins, my mouth thirsts for the contact of your lips, and my fancy seeks vainly among the many forms of joy for one which might at last gratify my desire and give it rest. And then again I suddenly and sadly bethink me of the gloomy time when I was always waiting without hope, and madly loving without knowing it; when my innermost being overflowed with a vague longing, which it breathed forth but rarely in half-suppressed sighs.

Oh, I should have thought it all a fairy-tale that there could be such joy, such love as I now feel, and such a woman, who could be my most tender Beloved, my best companion, and at the same time a perfect friend. For it was in friendship especially that I sought for what I wanted, and for what I never hoped to find in any woman. In you I found it all, and more than I could wish for; but you are so unlike the rest. Of what custom or caprice calls womanly, you know nothing. The womanliness of your soul, aside from minor peculiarities, consists in its regarding life and love as the same thing. For you all feeling is infinite and eternal; you recognize no separations, your being is an indivisible unity. That is why you are so serious and so joyous, why you regard everything in such a large and indifferent way; that is why you love me, all of me, and will surrender no part of me to the state, to posterity, or to manly pleasures. I am all yours; we are closest to each other and we understand each other. You accompany me through all the stages of manhood, from the utmost wantonness to the most refined spirituality. In you alone I first saw true pride and true feminine humility.

The most extreme suffering, if it is only surrounded, without separating us, would seem to me nothing but a charming antithesis to the sublime frivolity of our marriage. Why should we not take the harshest whim of chance for an excellent jest and a most frolicsome caprice, since we, like our love, are immortal? I can no longer say my love and your love; they are both alike in their perfect mutuality. Marriage is the everlasting unity and alliance of our spirits, not only for what we call this world and that world, but for the one, true, indivisible, nameless, endless world of our entire being, so long as we live. Therefore, if it seemed the proper time, I would drain with you a cup of poison, just as gladly and just as easily as that last glass of champagne we drank together, when I said: "And so let us drink out the rest of our lives." With these words I hurriedly quaffed the wine, before its noble spirit ceased to sparkle. And so I say again, let us live and love. I know you would not wish to survive me; you would rather follow your dying husband into his coffin. Gladly and lovingly would you descend into the burning abyss, even as the women of India do, impelled by a mad law, the cruel, constraining purpose of which desecrates and destroys the most delicate sanctities of the will.

On the other side, perhaps, longing will be more completely realized. I often wonder over it; every thought, and whatever else is fashioned within us, seems to be complete in itself, as single and indivisible as a person. One thing crowds out another, and that which just now was near and present soon sinks back into obscurity. And then again come moments of sudden and universal clarity, when several such spirits of the inner world completely fuse together into a wonderful wedlock, and many a forgotten bit of our ego shines forth in a new light and even illuminates the darkness of the future with its bright lustre. As it is in a small way, so is it also, I think, in a large way. That which we call a life is for the complete, inner, immortal man only a single idea, an indivisible feeling. And for him there come, too, moments of the profoundest and fullest consciousness, when all lives fall together and mingle and separate in a different way. The time is coming when we two shall behold in one spirit that we are blossoms of one plant, or petals of one flower. We shall then know with a smile that what we now call merely hope was really memory.

Do you know how the first seed of this idea germinated in my soul before you and took root in yours? Thus does the religion of love weave our love ever and ever more closely and firmly together, just as a child, like an echo, doubles the happiness of its gentle parents.

Nothing can part us; and certainly any separation would only draw me more powerfully to you. I bethink me how at our last embrace, you vehemently resisting, I burst into simultaneous tears and laughter. I tried to calm myself, and in a sort of bewilderment I would not believe that I was separated from you until the surrounding objects convinced me of it against my will. But then my longing grew again irresistible, until on its wings I sank back into your arms. Suppose words or a human being to create a misunderstanding between us! The poignant grief would be transient and quickly resolve itself into complete harmony. How could separation separate us, when presence itself is to us, as it were, too present? We have to cool and mitigate the consuming fire with jests, and thus for us the most witty of the forms and situations of joy is also the most beautiful. One among all is at once the wittiest and the loveliest: when we exchange rôles and with childish delight try to see who can best imitate the other; whether you succeed best with the tender vehemence of a man, or I with the yielding devotion of a woman. But, do you know, this sweet game has for me quite other charms than its own. It is not merely the delight of exhaustion or the anticipation of revenge. I see in it a wonderful and profoundly significant allegory of the development of man and woman into complete humanity. * * *

* * * * *

That was my dithyrambic fantasy on the loveliest situation in the loveliest of worlds. I know right well what you thought of it and how you took it at that time. And I think I know just as well what you will think of it and how you will take it here, here in this little book, in which you expect to find genuine history, plain truth and calm reason; yes, even morality, the charming morality of love. "How can a man wish to write anything which it is scarcely permissible to talk about, which ought only to be felt?" I replied: "If a man feels it, he must wish to talk about it, and what a man wishes to talk about he may write."

I wanted first to demonstrate to you that there exists in the original and essential nature of man a certain awkward enthusiasm which likes to utter boldly that which is delicate and holy, and sometimes falls headlong over its own honest zeal and speaks a word that is divine to the point of coarseness.

This apology would indeed save me, but perhaps only at the enormous expense of my manhood itself; for whatever you may think of my manhood in particular, you have nevertheless a great deal against the sex in general. Meantime I will by no means make common cause with them, but will rather excuse and defend my liberty and audacity by means of the example of the little innocent Wilhelmina, since she too is a lady whom I love most tenderly. So I will straightway attempt a little sketch of her character.

SKETCH OF LITTLE WILHELMINA

When one regards the remarkable child, not from the viewpoint of any one-sided theory, but, as is proper, in a large, impartial way, one can boldly say—and it is perhaps the best thing one could possibly say of her—that for her years she is the cleverest person of her time. And that is indeed saying a great deal; for how seldom do we find harmonious culture in people two years old? The strongest of the many strong proofs of her inward perfection is her serene self-complacency. After she has eaten she always spreads both her little arms out on the table, and resting her cunning head on them with amusing seriousness, she makes big eyes and casts cute glances at the family all around her. Then she straightens up and with the most vivid expression of irony on her face, smiles at her own cuteness and our inferiority. She is full of buffoonery and has a nice appreciation of it. When I imitate her gestures, she immediately copies my imitation; thus we have created a mimic language of our own and make each other understand by means of pantomime hieroglyphics.

For poetry, I think, she has far more inclination than for philosophy; so also she likes to ride better than to walk, which last she does only in case of necessity. The ugly cacophony of our mother-tongue here in the north melts on her tongue into the sweet and mellow euphony of Italian and Hindu speech. She is especially fond of rhymes, as of everything else that is beautiful; she never grows tired of saying and singing over and over again to herself, one after the other, all her favorite little verses—as it were, a classic selection of her little pleasures. Poetry binds the blossoms of all things together into a light garland, and so little Wilhelmina talks in rhyme about regions, times, events, persons, toys and things to eat—all mixed together in a romantic chaos, every word a picture. And she does all that without any qualifications or artistic transitions, which after all only aid the understanding and impede the free flight of the fancy.

For her fancy everything in nature is alive and animate. I often recall with pleasure the first time she ever saw and felt of a doll. She was not more than a year old. A divine smile lighted up her little face, as she pressed an affectionate kiss on the painted wooden lips. Surely there lies deep in the nature of man an impulse to eat anything he loves, to lift to his mouth every new object and there, if possible, reduce it to its original, constituent parts. A wholesome thirst for knowledge impels him to seize the object, penetrate into its interior and bite it to pieces. On the other hand, touching stops at the surface, while grasping affords only imperfect, mediate knowledge. Nevertheless it is a very interesting spectacle, when a bright child catches sight of another child, to watch her feel of it and strive to orient herself by means of those antennae of the reason. The strange baby creeps quietly away and hides himself, while the little philosopher follows him up and goes busily on with her manual investigation.

But, to be sure, mind, wit and originality are just as rare in children as in adults. All this, however, does not belong here, and is leading me beyond the bounds of my purpose. For this sketch proposes merely to portray an ideal, an ideal which I would ever keep before my eyes, so that in this little artistic volume of beautiful and elegant philosophy I may not wander away from the delicate line of propriety; and so that you will forgive me in advance for the audacious liberties that I am going to take, or at least you will be able to judge them from a higher viewpoint.

Am I wrong, think you, in seeking for morality in children—for delicacy and prettiness of thought and word?

Now look! Dear little Wilhelmina often finds inexpressible delight in lying on her back and kicking her little legs in the air, unconcerned about her clothes or about the judgment of the world. If Wilhelmina does that, what is there that I may not do, since I, by Heaven, am a man and under no obligation to be more modest than this most modest of all feminine creatures? Oh, enviable freedom from prejudice! Do you, too, dear friend, cast it from you, all the remnants of false modesty; just as I have often torn off your odious clothes and scattered them about in lovely anarchy. And if, perhaps, this little romance of my life should seem to you too wild, just think to yourself: He is only a child—and take his innocent wantonness with motherly forbearance and let him caress you.

If you will not be too particular about the plausibility and inner significance of an allegory, and are prepared for as much awkwardness in it as one might expect in the confessions of an awkward man, provided only that the costume is correct, I should like to relate to you here one of my waking dreams, inasmuch as it leads to the same result as my sketch of little Wilhelmina.[31]

AN IDYL OF IDLENESS

"Behold, I am my own teacher, and a god hath planted all sorts of melodies in my soul." This I may boldly say, now that I am not talking about the joyous science of poetry, but about the godlike art of idleness. And with whom indeed should I rather talk and think about idleness than with myself. So I spoke also in that immortal hour when my guardian genius inspired me to preach the high gospel of true joy and love: "Oh, idleness, idleness! Thou art the very soul of innocence and inspiration. The blessed spirits do breathe thee, and blessed indeed is he who hath and cherisheth thee, thou sacred jewel, thou sole and only fragment of godlikeness brought forth by us from Paradise."

When I thus communed with myself I was sitting, like a pensive maiden in a thoughtless romance, by the side of a brook, watching the wavelets as they passed. They flowed by as smooth and quiet and sentimental as if Narcissus were about to see his reflection on the clear surface and become intoxicated with beautiful egoism. They might also have enticed me to lose myself deeper and deeper in the inner perspective of my mind, were not my nature so perpetually unselfish and practical that even my speculations never concern themselves about anything but the general good. So I fell to thinking, among other things, while my mind was relaxed by a comfortable laziness and my limbs by the powerful heat, of the possibility of a lasting embrace. I thought out ways of prolonging the time of our being together and of avoiding in the future those childishly pathetic expressions of pain over sudden parting, and of finding pleasure, as hitherto, in the comic side of Fate's inevitable and unchangeable decree that separate we must. And only after the power of my reason, laboring over the unattainableness of my ideal, broke and relaxed, did I give myself over to a stream of thoughts. I listened eagerly to all the motley fairy-tales with which imagination and desire, like irresistible sirens in my breast, charmed my senses. It did not occur to me to criticise the seductive illusion as ignoble, although I well knew that it was for the most part a beautiful lie. The soft music of the fantasy seemed to fill the gaps in my longing. I gratefully observed this and resolved to repeat for us in the future by my own inventiveness that which good fortune had given me, and to begin for you this poem of truth. And thus the original germ of this wonderful growth of caprice and love came into being. And just as freely as it sprouted did I intend it should grow up and run wild; and never from love of order and economy shall I trim off any of its profuse abundance of superfluous leaves and shoots.

Like a wise man of the East, I had fallen into a holy lethargy and calm contemplation of the everlasting substances, more especially of yours and mine. Greatness in repose, most people say, is the highest aim of plastic art. And so, without any distinct purpose and without any unseemly effort, I thought out and bodied forth our everlasting substances in this dignified style. I looked back and saw how gentle sleep overcame us in the midst of our embrace. Now and then one of us would open an eye, smile at the sweet slumber of the other, and wake up just enough to venture a jesting remark and a gentle caress. But ere the wanton play thus begun was ended, we would both sink back into the blissful lap of half-conscious self-forgetfulness.

With the greatest indignation I then thought of the bad men who would abolish sleep. They have probably never slept, and likewise never lived. Why are gods gods, except because they deliberately do nothing; because they understand that art and are masters of it? And how the poets, the sages and the saints strive to be like the gods, in that respect as in others! How they vie with one another in praise of solitude, of leisure, of liberal freedom from care and of inactivity! And they are right in doing so; for everything that is good and beautiful in life is already there and maintains itself by its own strength. Why then this vague striving and pushing forward without rest or goal? Can this storm and stress give form and nourishing juice to the everliving plant of humankind, that grows and fashions itself in quiet? This empty, restless activity is only a bad habit of the north and brings nothing but ennui for oneself and for others. And with what does it begin and end except with antipathy to the world in general, which is now such a common feeling? Inexperienced vanity does not suspect that it indicates only lack of reason and sense, but regards it as a high-minded discontent with the universal ugliness of the world and of life, of which it really has not yet the slightest presentiment. It could not be otherwise; for industry and utility are the death-angels which, with fiery swords, prevent the return of man into Paradise. Only when composed and at ease in the holy calm of true passivity can one think over his entire being and get a view of life and the world.

How is it that we think and compose at all, except by surrendering ourselves completely to the influence of some genius? Speaking and fashioning are after all only incidentals in all arts and sciences; thinking and imagining are the essentials, and they are only possible in a passive state. To be sure it is intentional, arbitrary, one-sided, but still a passive state. The more beautiful the climate we live in, the more passive we are. Only the Italians know what it is to walk, and only the Orientals to recline. And where do we find the human spirit more delicately and sweetly developed than in India? Everywhere it is the privilege of being idle that distinguishes the noble from the common; it is the true principle of nobility. Finally, where is the greater and more lasting enjoyment, the greater power and will to enjoy? Among women, whose nature we call passive, or among men, in whom the transition from sudden wrath to ennui is quicker than that from good to evil?

Satisfied with the enjoyment of my existence, I proposed to raise myself above all its finite, and therefore contemptible, aims and objects. Nature itself seemed to confirm me in this undertaking, and, as it were, to exhort me in many-voiced choral songs to further idleness. And now suddenly a new vision presented itself. I imagined myself invisible in a theatre. On one side I saw all the well-known boards, lights and painted scenery; on the other a vast throng of spectators, a veritable ocean of curious faces and sympathetic eyes. In the foreground, on the right, was Prometheus, in the act of fashioning men. He was bound by a long chain and was working very fast and very hard. Beside him stood several monstrous fellows who were constantly whipping and goading him on. There was also an abundance of glue and other materials about, and he was getting fire out of a large coal-pan. On the other side was a figure of the deified Hercules, with Hebe in his lap. On the stage in the foreground a crowd of youthful forms were laughing and running about, all of whom were very happy and did not merely seem to live. The youngest looked like amorettes, the older ones like images of women. But each one of them had his own peculiar manner and a striking originality of expression; and they all bore a certain resemblance to the Christian painters' and poets' idea of the devil—one might have called them little Satans. One of the smallest said:

"He who does not despise, cannot respect; one can only do either boundlessly, and good tone consists only in playing with men. And so is not a certain amount of malice an essential part of harmonious culture?"

"Nothing is more absurd," said another, "than when the moralists reproach you about your egoism. They are altogether wrong; for what god, who is not his own god, can deserve respect from man? You are, to be sure, mistaken in thinking that you have an ego; but if, in the meantime, you identify it with your body, your name and your property, you thereby at least make ready a place for it, in case by any chance an ego should come."

"And this Prometheus you can all hold in deep reverence," said one of the tallest. "He has made you all and is constantly making more like you."

And in fact just as soon as each new man was finished, the devils put him down with all the rest who were looking on, and immediately it was impossible to distinguish him from the others, so much alike were they all.

"The mistake he makes is in his method," continued the Sataniscus. "How can one want to do nothing but fashion men? Those are not the right tools he has."

And thereat he pointed to a rough figure of the God of the Gardens, which stood in the back part of the stage between an Amor and a very beautiful naked Venus.

"In regard to that our friend Hercules had better views, who could occupy fifty maidens in a single night for the welfare of humanity, and all of them heroic maids too. He did those labors of his, too, and slew many a furious monster. But the goal of his career was always a noble leisure, and for that reason he has gained entrance to Olympus. Not so, however, with this Prometheus, the inventor of education and enlightenment. To him you owe it that you can never be quiet and are always on the move. Hence it is also, when you have absolutely nothing to do, that you foolishly aspire to develop character and observe and study one another. It is a vile business. But Prometheus, for having misled man to toil, now has to toil himself, whether he wants to or not. He will soon get very tired of it, and never again will he be freed from his chains."

When the spectators heard this, they broke out into tears and jumped upon the stage to assure their father of their heartfelt sympathy. And thus the allegorical comedy vanished.

CONSTANCY AND PLAY

"Of course you are alone, Lucinda?"

"I do not know—perhaps—I think—"

"Please! please! dear Lucinda. You know very well that when little Wilhelmina says 'please! please!' and you do not do at once what she wants, she cries louder and louder until she gets her way."

"So it was to tell me that that you rushed into my room so out of breath and frightened me so?"

"Do not be angry with me, sweet lady, I beg of you! Oh, my child!
Lovely creature! Be a good girl and do not reproach me!"
"Well, I suppose you will soon be asking me to close the door?"

"So? I will answer that directly. But first a nice long kiss, and then another, and then some more, and after that more still."

"Oh! You must not kiss me that way—if you want me to keep my senses!
It makes one think bad thoughts."
"You deserve to. Are you really capable of laughing, my peevish lady? Who would have thought so? But I know very well you laugh only because you can laugh at me. You do not do it from pleasure. For who ever looked so solemn as you did just now—like a Roman senator? And you might have looked ravishing, dear child, with those holy dark eyes, and your long black hair shining in the evening sunlight—if you had not sat there like a judge on the bench. Heavens! I actually started back when I saw how you were looking at me. A little more and I should have forgotten the most important thing, and I am all confused. But why do you not talk? Am I disagreeable to you?"

"Well, that is funny, you surly Julius. As if you ever let any one say anything! Your tenderness flows today like a spring shower."

"Like your talk in the night."

"Oh sir, let my neckcloth be."

"Let it be? Not a bit of it! What is the use of a miserable, stupid neckcloth? Prejudice! Away with it!"

"If only no one disturbs us!"

"There she goes again, looking as if she wanted to cry! You are well, are you not? What makes your heart beat so? Come, let me kiss it! Oh, yes, you spoke a moment ago about closing the door. Very well, but not that way, not here. Come, let us run down through the garden to the summer-house, where the flowers are. Come! Oh, do not make me wait so!"

"As you wish, sir."

"I cannot understand—you are so odd today."

"Now, my dear friend, if you are going to begin moralizing, we might just as well go back again. I prefer to give you just one more kiss and run on ahead of you."

"Oh, not so fast, Lucinda! My moralizing will not overtake you. You will fall, love!"

"I did not wish to make you wait any longer. Now we are here. And you came pretty fast yourself."

"And you are very obedient! But this is no time to quarrel."

"Be still! Be still!"

"See! Here is a soft, cosy place, with everything as it should be.
This time, if you do not—well, there will be no excuse for you."
"Will you not at least lower the curtain first?"

"You are right. The light will be much more charming so. How beautiful your skin shines in the red light! Why are you so cold, Lucinda?"

"Dearest, put the hyacinths further away, their odor sickens me."

"How solid and firm, how soft and smooth! That is harmonious development."

"Oh no, Julius! Please don't! I beg of you! I will not allow it!"

"May I not feel * * *. Oh, let me listen to the beating of your heart! Let me cool my lips in the snow of your bosom! Do not push me away! I will have my revenge! Hold me tighter! Kiss upon kiss! No, not a lot of short ones! One everlasting one! Take my whole soul and give me yours! Oh, beautiful and glorious Together! Are we not children? Tell me! How could you be so cold and indifferent at first, and then afterward draw me closer to you, making a face the while as if something were hurting you, as if you were reluctant to return my ardor? What is the matter? Are you crying? Do not hide your face! Look at me, dearest!"

"Oh, let me lie here beside you—I cannot look into your eyes. It was very naughty of me, Julius! Can you ever forgive me, darling? You will not desert me, will you? Can you still love me?"

"Come to me, sweet lady—here, close to my heart. Do you remember how nice it was, not long ago, when you cried in my arms, and how it relieved you? Tell me what the matter is now. You are not angry with me?"

"I am angry with myself. I could beat myself! To be sure, it would have served you right. And if ever again, sir, you conduct yourself so like a husband, I shall take better care that you find me like a wife. You may be assured of that. I cannot help laughing, it took me so by surprise. But do not imagine, sir, that you are so terribly lovable—this time it was by my own will that I broke my resolution."

"The first will and the last is always the best. It is just because women usually say less than they mean that they sometimes do more than they intend. That is no more than right; good will leads you women astray. Good will is a very nice thing, but the bad part of it is that it is always there, even when you do not want it."

"That is a beautiful mistake. But you men are full of bad will and you persist in it."

"Oh no! If we seem to be obstinate, it is only because we cannot be otherwise, not because our will is bad. We cannot, because we do not will properly. Hence it is not bad will, but lack of will. And to whom is the fault attributable but to you women, who have such a super-abundance of good will and keep it all to yourselves, unwilling to share it with us. But it happened quite against my will that we fell a-talking about will—I am sure I do not know why we are doing it. Still, it is much better for me to vent my feelings by talking than by smashing the beautiful chinaware. It gave me a chance to recover from my astonishment over your unexpected compunction, your excellent discourse, and your laudable resolution. Really, this is one of the strangest pranks that you have ever given me the honor of witnessing; so far as I can remember, it has been several weeks since you have talked by daylight in such solemn and unctuous periods as you used in your little sermon today. Would you mind translating your meaning into prose?"

"Really, have you forgotten already about yesterday evening and the interesting company? Of course I did not know that."

"Oh! And so that is why you are so out of sorts—because I talked with
Amalia too much?"
"Talk as much as you please with anybody you please. But you must be nice to me—that I insist on."

"You spoke so very loud; the stranger was standing close by, and I was nervous and did not know what else to do."

"Except to be rude in your awkwardness."

"Forgive me! I plead guilty. You know how embarrassed I am with you in society. It always hurts me to talk with you in the presence of others."

"How nicely he manages to excuse himself!"

"The next time do not pass it over! Look out and be strict with me. But see what you have done! Isn't it a desecration? Oh no! It isn't possible, it is more than that. You will have to confess it—you were jealous."

"All the evening you rudely forgot about me. I began to write it all out for you today, but tore it up."

"And then, when I came?"

"Your being in such an awful hurry annoyed me."

"Could you love me if I were not so inflammable and electric? Are you not so too? Have you forgotten our first embrace? In one minute love comes and lasts for ever, or it does not come at all. Or do you think that joy is accumulated like money and other material things, by consistent behavior? Great happiness is like music coming out of the air—it appears and surprises us and then vanishes again."

"And thus it was you appeared to me, darling! But you will not vanish, will you? You shall not! I say it!"

"I will not, I will stay with you now and for all time. Listen! I feel a strong desire to hold a long discourse with you on jealousy. But first we ought to conciliate the offended gods."

"Rather, first the discourse and afterward the gods."

"You are right, we are not yet worthy of them. It takes you a long time to get over it after you have been disturbed and annoyed about something. How nice it is that you are so sensitive!"

"I am no more sensitive than you are—only in a different way."

"Well then, tell me! I am not jealous—how does it happen that you are?"

"Am I, unless I have cause to be? Answer me that!"

"I do not know what you mean."

"Well, I am not really jealous. But tell me: What were you talking about all yesterday evening?"

"So? It is Amalia of whom you are jealous? Is it possible? That nonsense? I did not talk about anything with her, and that was the funny part of it. Did I not talk just as long with Antonio, whom a short time ago I used to see almost every day?"

"You want me to believe that you talk in the same way with the coquettish Amalia that you do with the quiet, serious Antonio. Of course! It is nothing more than a case of clear, pure friendship!"

"Oh no, you must not believe that—I do not wish you to. That is not true. How can you credit me with being so foolish? For it is a very foolish thing indeed for two people of opposite sex to form and conceive any such relation as pure friendship. In Amalia's case it is nothing more than playing that I love her. I should not care anything about her at all, if she were not a little coquettish.

"Would that there were more like her in our circle! Just in fun, one must really love all the ladies."

"Julius, I believe you are going completely crazy!"

"Now understand me aright—I do not really mean all of them, but all of them who are lovable and happen to come one's way."

"That is nothing more than what the French call galanterie and coquetterie."

"Nothing more—except that I think of it as something beautiful and clever. And then men ought to know what the ladies are doing and what they want; and that is rarely the case. A fine pleasantry is apt to be transformed in their hands into coarse seriousness."

"This loving just in fun is not at all a funny thing to look at."

"That is not the fault of the fun—it is just miserable jealousy. Forgive me, dearest—I do not wish to get excited, but I must confess that I cannot understand how any one can be jealous. For lovers do not offend each other, but do things to please each other. Hence it must come from uncertainty, absence of love, and unfaithfulness to oneself. For me happiness is assured, and love is one with constancy. To be sure, it is a different matter with people who love in the ordinary way. The man loves only the race in his wife, the woman in her husband only the degree of his ability and social position, and both love in their children only their creation and their property. Under those circumstances fidelity comes to be a merit, a virtue, and jealousy is in order. For they are quite right in tacitly believing that there are many like themselves, and that one man is about as good as the next, and none of them worth very much."

"You look upon jealousy, then, as nothing but empty vulgarity and lack of culture."

"Yes, or rather as mis-culture and perversity, which is just as bad or still worse. According to that system the best thing for a man to do is to marry of set purpose out of sheer obligingness and courtesy. And certainly for such folk it must be no less convenient than entertaining, to live out their lives together in a state of mutual contempt. Women especially are capable of acquiring a genuine passion for marriage; and when one of them finds it to her liking, it easily happens that she marries half a dozen in succession, either spiritually or bodily. And the opportunity is never wanting for a man and wife to be delicate for a change, and talk a great deal about friendship."

"You used to talk as if you regarded us women as incapable of friendship. Is that really your opinion?"

"Yes, but the incapability, I think, lies more in the friendship than in you. Whatever you love at all, you love indivisibly; for instance, a sweetheart or a baby. With you even a sisterly relation would assume this character."

"You are right there."

"For you friendship is too many-sided and one-sided. It has to be absolutely spiritual and have definite, fixed bounds. This boundedness would, only in a more refined way, be just as fatal to your character as would sheer sensuality without love. For society, on the other hand, it is too serious, too profound, too holy."

"Cannot people, then, talk with each other regardless of whether they are men or women?"

"That might make society rather serious. At best, it might form an interesting club. You understand what I mean: it would be a great gain, if people could talk freely, and were neither too wild nor yet too stiff. The finest and best part would always be lacking—that which is everywhere the spirit and soul of good society—namely, that playing with love and that love of play which, without the finer sense, easily degenerates into jocosity. And for that reason I defend the ambiguities too."

"Do you do that in play or by way of joke?"

"No! No! I do it in all seriousness."

"But surely not as seriously and solemnly as Pauline and her lover?"

"Heaven forbid! I really believe they would ring the church-bell when they embrace each other, if it were only proper. Oh, it is true, my friend, man is naturally a serious animal. We must work against this shameful and abominable propensity with all our strength, and attack it from all sides. To that end ambiguities are also good, except that they are so seldom ambiguous. When they are not and allow only one interpretation, that is not immoral, it is only obtrusive and vulgar. Frivolous talk must be spiritual and dainty and modest, so far as possible; for the rest as wicked as you choose."

"That is well enough, but what place have your ambiguities in society?"

"To keep the conversations fresh, just as salt keeps food fresh. The question is not why we say them, but how we say them. It would be rude indeed to talk with a charming lady as if she were a sexless Amphibium. It is a duty and an obligation to allude constantly to what she is and is going to be. It is really a comical situation, considering how indelicate, stiff and guilty society is, to be an innocent girl."

"That reminds me of the famous Buffo, who, while he was always making others laugh, was so sad and solemn himself."

"Society is a chaos which can be brought into harmonious order only by wit. If one does not jest and toy with the elements of passion, it forms thick masses and darkens everything."

"Then there must be passion in the air here, for it is almost dark."

"Surely you have closed your eyes, lady of my heart! Otherwise the light in them would brighten the whole room."

"I wonder, Julius, who is the more passionate, you or I?"

"Both of us are passionate enough. If that were not so, I should not want to live. And see! That is why I could reconcile myself to jealousy. There is everything in love—friendship, pleasant intercourse, sensuality, and even passion. Everything must be in it, and one thing must strengthen, mitigate, enliven and elevate the other."

"Let me embrace you, darling."

"But only on one condition can I allow you to be jealous. I have often felt that a little bit of cultured and refined anger does not ill-become a man. Perhaps it is the same way with you in regard to jealousy."

"Agreed! Then I do not have to abjure it altogether."

"If only you always manifest it as prettily and as wittily as you did today."

"Did I? Well, if next time you get into so pretty and witty a passion about it, I shall say so and praise you for it."

"Are we not worthy now to conciliate the offended gods?"

"Yes, if your discourse is entirely finished; otherwise give me the rest." [32]

METAMORPHOSES

The childlike spirit slumbers in sweet repose, and the kiss of the loving goddess arouses in him only light dreams. The rose of shame tinges his cheek; he smiles and seems to open his lips, but he does not awaken and he knows not what is going on within him. Not until after the charm of the external world, multiplied and reinforced by an inner echo, has completely permeated his entire being, does he open his eyes, reveling in the sun, and recall to mind the magic world which he saw in the gleam of the pale moonlight. The wondrous voice that awakened him is still audible, but instead of answering him it echoes back from external objects. And if in childish timidity he tries to escape from the mystery of his existence, seeking the unknown with beautiful curiosity, he hears everywhere only the echo of his own longing.

Thus the eye sees in the mirror of the river only the reflection of the blue sky, the green banks, the waving trees, and the form of the absorbed gazer. When a heart, full of unconscious love, finds itself where it hoped to find love in return, it is struck with amazement. But we soon allow ourselves to be lured and deceived by the charm of the view into loving our own reflection. Then has the moment of winsomeness come, the soul fashions its envelop again, and breathes the final breath of perfection through form. The spirit loses itself in its clear depth and finds itself again, like Narcissus, as a flower.

Love is higher than winsomeness, and how soon would the flower of Beauty wither without the complementary birth of requited love. This moment the kiss of Amor and Psyche is the rose of life. The inspired Diotima revealed to Socrates only a half of love. Love is not merely a quiet longing for the infinite; it is also the holy enjoyment of a beautiful present. It is not merely a mixture, a transition from the mortal to the immortal, but it is a complete union of both. There is a pure love, an indivisible and simple feeling, without the slightest interference of restless striving. Every one gives the same as he takes, one just like the other, all is balanced and completed in itself, like the everlasting kiss of the divine children.

By the magic of joy the grand chaos of struggling forms dissolves into a harmonious sea of oblivion. When the ray of happiness breaks in the last tear of longing, Iris is already adorning the eternal brow of heaven with the delicate tints of her many-colored rainbow. Sweet dreams come true, and the pure forms of a new generation rise up out of Lethe's waves, beautiful as Anadyomene, and exhibit their limbs in the place of the vanished darkness. In golden youth and innocence time and man change in the divine peace of nature, and evermore Aurora comes back more beautiful than before.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 24749
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Lucinda, by Friedrich Schlegel

Postby admin » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:14 am

Part 2 of 2

Not hate, as the wise say, but love, separates people and fashions the world; and only in its light can we find this and observe it. Only in the answer of its Thou can every I completely feel its endless unity. Then the understanding tries to unfold the inner germ of godlikeness, presses closer and closer to the goal, is full of eagerness to fashion the soul, as an artist fashions his one beloved masterpiece. In the mysteries of culture the spirit sees the play and the laws of caprice and of life. The statue of Pygmalion moves; a joyous shudder comes over the astonished artist in the consciousness of his own immortality, and, as the eagle bore Ganymede, a divine hope bears him on its mighty pinion up to Olympus.

TWO LETTERS

I

Is it then really and truly so, what I have so often quietly wished for and have never dared to express? I see the light of holy joy beaming on your face, and you modestly give me the beautiful promise. You are to be a mother!

Farewell, Longing, and thou, gentle Grief, farewell; the world is beautiful again. Now I love the earth, and the rosy dawn of a new spring lifts its radiant head over my immortal existence. If I had some laurel, I would bind it around your brow to consecrate you to new and serious duties; for there begins now for you another life. Therefore, give to me the wreath of myrtle. It befits me to adorn myself with the symbol of youthful innocence, since I now wander in Nature's Paradise. Hitherto all that held us together was love and passion. Now Nature has united us more firmly with an indissoluble bond. Nature is the only true priestess of joy; she alone knows how to tie the nuptial knot, not with empty words that bring no blessing, but with fresh blossoms and living fruits from the fullness of her power. In the endless succession of new forms creating Time plaits the wreath of Eternity, and blessed is he whom Fortune selects to be healthy and bear fruit. We are not sterile flowers among other living beings; the gods do not wish to exclude us from the great concatenation of living things, and are giving us plain tokens of their will.

So let us deserve our position in this beautiful world, let us bear the immortal fruits which the spirit chooses to create, and let us take our place in the ranks of humanity. I will establish myself on the earth, I will sow and reap for the future as well as for the present. I will utilize all my strength during the day, and in the evening I will refresh myself in the arms of the mother, who will be eternally my bride. Our son, the demure little rogue, will play around us, and help me invent mischief at your expense.

* * * * *

You are right; we must certainly buy the little estate. I am glad that you went right ahead with the arrangements, without waiting for my decision. Order everything just as you please; but, if I may say so, do not have it too beautiful, nor yet too useful, and, above all things, not too elaborate.

If you only arrange it all in accordance with your own judgment and do not allow yourself to be talked into the proper and conventional, everything will be quite right, and the way I want it to be; and I shall derive immense enjoyment from the beautiful property. Hitherto I have lived in a thoughtless way and without any feeling of ownership; I have tripped lightly over the earth and have never felt at home on it. Now the sanctuary of marriage has given me the rights of citizenship in the state of nature. I am no longer suspended in the empty void of general inspiration; I like the friendly restraint, I see the useful in a new light, and find everything truly useful that unites everlasting love with its object—in short everything that serves to bring about a genuine marriage. External things imbue me with profound respect, if, in their way, they are good for something; and you will some day hear me enthusiastically praise the blessedness of home and the merits of domesticity.

I understand now your preference for country life, I like you for it and feel as you do about it. I can no longer endure to see these ungainly masses of everything that is corrupt and diseased in mankind; and when I think about them in a general way they seem to me like wild animals bound by a chain, so that they cannot even vent their rage freely. In the country, people can live side by side without offensively crowding one another. If everything were as it ought to be, beautiful mansions and cosy cottages would there adorn the green earth, as do the fresh shrubs and flowers, and create a garden worthy of the gods.

To be sure we shall find in the country the vulgarity that prevails everywhere. There ought really to be only two social classes, the culturing and the cultured, the masculine and the feminine; instead of all artificial society, there should be a grand marriage of these two classes and universal brotherhood of all individuals. In place of that we see a vast amount of coarseness and, as an insignificant exception, a few who are perverted by a wrong education. But in the open air the one thing which is beautiful and good cannot be suppressed by the bad masses and their show of omnipotence.

Do you know what period of our love seems to me particularly beautiful? To be sure, it is all beautiful and pure in my memory, and I even think of the first days with a sort of melancholy delight. But to me the most cherished period of all is the last few days, when we were living together on the estate. Another reason for living again in the country.

One thing more. Do not have the grapevines trimmed too close. I say this only because you thought they were growing too fast and luxuriantly, and because it might occur to you to want a perfectly clear view of the house on all sides. Also the green grass-plot must stay as it is; that is where the baby is to crawl and play and roll about.

Is it not true that the pain my sad letter caused you is now entirely compensated? In the midst of all these giddy joys and hopes I can no longer torment myself with care. You yourself suffered no greater pain from it than I. But what does that matter, if you love me, really love me in your very heart, without any reservation of alien thought? What pain were worth mentioning when we gain by it a deeper and more fervid consciousness of our love? And so, I am sure, you feel about it too. Everything I am telling you, you knew long ago. There is absolutely no delight, no love in me, the cause of which does not lie concealed somewhere in the depths of your being, you everlastingly blessed creature!

Misunderstandings are sometimes good, in that they lead us to talk of what is holiest. The differences that now and then seem to arise are not in us, not in either of us; they are merely between us and on the surface, and I hope you will take this occasion to drive them off and away from you.

And what is the cause of such little repulsions except our mutual and insatiable desire to love and be loved? And without this insatiableness there is no love. We live and love to annihilation. And if it is love that first develops us into true and perfect beings, that is the very life of life, then it need not fear opposition any more than it fears life itself or humanity; peace will come to it only after the conflict of forces.

I feel happy indeed that I love a woman who is capable of loving as you do. "As you do" is a stronger expression than any superlative. How can you praise my words, when I, without wishing to, hit upon some that hurt you? I should like to say, I write too well to be able to describe to you my inward state of mind. Oh, dearest! Believe me, there is no question in you that has not its answer in me. Your love cannot be any more everlasting than mine. Admirable, however, is your beautiful jealousy of my fancy and its wild flights. That indicates rightly the boundlessness of your constancy, and leads me to hope that your jealousy is on the point of destroying itself by its own excess.

This sort of fancy—committed to writing—is no longer needed. I shall soon be with you. I am holier and more composed than I was. I can only see you in my mind and stand always before you. You yourself feel everything without my telling you, and beam with joy, thinking partly of the man you love and partly of your baby.

* * * * *

Do you know, while I have been writing to you, no memory could have profaned you; to me you are as everlastingly pure as the Holy Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, and you have wanted nothing to make you like the Madonna except the Child. Now you have that, now it is there and a reality. I shall soon be carrying him on my arm, telling him fairy-tales, giving him serious instruction and lessons as to how a young man has to conduct himself in the world.

And then my mind reverts to the mother. I give you an endless kiss; I watch your bosom heave with longing, and feel the mysterious throbbing of your heart. When we are together again we will think of our youth, and I will keep the present holy. You are right indeed; one hour later is infinitely later.

It is cruel that I cannot be with you right now. From sheer impatience I do all sorts of foolish things. From morning until night I do nothing but rove around here in this glorious region. Sometimes I hasten my steps, as if I had something terribly important to do, and presently find myself in some place where I had not the least desire to be. I make gestures as if I were delivering a forcible speech; I think I am alone and suddenly find myself among people. Then I have to smile when I realize how absent-minded I was.

I cannot write very long either; pretty soon I want to go out again and dream away the beautiful evening on the bank of the quiet stream.

Today I forgot among other things that it was time to send my letter off. Oh well, so much the more joy and excitement will you have when you receive it.

* * * * *

People are really very good to me. They not only forgive me for not taking any part in their conversation, but also for capriciously interrupting it. In a quiet way they seem even to derive hearty pleasure from my joy. Especially Juliana. I tell her very little about you, but she has a good intuition and surmises the rest. Certainly there is nothing more amiable than pure, unselfish delight in love.

I really believe that I should love my friends here, even if they were less admirable than they are. I feel a great change in my being, a general tenderness and sweet warmth in all the powers of my soul and spirit, like the beautiful exhaustion of the senses that follows the highest life. And yet it is anything but weakness. On the contrary, I know that from now on I shall be able to do everything pertaining to my vocation with more liking and with fresher vigor. I have never felt more confidence and courage to work as a man among men, to lead a heroic life, and in joyous fraternal coöperation to act for eternity.

That is my virtue; thus it becomes me to be like the gods. Yours is gently to reveal, like Nature's priestess of joy, the mystery of love; and, surrounded by worthy sons and daughters, to hallow this beautiful life into a holy festival.

* * * * *

I often worry about your health. You dress yourself too lightly and are fond of the evening air; those are dangerous habits and are not the only ones which you must break. Remember that a new order of things is beginning for you. Hitherto I have praised your frivolity, because it was opportune and in keeping with the rest of your nature. I thought it feminine for you to play with Fortune, to flout caution, to destroy whole masses of your life and environment. Now, however, there is something that you must always bear in mind, and regard above everything else. You must gradually train yourself—in the allegorical sense, of course.

* * * * *

In this letter everything is all mixed up in a motley confusion, just as praying and eating and rascality and ecstasy are mixed up in life. Well, good night. Oh, why is it that I cannot at least be with you in my dreams—be really with you and dream in you. For when I merely dream of you, I am always alone. You wonder why you do not dream of me, since you think of me so much. Dearest, do you not also have your long spells of silence about me?

* * * * *

Amalia's letter gave me great pleasure. To be sure, I see from its flattering tone that she does not consider me as an exception to the men who need flattery. I do not like that at all. It would not be fair to ask her to recognize my worth in our way. It is enough that there is one who understands me. In her way she appreciates my worth so beautifully. I wonder if she knows what adoration is? I doubt it, and am sorry for her if she does not. Aren't you?

* * * * *

Today in a French book about two lovers I came across the expression: "They were the universe to each other." It struck me as at once pathetic and comical, how that thoughtless phrase, put there merely as a hyperbolical figure of speech, in our case was so literally true. Still it is also literally true for a French passion of that kind. They are the universe to each other, because they lose sense for everything else. Not so with us. Everything we once loved we still love all the more ardently. The world's meaning has now dawned upon us. Through me you have learned to know the infinitude of the human mind, and through you I have come to understand marriage and life, and the gloriousness of all things.

Everything is animate for me, speaks to me, and everything is holy. When people love each other as we do, human nature reverts to its original godliness. The pleasure of the lover's embrace becomes again—what it is in general—the holiest marvel of Nature. And that which for others is only something to be rightly ashamed of, becomes for us, what in and of itself it is, the pure fire of the noblest potency of life.

* * * * *

There are three things which our child shall certainly have—a great deal of wanton spirit, a serious face, and a certain amount of predisposition for art. Everything else I await with quiet resignation. Son or daughter, as for that I have no special preference. But about the child's bringing-up I have thought a great, great deal. We must carefully avoid, I think, what is called "education;" try harder to avoid it than, say, three sensible fathers try, by anxious thought, to lace up their progeny from the very cradle in the bands of narrow morality.

I have made some plans which I think will please you. In doing so I have carefully considered your ideas. But you must not neglect the Art! For your daughter, if it should be a daughter, would you prefer portrait-or landscape-painting?

* * * * *

You foolish girl, with your external things! You want to know what is going on around me, and where and when and how I live and amuse myself? Just look around you, on the chair beside you, in your arms, close to your heart—that is where I am. Does not a ray of longing strike you, creep up with sweet warmth to your heart, until it reaches your mouth, where it would fain overflow in kisses?

And now you actually boast because you write me such warm letters, while I only write to you often, you pedantic creature. At first I always think of you as you describe it—that I am walking with you, looking at you, listening to you, talking with you. Then again it is sometimes quite different, especially when I wake up at night.

How can you have any doubt about the worthiness and divineness of your letters? The last one sparkles and beams as if it had bright eyes. It is not mere writing—it is music. I believe that if I were to stay away from you a few more months, your style would become absolutely perfect. Meanwhile I think it advisable for us to forget about writing and style, and no longer to postpone the highest and loveliest of studies. I have practically decided to set out in eight days.

II

It is a remarkable thing that man does not stand in great awe of himself. The children are justified, when they peep so curiously and timidly at a company of unknown faces. Each individual atom of everlasting time is capable of comprising a world of joy, and at the same time of opening up a fathomless abyss of pain and suffering. I understand now the old fairy-tale about the man whom the sorcerer allowed to live a great many years in a few moments. For I know by my own experience the terrible omnipotence of the fantasy.

Since the last letter from your sister—it is three days now—I have undergone the sufferings of an entire life, from the bright sunlight of glowing youth to the pale moonlight of sagacious old age. Every little detail she wrote about your sickness, taken with what I had already gleaned from the doctor and had observed myself, confirmed my suspicion that it was far more dangerous than you thought; indeed no longer dangerous, but decided, past hope. Lost in this thought and my strength entirely exhausted on account of the impossibility of hurrying to your side, my state of mind was really very disconsolate. Now for the first time I understand what it really was, being new-born by the joyful news that you are well again. For you are well again now, as good as entirely well—that I infer from all the reports, with the same confidence with which a few days ago I pronounced our death-sentence.

I did not think of it as about to happen in the future, or even in the present. Everything was already past. For a long time you had been wrapt in the bosom of the cold earth; flowers had started to grow on the beloved grave, and my tears had already begun to flow more gently. Mute and alone I stood, and saw nothing but the features I had loved and the sweet glances of the expressive eyes. The picture remained motionless before me; now and then the pale face smiled and seemed asleep, just as it had looked the last time I saw it. Then of a sudden the different memories all became confused; with unbelievable rapidity the outlines changed, reassumed their first form, and transformed themselves again and again, until the wild vision vanished. Only your holy eyes remained in the empty space and hung there motionless, even as the friendly stars shine eternally over our poverty. I gazed fixedly at the black lights, which shone with a well-known smile in the night of my grief. Now a piercing pain from dark suns burned me with an insupportable glare, now a beautiful radiance hovered about as if to entice me. Then I seemed to feel a fresh breath of morning air fan me; I held my head up and cried aloud: "Why should you torment yourself? In a few minutes you can be with her!"

I was already hastening to you, when suddenly a new thought held me back and I said to my spirit: "Unworthy man, you cannot even endure the trifling dissonances of this ordinary life, and yet you regard yourself as ready for and worthy of a higher life? Go away and do and suffer as your calling is, and then present yourself again when your orders have been executed."

Is it not to you also remarkable how everything on this earth moves toward the centre, how orderly everything is, how insignificant and trivial? So it has always seemed to me. And for that reason I suspect—if I am not mistaken, I have already imparted my suspicion to you—that the next life will be larger, and in the good as well as in the bad, stronger, wilder, bolder and more tremendous.

The duty of living had conquered, and I found myself again amid the tumult of human life, and of my and its weak efforts and faulty deeds. A feeling of horror came over me, as when a person suddenly finds himself alone in the midst of immeasurable mountains of ice. Everything about me and in me was cold and strange, and even my tears froze.

Wonderful worlds appeared and vanished before me in my uneasy dream. I was sick and suffered great pain, but I loved my sickness and welcomed the suffering. I hated everything earthly and was glad to see it all punished and destroyed. I felt so alone and so strangely. And as a delicate spirit often grows melancholy in the very lap of happiness over its own joy, and at the very acme of its existence becomes conscious of the futility of it all, so did I regard my suffering with mysterious pleasure. I regarded it as the symbol of life in general; I believed that I was seeing and feeling the everlasting discord by means of which all things come into being and exist, and the lovely forms of refined culture seemed dead and trivial to me in comparison with this monstrous world of infinite strength and of unending struggle and warfare, even into the most hidden depths of existence.

On account of this remarkable feeling sickness acquired the character of a peculiar world complete in itself. I felt that its mysterious life was richer and deeper than the vulgar health of the dreaming sleep-walkers all around me. And with the sickliness, which was not at all unpleasant, this feeling also clung to me and completely separated me from other men, just as I was sundered from the earth by the thought that your nature and my love had been too sacred not to take speedy flight from earth and its coarse ties. It seemed to me that all was right so, and that your unavoidable death was nothing more than a gentle awakening after a light sleep.

I too thought that I was awake when I saw your picture, which evermore transfigured itself into a cheerful diffused purity. Serious and yet charming, quite you and yet no longer you, the divine form irradiated by a wonderful light! Now it was like the terrible gleam of visible omnipotence, now like a soft ray of golden childhood. With long, still drafts my spirit drank from the cool spring of pure passion and became secretly intoxicated with it. And in this blissful drunkenness I felt a spiritual worthiness of a peculiar kind, because every earthly sentiment was entirely strange to me, and the feeling never left me that I was consecrated to death.

The years passed slowly by, and deeds and works advanced laboriously to their goal, one after the other—a goal that seemed as little mine as the deeds and works seemed to be what they are called. To me they were merely holy symbols, and everything brought me back to my one Beloved, who was the mediatrix between my dismembered ego and the one eternal and indivisible humanity; all existence was an uninterrupted divine service of solitary love.

Finally I became conscious that it was now nearly over. The brow was no longer smooth and the locks were becoming gray. My career was ended, but not completed. The best strength of life was gone, and still Art and Virtue stood ever unattainable before me. I should have despaired, had I not perceived and idolized both in you, gracious Madonna, and you and your gentle godliness in myself.

Then you appeared to me, beckoning with the summons of Death. An earnest longing for you and for freedom seized me; I yearned for my dear old fatherland, and was about to shake off the dust of travel, when I was suddenly called back to life by the promise and reassurance of your recovery.

Then I became conscious that I had been dreaming; I shuddered at all the significant suggestions and similarities, and stood anxiously by the boundless deep of this inward truth.

Do you know what has become most obvious to me as a result of it all? First, that I idolize you, and that it is a good thing that I do so. We two are one, and only in that way does a human being become one and a complete entity, that is, by regarding and poetically conceiving himself as the centre of everything and the spirit of the world. But why poetically conceive, since we find the germ of everything in ourselves, and yet remain forever only a fragment of ourselves?

And then I now know that death can also be felt as beautiful and sweet. I understand how the free creature can quietly long in the bloom of all its strength for dissolution and freedom, and can joyfully entertain the thought of return as a morning sun of hope.

A REFLECTION

It has often struck my mind how extraordinary it is that sensible and dignified people can keep on, with such great seriousness and such never-tiring industry, forever playing the little game in perpetual rotation—a game which is of no use whatever and has no definite object, although it is perhaps the earliest of all games. Then my spirit inquired what Nature, who everywhere thinks so profoundly and employs her cunning in such a large way, and who, instead of talking wittily, behaves wittily, may think of those naïve intimations which refined speakers designate only by their namelessness.

And this namelessness itself has an equivocal significance. The more modest and modern one is, the more fashionable does it become to put an immodest interpretation upon it. For the old gods, on the contrary, all life had a certain classic dignity whereby even the immodest heroic art is rendered lifelike. The mass of such works and the great inventive power displayed in them settles the question of rank and nobility in the realm of mythology.

This number and this power are all right, but they are not the highest. Where does the longed-for ideal lie concealed? Or does the aspiring heart evermore find in the highest of all plastic arts only new manners and never a perfected style?

Thinking has a peculiarity of its own in that, next to itself, it loves to think about something which it can think about forever. For that reason the life of the cultured and thinking man is a constant study and meditation on the beautiful riddle of his destiny. He is always defining it in a new way, for just that is his entire destiny, to be defined and to define. Only in the search itself does the human mind discover the secret that it seeks.

But what, then, is it that defines or is defined? Among men it is the nameless. And what is the nameless among women?—The Indefinite.

The Indefinite is more mysterious, but the Definite has greater magic power. The charming confusion of the Indefinite is more romantic, but the noble refinement of the Definite has more of genius. The beauty of the Indefinite is perishable, like the life of the flowers and the everlasting youth of mortal feelings; the energy of the Definite is transitory, like a genuine storm and genuine inspiration.

Who can measure and compare two things which have endless worth, when both are held together in the real Definiteness, which is intended to fill all gaps and to act as mediator between the male and female individual and infinite humanity?

The Definite and the Indefinite and the entire abundance of their definite and indefinite relations—that is the one and all, the most wonderful and yet the simplest, the simplest and yet the highest. The universe itself is only a toy of the Definite and the Indefinite; and the real definition of the definable is an allegorical miniature of the life and activity of ever-flowing creation.

With everlasting immutable symmetry both strive in different ways to get near to the Infinite and to escape from it. With light but sure advances the Indefinite expands its native wish from the beautiful centre of Finiteness into the boundless. Complete Definiteness, on the other hand, throws itself with a bold leap out of the blissful dream of the infinite will into the limits of the finite deed, and by self-refinement ever increases in magnanimous self-restraint and beautiful self-sufficiency.

In this symmetry is also revealed the incredible humor with which consistent Nature accomplishes her most universal and her most simple antithesis. Even in the most delicate and most artistic organization these comical points of the great All reveal themselves, like a miniature, with roguish significance, and give to all individuality, which exists only by them and by the seriousness of their play, its final rounding and perfection.

Through this individuality and that allegory the bright ideal of witty sensuality blooms forth from the striving after the Unconditioned.

Now everything is clear! Hence the omnipresence of the nameless, unknown divinity. Nature herself wills the everlasting succession of constantly repeated efforts; and she wills, too, that every individual shall be complete, unique and new in himself—a true image of the supreme, indivisible Individuality. Sinking deeper into this Individuality, my Reflection took such an individual turn that it presently began to cease and to forget itself.

"What point have all these allusions, which with senseless sense on the outward boundaries of sensuality, or rather in the middle of it, I will not say play, but contend with, each other?"

So you will surely ask, and so the good Juliana would ask, though no doubt in different language.

Dear Beloved! Shall the nosegay contain only demure roses, quiet forget-me-nots, modest violets and other maidenlike and childlike flowers? May it not contain anything and everything that shines strangely in wonderful glory?

Masculine awkwardness is a manifold thing, and rich in blossoms and fruits of all kinds. Let the wonderful plant, which I will not name, have its place. It will serve at least as a foil to the bright-gleaming pomegranate and the yellow oranges. Or should there be, perhaps, instead of this motley abundance, only one perfect flower, which combines all the beauties of the rest and renders their existence superfluous?

I do not apologize for doing what I should rather like to do again, with full confidence in your objective sense for the artistic productions of the awkwardness which, often and not unwillingly, borrows the material for its creations from masculine inspiration.

It is a soft Furioso and a clever Adagio of friendship. You will be able to learn various things from it; that men can hate with as uncommon delicacy as you can love; that they then remold a wrangle, after it is over, into a distinction; and that you may make as many observations about it as pleases you.

JULIUS To ANTONIO

You have changed a great deal of late. Beware, my friend, that you do not lose your sense for the great before you realize it. What will that mean? You will finally acquire so much modesty and delicacy that heart and feeling will be lost. Where then will be your manhood and your power of action? I shall yet come to the point of treating you as you treat me, since we have not been living with each other, but near each other. I shall have to set limits for you and say: Even if he has a sense for everything else that is beautiful, still he lacks all sense for friendship. Still I shall never set myself up as a moral critic of my friend and his conduct; he who can do that does not deserve the rare good fortune to have a friend.

That you wrong yourself first of all only makes the matter worse. Tell me seriously, do you think there is virtue in these cool subtleties of feeling, in these cunning mental gymnastics, which consume the marrow of a man's life and leave him hollow inside?

For a long time I was resigned and said nothing. I did not doubt at all that you, who know so much, would also probably know the causes that have destroyed our friendship. It almost seems as if I was mistaken, since you were so astonished at my attaching myself to Edward and asked how you had offended me, as if you did not understand it. If it were only that, only some one thing like that, then it would not be worth while to ask such a painful question; the question would answer and settle itself. But is it not more than that, when on every occasion I must feel it a fresh desecration to tell you everything about Edward, just as it happened? To be sure you have done nothing, have not even said anything aloud; but I know and see very well how you think about it. And if I did not know it and see it, where would be the invisible communion of our spirits and the beautiful magic of this communion? It certainly cannot occur to you to want to hold back still longer, and by sheer finesse to try to end the misunderstanding; for otherwise I should myself really have nothing more to say.

You two are unquestionably separated by an everlasting chasm. The quiet, clear depth of your being and the hot struggle of his restless life lie at the opposite ends of human existence. He is all action, you are a sensitive, contemplative nature. For that reason you should have sense for everything, and you really do have it, save when you cultivate an intentional reserve. And that really vexes me. Better that you should hate the noble fellow than misjudge him. But where will it lead, if you unnaturally accustom yourself to use your utmost wit in finding nothing but the commonplace in what little of greatness and beauty there is in him, and that without renouncing your claim to a liberal mind?

Is that your boasted many-sidedness? To be sure you observe the principle of equality, and one man does not fare much better than another, except that each one is misunderstood in a peculiar way. Have you not also forced me to say nothing to you, or to anyone else, about that which I feel to be the highest? And that merely because you could not hold back your opinion until it was the proper time, and because your mind is always imagining limitations in others before it can find its own. You have almost obliged me to explain to you how great my own worth really is; how much more just and safe it would have been, if now and then you had not passed judgment but had believed; if you had presupposed in me an unknown infinite.

To be sure my own negligence is to blame for it all. Perhaps too it was idiosyncrasy—that I wanted to share with you the entire present, without letting you know anything about the past and the future. Somehow it went against my feelings, and I regarded it too as superfluous; for, as a matter of fact, I gave you credit for a great deal of intelligence.

O Antonio, if I could be doubtful about the eternal truths, you might have brought me to the point of regarding that quiet, beautiful friendship, which is based merely upon the harmony of being and living together, as something false and perverse.

Is it now still incomprehensible if I quite go over to the other side? I renounce refined enjoyment and plunge into the wild battle of life. I hasten to Edward. Everything is agreed upon. We will not only live together, but we will work and act in fraternal unison. He is rough and uncouth, his virtue is strong rather than sensitive. But he has a great manly heart, and in better times than ours he would have been, I say it boldly, a hero.

II

It is no doubt well that we have at last talked with each other again. I am quite content, too, that you did not wish to write, and that you spoke slightingly of poor innocent letters because you really have more genius for talking. But I have in my heart one or two things more that I could not say to you, and will now endeavor to intimate with the pen.

But why in this way? Oh, my friend, if I only knew of a more refined and subtle mode of communicating my thoughts from afar in some exquisite form! To me conversation is too loud, too near, and also too disconnected. These separate words always present one side only, a part of the connected, coherent whole, which I should like to intimate in its complete harmony.

And can men who are going to live together be too tender toward each other in their intercourse? It is not as if I were afraid of saying something too strong, and for that reason avoided speaking of certain persons and certain affairs. So far as that is concerned, I think that the boundary line between us is forever destroyed.

What I still had to say to you is something very general, and yet I prefer to choose this roundabout way. I do not know whether it is false or true delicacy, but I should find it very hard to talk with you, face to face, about friendship. And yet it is thoughts on that subject that I wish to convey to you. The application—and it is about that I am most concerned—you will yourself easily be able to make.

To my mind there are two kinds of friendship. The first is entirely external. Insatiably it rushes from deed to deed, receives every worthy man into the great alliance of united heroes, ties the old knot tighter by means of every virtue, and ever aspires to win new brothers; the more it has, the more it wants. Call to mind the antique world and you will find this friendship, which wages honest war against all that is bad, even were it in ourselves or in the beloved friend—you will find this friendship everywhere, where noble strength exerts influence on great masses, and creates or governs worlds. Now times are different; but the ideal of this friendship will stay with me as long as I live.

The other friendship is entirely internal. A wonderful symmetry of the most intimately personal, as if it had been previously ordained that one should always be perfecting himself. All thoughts and feelings become social through the mutual excitation and development of the holiest. And this purely spiritual love, this beautiful mysticism of intercourse, does not merely hover as the distant goal of a perhaps futile effort. No, it is only to be found complete. There no deception occurs, as in that other heroic form. Whether a man's virtue will stand the test, his actions must show. But he who inwardly sees and feels humanity and the world will not be apt to look for public disinterestedness where it is not to be found.

He only is capable of this friendship who is quite composed within himself, and who knows how to honor with humility the divinity of the other.

When the gods have bestowed such friendship upon a man, he can do nothing more than protect it carefully against everything external, and guard its holy being. For the delicate flower is perishable.

LONGING AND PEACE

Lightly dressed, Lucinda and Julius stood by the window in the summer-house, refreshing themselves in the cool morning air. They were absorbed in watching the rising sun, which the birds were welcoming with their joyous songs.

"Julius," asked Lucinda, "why is it that I feel a deep longing in this serene peace?"

"It is only in longing that we find peace," answered Julius. "Yes, there is peace only when the spirit is entirely free to long and to seek, where it can find nothing higher than its own longing."

"Only in the peace of the night," said Lucinda, "do longing and love shine full and bright, like this glorious sun."

"And in the daytime," responded Julius, "the happiness of love shines dimly, even as the pale moonlight."

"Or it appears and vanishes suddenly into the general darkness," added Lucinda, "like those flashes of lightning which lighted up the room when the moon was hidden."

"Only in the night," said Julius, "does the little nightingale utter wails and deep sighs. Only in the night does the flower shyly open and breathe freely the fragrant air, intoxicating both mind and senses in equal delight. Only in the night, Lucinda, does the bold speech of deep passion flow divinely from the lips, which in the noise of the day close with tender pride their sweet sanctuary."

LUCINDA

It is not I, my Julius, whom you portray as so holy; although I would fain wail like the nightingale, and although I am, as I inwardly feel, consecrated to the night. It is you, it is the wonderful flower of your fantasy which you perceive in me, when the noise has died down and nothing commonplace distracts your noble mind.

JULIUS

Away with modesty and flattery! Remember, you are the priestess of the night. Even in the daylight the dark lustre of your abundant hair, the bright black of your earnest eyes, the majesty of your brow and your entire body, all proclaim it.

LUCINDA

My eyes droop while you praise, because the noisy morning dazzles and the joyous songs of the merry birds strengthen and awe my soul. At another time my ear would eagerly drink in my lovely friend's sweet talk here in the quiet, dark coolness of the evening.

JULIUS

It is not vain fantasy. My longing for you is constant and everlastingly unsatisfied.

LUCINDA

Be it what it may, you are the object in which my being finds peace.

JULIUS

Holy peace, dear friend, I have found only in that longing.

LUCINDA

And I have found that holy longing in this beautiful peace.

JULIUS

Alas, that the garish light is permitted to lift the veil that so concealed those flames, that the play of the senses was fain to cool and assuage the burning soul.

LUCINDA

And so sometimes the cold and serious day will annihilate the warm night of life, when youth flies by and I renounce you, even as you once more greatly renounced great love.

JULIUS

Oh, that I might show you my unknown friend, and her the wonder of my wondrous happiness.

LUCINDA

You love her still and will love her forever, though forever mine.
That is the wonder of your wondrous heart.

JULIUS

No more wondrous than yours. I see you, clasped against my breast, playing with your Guido's locks, while we twain in brotherly union adorn your serious brow with eternal wreaths of joy.

LUCINDA

Let rest in darkness, bring not forth into light, that which blooms sacredly in the quiet depths of the heart.

JULIUS

Where may the billow of life be sporting with the impulsive youth whom tender feeling and wild fate vehemently dragged into the harsh world?

LUCINDA

Uniquely transfigured, the pure image of the noble Unknown shines in the blue sky of your pure soul.

JULIUS

Oh eternal longing! But surely the futile desire, the vain glare, of the day will grow dim and go out, and there will be forever more the restful feeling of a great night of love.

LUCINDA

Thus does the woman's heart in my ardent breast feel, when I am allowed to be as I am. It longs only for your longing, and is peaceful where you find peace.

DALLYINGS OF THE FANTASY

Life itself, the delicate child of the gods, is crowded out by the hard, loud preparations for living, and is pitifully stifled in the loving embrace of apelike Care.

To have purposes, to carry out purposes, to interweave purposes artfully with purposes for a purpose: this habit is so deeply rooted in the foolish nature of godlike man, that if once he wishes to move freely, without any purpose, on the inner stream of ever-flowing images and feelings, he must actually resolve to do it and make it a set purpose.

It is the acme of intelligence to keep silent from choice, to surrender the soul to the fantasy, and not to disturb the sweet dallyings of the young mother with her child. But rarely is the mind so intelligent after the golden age of its innocence. It would fain possess the soul alone; and even when she supposes herself alone with her natural love, the understanding listens furtively and substitutes for the holy child's-play mere memories of former purposes or prospects of new ones. Yes, it even continues to give to the hollow, cold illusions a tinge of color and a fleeting heat; and thus by its imitative skill it tries to steal from the innocent fantasy its very innermost being.

But the youthful soul does not allow itself to be cheated by the cunning of the prematurely old Understanding, and is always watching while its darling plays with the beautiful pictures of the beautiful world. Willingly she allows her brow to be adorned with the wreaths which the child plaits from the blossoms of life, and willingly she sinks into waking slumber, dreaming of the music of love, hearing the friendly and mysterious voices of the gods, like the separate sounds of a distant romance.

Old, well-known feelings make music from the depths of the past and the future. They touch the listening spirit but lightly, and quickly lose themselves in the background of hushed music and dim love. Every one lives and loves, complains and rejoices, in beautiful confusion. Here at a noisy feast the lips of all the joyful guests open in general song, and there the lonely maiden becomes mute in the presence of the friend in whom she would fain confide, and with smiling mouth refuses the kiss. Thoughtfully I strew flowers on the grave of the prematurely dead son, flowers which presently, full of joy and hope, I offer to the bride of the beloved brother; while the high priestess beckons to me and holds out her hand for a solemn covenant to swear by the pure eternal fire eternal purity and never-dying enthusiasm. I hasten away from the altar and the priestess to seize my sword and plunge with the host of heroes into a battle, which I soon forget, seeing in the deepest solitude only the sky and myself.

The soul that has such dreams in sleep continues to have them even when it is awake. It feels itself entwined by the blossoms of love, it takes care not to destroy the loose wreaths; it gladly gives itself up a prisoner, consecrates itself to the fantasy, and willingly allows itself to be ruled by the child, which rewards all maternal cares by its sweet playfulness.

Then a fresh breath of the bloom of youth and a halo of child-like ecstasy comes over the whole of life. The man deifies his Beloved, the mother her child, and all men everlasting humanity.

Now the soul understands the wail of the nightingale and the smile of the new-born babe; the significance of the flowers and the mysterious hieroglyphics of the starry sky; the holy import of life as well as the beautiful language of Nature. All things speak to it, and everywhere it sees the lovely spirit through the delicate envelope.

On this gaily decorated floor it glides through the light dance of life, innocent, and concerned only to follow the rhythm of sociability and friendship, and not to disturb the harmony of love. And during it all an eternal song, of which it catches now and then a few words which adumbrate still higher wonders.

Ever more beautifully this magic circle encompasses the charmed soul, and that which it forms or speaks sounds like a wonderful romance of childhood's beautiful and mysterious divinities—a romantic tale, accompanied by the bewitching music of the feelings, and adorned with the fairest flowers of lovely life.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 24749
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 0 guests