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collected and combined-perhaps after death has for ever put a stop to the chance of their being retouched or altered by the hand by which they were originally drawn.
Such, we think, will be found to be the case with the Letters of Schiller and Goethe. Many of them, it is true, might have been omitted entirely, with advantage to the interest of the collection; others are full of details, which, if interesting at all, can only be so from the character of the men to whom they relate. Commissions for the purchase of carpets-presents of biscuit-dissertations on fine paper copies, and coarse paper copies and covers for periodicals, white, black, and grey, 'with all their trumpery'-thoughts on colds and meazles, rheumatism, and the other ills which poor Schiller, in particular, was heir to these, and many other such matters of no special moment, must be put up with, because the very homeliness and familiarity of these details are our guarantee for the confidential sincerity of the rest. But with these are intermingled acute and profound observations on literature and life-free and eloquent speculation on philosophical opinions-many lights as to the origin and progress of their respective literary enterprisestheir habits of study and composition-their hopes and fears as to the great and stormy events, the moral and political revolutions which were passing around them-their views, on some points, harmonizing,-in others, standing opposed to each other, in strong contrast, both in their substance and in the manner in which they are advocated and illustrated. Schiller writes with the earnestness, the logical sequence, and amplitude of one who arrives at his conclusions by patient progressive investigation. He cannot discuss his subject in a sentence, or content himself with a hint or shadow of his meaning. Goethe, on the contrary, leaps lightly from one point of his argument to another, and reaches his mark with rapidity; more comprehensive in his views, more diffusive in his sympathies, he has more subjects that interest him, and less time to bestow on any one in particular; more tempered in his feelings, he is often calm and composed where his friend was all fire and vehemence. The one writes with a stoical energy, the other with an almost epicurean tranquillity.
We have said almost, for it would be injustice to Goethe to assimilate him even to the best of that sect to which we have alluded. At the time when he was first brought into contact with Schiller, his opinions, literary and moral, might be considered as pretty completely formed; some modification may since have been made, but the grand outlines continue the same. Already the fabric of his mind displayed that singular symmetry
and harmony of parts, which, as when we look at St Peter's, makes us for a moment forget its vastness. The colossal and conflicting masses which had at first seemed to lie about, without connexion, had all, by culture and discipline, been built up, and fused together with a compactness and felicity of adjustment, of which literary history scarcely affords a parallel: noiselessly and rapidly it had risen, almost like an exhalation, and already stood proudly eminent amidst the edifices which surrounded it.
But though the progress of Goethe's intellectual fabric had scarcely been marked, the change had indeed been almost a total one. Like most profound thinkers, he had had his share of the doubts, the gloomy despairing feelings, the thoughts that for a time wander through eternity, only to be driven back again to the realities of life, and of the despondency which the prospect of the world, with its many mysteries and contradictions, must excite in every mind which does not repose in confidence upon revealed religion, and the solution which it affords, or promises, of the perplexities of existence. The ideas thus fermenting in his mind, were brought to a height by the sudden death of his friend, Jerusalem: like water long on the point of freezing, they sprang into solidity by a touch, and Werther was the result; and all Germany was for a time overrun with insane pictures of sceptical gloom, and new editions of the 'Miseries of Human Life.'
But in healthy and vigorous minds, this state of feeling, though perhaps, like some of those disorders to which our bodily frame is subjected, it may even be useful in the ultimate formation of the constitution, cannot last long. The path which at first led us into darkness, if steadily pursued, guides us back again to the day. We soon come to perceive, that if life has many evils, it has also many comforts; that it is better to bear, and, where we can, to alleviate those evils, than to whine over them; nay, that in activity, moral and intellectual, a remedy may be found for many of those which appeared most formidable; that if joy be transient, misery is not immortal; if crime and selfishness too often sadden our hopes, some trait of selfdevotion, some emanation of that benevolence which makes the whole world akin, ever and anon occurs to revive our confidence, and to remind us that man is not entirely of the earth, earthy.
These considerations are forced upon us by our intercourse with our fellow-men; nor was it possible that they could long escape the observation of Goethe, in whom the reflective powers were as conspicuously developed from the first, as his imaginative faculties, and in whom good health, and natural cheerful
ness, were combined. Accordingly, the very utterance of his complaints through the mouth of Werther, seemed to have allayed his disorder; he had raved himself to rest; and while his countrymen were still enveloped in the tempest he had raised, and tossing in their cockboats on a sea of doubt, with the thick shadow of night overhead, he, the author of the storm, had worked his way through, and was looking quietly back upon the vexed ocean, with the firm ground of reason beneath his feet, and the guiding lights of Hope and Faith appearing to him again through a thousand openings in that still troubled but fast clearing sky.
It is not often that men escape thus unhurt from these moral storms. They generally leave some part of their stores behind them in their retreat. A man like Voltaire, for instance, attains tranquillity, or an appearance of tranquillity, by banishing passion, and extracting from the enigma of human life, nothing but materials for wit and sarcasm. His sympathy with the great and good, he throws behind him for ever, as a useless incumbrance. The man whose better feelings, and stronger faith, protect him from this unsatisfactory and hollow resource, too often forgets the practical in the visionary, and, absorbing himself in cloudy reveries, loses his sympathy with human life as it is, with its real interests and duties, and, of course, loses his hold on the feelings and sympathies of his fellow-men. But Goethe emerges from the limbo of doubt, without bating a jot or scruple of his varied gifts. He does not throw his wit overboard, in order to save his pathos; nor make shipwreck of his feeling, nor attempt to lighten his bark by getting rid of the heavy ballast of philosophy. Quietly and steadily he steers through all; he only keeps a firmer hold of the helm, and restores the equilibrium of his vessel, by balancing his antagonist forces against each other. He lands his whole freight in safety, and forthwith rebuilds his intellectual home from those varied stores, laying its foundations deep in the spirit of reverence, cementing its broad and massive front by the bands of reason, and gilding its airy and glittering pinnacles with the sunshine of wit and graceful humour. It is the Holy Alliance of the head and heart, in which neither compromises its independence, but each supports, and relieves, and elevates the other.
A change in a man's speculative views soon gives a corresponding tone to his writings, unless he be a mere imitator, who ouly reproduces the ideas of others, instead of drawing from his own stores of intellect and feeling. As society and nature present themselves to our view, so they are reflected back ;-harmonious and consistent, from the well-regulated mind,-faint
and wavering, from the vacillating,-perplexed and perplexing, from the disordered. The cheerful heart paints the world as it finds it, like a sunny landscape; the morbid mind depicts it like a sterile wilderness, palled with thick vapours, and dark as the valley of the shadow of death. It is the mirror, in short, on which it is caught, which lends to the face of nature the aspect of its own turbulence or tranquillity.
The softened spirit and calm extension of view which had opened upon Goethe's mind, could not fail shortly to manifest its influence in his theories of art and composition. The clamorous energy of Werther, his vain struggles against the rules of society, his angry questioning with his fate, no longer suit with his more tempered views; nay, at these stormy ejaculations he is now almost tempted to smile, if he can be moved to smile at any thing. Even a rude sketch of the reality of chivalrous life, like Goetz, now appears to him exaggerated-not perhaps exaggerated or untrue in itself, but unsuited to the purposes of art, which seeks to paint life as a whole,-not in fragments, but in its spirit and essence, and therefore is not satisfied with the partial and local, but aspires after general or universal truth. We may take a single captive with Sterne, shut him up in his dungeon, and send our hearers weeping to their beds' with the stern and iron truth of the picture; but then it is not a true picture of life as a whole, of that life whose joy and sorrow, crime and virtue, meanness and magnificence, jostle each other, and which, in its enlarged significance and moral meaning, can only be indicated by a work the spirit of which is varied, and tempered, and comprehensive as its own. Hence in these productions which characterise the second era of Goethe's apprenticeship, the first thing that strikes us, (and at first unquestionably with rather a disappointing feeling,) is the absence of all scenes of strong passion; -when our feelings, sympathizing with the tale, are yielding themselves to his spell, he suddenly, and with apparent caprice, leaves the point, and shoots off into some devious alley, into which we follow him at first with reluctance, till, without knowing how, we feel ourselves again absorbed in the new prospects to which he has introduced us. But this is, after all, no capricious diversion, but the practical exposition of that principle, which, considering every great literary composition as in itself a microcosm, thus endeavours to imitate the ever shifting variety of life, and, passing with a light touch over all the chords of feeling, tries to emulate its harmony, and to leave on the mind that resignation and tranquillity which arises from the comprehensive view of the present condition and future destiny of man. Thus, tranquillity is the grand feature of Goethe's mature
works; passion is always presented to us in its wane, rather than in its crisis; nothing engrosses, nothing overpowers: his sunshines, dimmed with a gentle haze, and fading away into transparent shade, come mellowed and refreshing upon the eye;while, stealing in upon the darkest spots in the bosom of night, we can trace the glimmering light and golden exhalations of the dawn.'
Schiller presents himself in some points in strong contrast to his friend. Many things had concurred to retard in him the growth of this moral serenity, or, as it might appear to many, indifference ;-to confine his sympathies to a narrower channel, and permanently to incline the balance of his mind towards solemnity and earnestness. He had suffered much from poverty, something also from political persecution; while illness, adding the evil of physical pain to other sources of discomfort, saddened, though it could not suppress, his activity of mind. Agitated, like Goethe, at an early stage of his history, with the same restless and gloomy spirit of enquiry and discontent with the world around him, he had given vent to his complaints and his doubts with the same exaggeration, in his Robbers and his Letters of Julius and Raphael. From this comfortless condition he too had emerged, but not with the same integrity of all his faculties, or with all his wealth so unharmed about him. Some portions of it are damaged; his sympathy with the lighter spirit of life is damped for ever; nor will those stores which he has saved cohere with the same compactness and cordial union as in the case of Goethe. Goethe, with the world smiling about him, with renewed health and constant activity, is open to all its influences, and, without leaving the field of reality, can oppose its light and ludicrous combinations as a counterpoise to its griefs and evils. But Schiller, to whom these views present themselves more rarely, and sicklied over with the cast of his own melancholy, must draw his topics of consolation, not so much from the actual as the future, by letting loose his imagination upon the ideal, and by exalting, spiritualizing, and deepening, the emotions with which in real life we are familiar. But, ever and anon, the spirit of deep reflection, the old Adam of metaphysical enquiry which had spoken in the mouth of Charles and Julius, comes over him; and the airy creations of the fancy, arrested in mid air, and suddenly subjected to a strict analysis beneath the cold grey light of philosophy, fade away into unsubstantial things. Instead of cordially uniting, the reason and the imagination, like Varro and Æmilius in the campaign against Hannibal, take the command on alternate days, and divided counsels, and inconsistent and wavering execution, are too often the natural result. When he