Has anyone seeking trial announced himself? Back to the agenda for the day! And hear me report that I, following a Master's duty, recommend a young knight who wishes to be elected, and this day seeks to become a Mastersinger! Sir Stolzing, come hither! Is that the way it's heading, Veit?
A knight? Should we be glad? Or is there a danger? In any case it carries much weight that Master Ponger speaks for him. Ein Junggesell muss es sein. Fragt nur den Sachs! Grober Gesell'! Ist jemand gemeld't, der Freiung begehrt? Mein Junker Stolzing, kommt herbei! Geht's da hinaus, Veit? Though I wish him good fortune I do not overlook the rules. Masters, put the questions! POGNER That question may be put aside, as I myself stand witness that he was born in free and noble wedlock: von Stolzing, Walther, from Franconia, well known to me from letters and documents.
The last of his line, he recently left his estate and castle and came hither to Nuremberg to become a burgher here. That's not good! SACHS As was long since decided by the Masters, whether lord or peasant does not matter: here it is only a question of Art, when someone desires to be a Mastersinger. WALTHER At the quiet hearth in winter time, when castle and courtyard were snowed up, I often read in an old book left to me by my ancestor how once Spring so sweetly laughed, and how it then soon awoke anew. Walter von der Vogelweide he was my master. Tut, Meister, die Fragen!
WALTHER When the meadow was free from frost and summertime returned, what previously in long winter nights the old book had told me now resounded loudly in the forests' splendour, I heard it ring out brightly: in the forest at Vogelweide I also learnt how sing. So your song will be in this vein? Shall I continue? I think the knight is in the wrong place.
SACHS That will soon become clear: if he has true Art and is a good guardian of it, what does it matter who taught him? Von Finken und Meisen lerntet ihr Meisterweisen? Das wird denn wohl auch darnach sein! WALTHER Was Winternacht, was Waldespracht, was Buch und Hain mich wiesen, was Dichtersanges Wundermacht tried in secret to disclose to me; what my horse's step at a trial of arms, what a round-dance at a marry gathering gave me to attend to thoughtfully: if I must exchange life's highest prize for song, in my own words and to my own melody it will flow into a unity for me as a Mastersong, if I understand aright, and pour out before you Masters.
Therefore, Master Beckmesser, shut yourself in alone! Seven faults he allows you, he marks them up with chalk there: if he incurs more than seven faults, then the knightly gentleman has sung his chance away. Drum allein, Meister Beckmesser, schliesst euch ein! Wohl gibt's mit der Kreide manche Qual. Er verneigt sich gegen Walther. He seats himself in the box He listens very carefully; but so that he doesn't undermine your courage, as might happen if you saw him, he leaves you in peace and shuts himself up here.
May God be with you. With the last words he stretches his head out with a scornfully familiar nod, then pulls across the front curtains, so that he becomes invisible KOTHNER to Walther What the guiding principles of your song should be, learn from the Table of Rules. The apprentices have taken the "Leges Tabulaturae" from the wall and are holding it out to Kothner, who reads from it Reading "Each unit of a Mastersong shall present a proper balance of its different sections, against which no one shall offend.
A section consist of two stanzas, which shall have the same melody; the stanza is a group of so many lines, the line has its rhyme at the end. Thereupon follows the Aftersong which is also to be so many lines long and have its own special melody which is not to occur in the stanza. Each Mastersong shall have several units in this ratio; and whoever composes a new song which does not for more than four syllabies encroach upon other Master's melodies - his song may win a -master's prize. Darauf so folgt der Abgesang, der sei auch etlich' Verse lang, und hab' sein' besond're Melodei, als nicht im Stollen zu finden sei.
Like the clanging of bells the throng of jubilation rings out! The forest, how soon it answers to the call which brought it new life, and struck up the sweet song of spring! During this, repeated groans of discouragement and scratchings of the chalk are heard from the Marker.
Walther hears them too, and after a momentary pause of discomposure continues. In a thorn-hedge, consumed with jealousy and grief, winter, grimly armed, had to hide himself away: with dry leaves rustling about him he lies in wait and plans how he might harm this joyful singing. That was the call in my breast when it was still ignorant of love. Er steht vom Stuhle auf Doch: fanget an! So rief es mir in der Brust, als noch ich von Liebe nicht wusst'. I felt it rising deep within me as if it were waking me from a dream; my heart with its quivering beats filled my whole bosom: my blood pounds all-powerfully, swollen by this new feeling; from a warm night and with superior strength this host of sighs swells to a sea in a wild tumult of bliss: the breast, how soon it answers the call which brought it new life: strike up the majestic song of love!
He holds out the slate, completely covered with chalk marks. My lady's praises am I only now reaching with my melody. You're finished here! Masters, look at the slate: in all my life there has been nothing like it! I shouldn't belive it, even if you all swear to it! Am I to remain unheard by all? You are angry. Die Brust mit Lust antwortet sie dem Ruf, der neu ihr Leben schuf; stimmt nun an das hehre Liebeslied.
Hier habt ihr vertan! Doch dass der Junker hier versungen hat, I'll first show before the Masters' assembly. To be sure, it will be a hard task: where begin, when there was no beginning nor end to it? Of false number and false grouping I'll make absolutely no mention: too short, too long, who might find an end there? Who would seriously call this a unit? I'll accuse him only of Blind Meaning; say, could a meaning be more meaningless?
I must admit no one could descry its end. It made one uneasy!
ZORN And nothing behind it! Or declare outright that he has sung his chance away? Not so fast! Not everyone shares your opinion. Zwar wird's 'ne harte Arbeit sein: wo beginnen, da wo nicht aus noch ein? Wer meint hier im Ernst einen Bar? Auf "blinde Meinung" klag' ich allein, Sagt, konnt' ein Sinn unsinniger sein? Es ward einem bang! ZORN Auch gar nichts dahinter! Nicht so geeilt! Nicht jeder eure Meinung teilt. If you wish to measure according to rules something which does not agree with your rules, forget your own ways, and first seek its rules!
That's right! Now you hear it: Sachs is opening a loop-hole for bunglers who come and go as they please and follow their own frivolous course. Sing to the people on the market-place and in the streets; here admittance is only by the rules. Why so little calm? Your judgement, it seems to me, would be more mature if you listened more carefully. That's why I'll finish by sayng that we must hear the knight to the end. But it is written: "The Marker shall be so disposed that neiter hatred nor love obscure the judgement which he gives.
Des Ritters Lied und Weise, sie fand ich neu, doch nicht verwirrt; verliess er unsre Gleise, schritt er doch fest und unbeirrt. Wollt ihr nach Regeln messen, was nicht nach eurer Regeln Lauf, der eignen Spur vergessen, sucht davon erst die Regeln auf! Singet dem Volk auf Markt und Gassen! Hier wird nach den Regeln nur eingelassen. Was doch so wenig Ruh'! Rather should he take care that nothing pinches my toes! But since my cobbler is a great poet thinas look bad for my footwear! Look how sloppy they are, they flap everywhere! All his verses and rhymes I'd glady have him leave at home, histories, plays, and farces too if he'd bring me my new shoes tomorrow!
SACHS You do right to remind me; but is it fitting, Masters, tell me, that, if I make a little verse for even the donkey-driver's soles, I should write nothing on those of our highly learned town clerk? Walther, much put out, remounts the Singer's seat The little verse which would be worthy of you I with all my humble poetic gifts have not yet found; but it will surely come to me now, when I've heard the knight's song - so let him sing on undisturbed! An end! Zum Schluss!
What more should we hear? Unless it were to delude you? Each mistake, great and small, see it recorded exactly on the slate. A "Patch-Song" here between the stanzas! A quite incomprehensible melody! A confused brew of all the tones! If you aren't put off by the toil, Masters, count the faults with me! He'd have failed with his eighth, but no one has yet got as far as he: certainly over fifty, at a rough count! Say, do you elect him Master? I see it clearly! It looks bad for the knight! Let Sachs think of him what he will, he must be silent here in the Singing-school!
Is everyone of us not at liberty to decide whom he wishes as colleague? If every stranger were welcomed what worth would the Masters then have? How the knight is toiling away! Sachs has chosen him for his own. It's really vexatious! So put a stop to it! Up, Masters, vote and raise your hands! If I yield to superior forces here I foresee it will trouble me. How gladly I should see him admitted. He'd be a worthy son-in-law. If I am now to bid the victor welcome, who knows if my child will choose him! I admit that it torments me - will Eva choose the Master?
Jeden Fehler, gross und klein, seht genau auf der Tafel ein. Ein "Flickgesang" hier zwischen den Stollen! Mag Sachs von ihm halten, was er will, Hier in der Singschul' schweig' er still! Bleibt einem Jeden doch unbenommen, wen er sich zum Genossen begehrt? Drum macht ein End'! Auf, Meister! In vast nocturnal horde how they all begin to croak with their hollow voices - Magpies, crows and jackdaws! There rises up on a pair of golden wings a wondrous bird: its dazzling bright plumage shines light in the breezes; blissfully hovering now and again it beckons me to fly and flee.
My heart swells with sweet pain, in my need wings sprout; it soars in bold progress to fly through the air up from the tombs of cities to its native hill to the green Vogelweide where Master Walther once set me free; there I sing bright and clear in honour of my dearest lady: upwards then climbs - though Master-Crows are unfriendly to it - the proud love-song.
Farewell, you Masters here below! With a gesture of proud contempt, Walther leaves the Singer's Chair and the building. There is general confusion, augmented by the apprentices, who shoulder the benches and Marker's box, causing hindrance and disorder to the Masters who are crowding to the door SACHS Ha, what spirit! What glow of inspiration! You Masters, be quiet and listen! Listen when Sachs beseeches you! Master Marker, favour us with some peace! Let others listen! Grant but that! In vain! Every endeavour is in vain! One can scarcely hear oneself speak! No one will heed the knight.
There's spirit for you, to carry on singing! His heart's in the right place: a true poet-knight! If I, Hans Sachs, make verse and shoes, he's a knight and a poet too! Ade, ihr Meister, hienied'! All' eitel Trachten! Kaum vernimmt man sein eig'nes Wort; des Junkers will keiner achten: das nenn' ich Mut, singt der noch fort!
Das Herz auf dem rechten Fleck, ein wahrer Dichter-Reck! The flowery garland of fine silks - will it be granted to the knight? Between the two houses is a narrow alley winding towards the back of the stage. One house, grand in style, is Pogner's; the other, simple in style, is Sachs's. In front of Pogner's house there is a lime-tree, in front of Sachs's an elder. It is a pleasant summer evening and during this scene night falls. St John's Day! Flowers and ribbons in plenty! Sing your silly songs alone! If you weren't so proud you'd look round - if you weren't so silly! Turn round to me! Mistress Lena!
You here? Just look inside! That's for my dear little treasure. But first, quickly, how did the knight fare? You advised him well? He won the garland? It's a sad sory: he has completely sung away his chance! Singt allein eure dummen Lieder! Kehr' dich zu mir!
Erst aber schnell, wie ging's mit dem Ritter? Du rietest ihm gut? Er gewann den Kranz? Da steht's bitter; der hat vertan und versungen ganz! No titbits for you! God help us! Our knight undone! She goes back into the house, wringing her hands in despair. How successfully he has wooed! We all heard, and saw it too: she to whom he has given his heart and for whom he would give his life - she hasn't given him the basket.
Hold your tongues this minute! Every man woos as he wishes. The Master woos! The apprentice woos! There's much flirtation and cuddling! The old man woos the young maiden, the apprentice the old maid! David is about to fly at the boys in his temper, when Sachs, who has come down the alley, steps between them. Do I catch you fighting again? Nichts zu naschen! Hilf Gott! Unser Junker vertan! Heil zur Eh' dem jungen Mann! Gleich haltet das Maul! Da freit ein jeder, wie er mag. Der Meister freit, der Bursche freit, da gibt's Geschlamp' und Geschlumbfer!
Der Alte freit die junge Maid, der Bursche die alte Jumbfer! Treff' ich dich wieder am Schlag? They're singing coarse songs. Learn better than they! To rest! Get inside! Lock up and light a lamp. Put the new shoes on the last for me! Zur Ruh', ins Haus! Schliess und mach' Licht! Die neuen Schuh' steck' mir auf den Leisten! I'd like a word with him. Shall I go in? David comes out of the inner room with a light and sits down to work at the bench by the window EVA He seems to be at home: there's a light within.
But what for? Better not! He turns away If someone is about to risk something unusual what advice would he accept? And if I left the beaten track was it not in his way? But was it perhaps vanity, too? EVA An obedient child speaks only when asked. How good! Come, sit down here for a while with me on the bench. He sits on the stone seat under the lime-tree EVA Won't it be too cool? It was very close today. That suggest that tomorrow will be the most beautiful day. Zu was doch? Besser nein! Er wendet sich ab Will einer Seltnes wagen, was liess' er sich dann sagen?
Er sinnt nach War er's nicht, der meint', ich ging' zu weit? Und blieb' ich nicht im Geleise, war's nicht auf seine Weise? Doch war's vielleicht auch Eitelkeit? Er wendet sich zu Eva Und du, mein Kind? Du sagst mir nichts? EVA Ein folgsam Kind, gefragt nur spricht's. Komm' setz' dich hier ein' Weil' noch auf die Bank zu mir. Er setzt sich auf die Steinbank unter der Linde. O child, don't your heartbeats tell you what happiness may be yours tomorrow, when Nuremberg, the whole city with burghers and commoners, with guilds, people, and high council, shall assemble before you so that you may award the prize, that noble garland, as consort to the Master of your choice?
EVA Dear father, must it be a Master? But just go in - I'm coming, Lena, I'm coming! EVA as before The nobleman, I thought? EVA Haven't you seen him today? But no What then? EVA Come, dear papa! Go and change! EVA zerstreut ja, meiner Wahl. Doch tritt nur ein - laut, zu Magdalene gewandt gleich, Lene, gleich zum Abendmahl!
EVA wie oben Wohl den Junker? EVA Sahst ihn heut' nicht? Nicht doch! Was denn? Geh', kleid' dich um. What's going round in my head? EVA He was still and silent. EVA disturbed The knight? God help me, what am I to do? Ah Lena! What anguish! How can we find out? EVA Ah, he's fond of me! Of course, I'll go to him. Your father would notice if we stayed any longer. After supper! Then I shall have more to say that someone has secretly entrusted to me. EVA Who then? The nobleman? EVA That should be good! They go into the house Hm! Was geht mir im Kopf doch 'rum?
EVA Blieb still und stumm. EVA erschrocken Der Ritter? Was fing' ich an? Ach Lene, die Angst! Wo was erfahren? EVA heiter Ach! Der hat mich lieb: gewiss, ich geh' hin. Nach dem Mahl! Dann hab' ich dir noch was zu sagen, im Abgehen auf der Treppe was jemand geheim mir aufgetragen. EVA sich umwendend Wer denn? Der Junker? EVA Das mag was Rechtes sein! Sie gehen in das Haus. He turns to David, who is still at his work-bench Show me! It's good. Move my table and stool up by the door there! Go to bed! Be up in good time, sleep off your folly and be sensible tomorrow!
Heaven knows! Why's the Masters staying up late tonight? David goes into the inner room which overlooks the street Sachs arranges his work, sits on his stool at the door, and then, laying down his tools again, leans back, resting his arm on the closed lower half of the door SACHS So mild, so strong and full is the scent of the elder tree! It relaxes my limbs gently, wants me to say something. What is the good of anything I can say to you? I'm but a poor, simple man. If work is not to my taste, you might, friend, rather release me; I would do better to stretch leather and give up all poetry.
He tries again to get down the work, with much noise. Er wendet sich zu David, der an seinem Werktische verblieben ist Zeig her! Leg' dich zu Bett', steh' auf beizeit: verschlaf' die Dummheit, sei morgen gescheit! Gott weiss was! Warum wohl der Meister heute wacht? Was gilt's, was ich dir sagen kann? I feel it, and cannot understand it; I cannot hold on to it, nor yet forget it; and if I grasp it wholly, I cannot measure it!
But then, how should I grasp what seemed to me immeasurable? No rule seemed to fit it, and yet there was no fault in it. It sounded so old, and yet was so new, like birdsong who heard a bird singing and, carried away by madness, imitated its song, would earn derision and disgrace! Spring's command, sweet necessity placed it in his breast: then he sang as he had to; and as he had to, so he could: I noticed that particularly. The bird that sang today had a finely-formed break; if he made the Masters uneasy, he certainly pleased Hans Sachs well!
Doch wie wollt' ich auch fassen, was unermesslich mir schien? Kein' Regel wollte da passen, und war doch kein Fehler drin. Dem Vogel, der heute sang, dem war der Schnabel bald gewachsen; macht' er den Meistern bang, gar wohl gefiel er doch Hans Sachsen! Still so busy? Dear Eva! Up so late? And yet, I know why so late: the new shoes? EVA How wrongly he guesses! I have not yet even tried the shoes yet; they are so beautiful and richly adorned that I have not yet dared put them on my feet.
EVA Who then might the bridegroom be? EVA How do you know then that I am to be a bride? The whole town knows that. EVA Well, if the whole town knows, then friend Sachs has good authority! I thought he knew more. EVA Well, think! Will I have to tell him? Am I so stupid? Noch so fleissig? Lieb' Evchen? Sie setzt sich dicht neben Sachs auf den Steinsitz. EVA Wie wisst ihr dann, dass ich Braut? Das weiss die Stadt. EVA Ei, seht doch!
Ich bin wohl recht dumm? EVA Then might you be shrewd? EVA You know nothing? You say nothing? Well friend Sachs, now I truly perceive that pitch is not wax. I would have thought you sharper. Both wax and pitch are familiar to me: with wax I coated the silken threads with wich I made your dainty shoes: today I am making shoes with thicker yarn, and pitch is required for a rougher customer. EVA Who is that? Someone important? A master proud, intent on wooing, plans to be sole victor tomorrow: I must finish Herr Beckmesser's shoes.
EVA Then take plenty of pitch for them: then he will stick to it and leave me in peace! EVA Why he then? EVA Might not a widower be successful? EVA How so, too old? Art is what matters here! Das sag' ich nicht. EVA Ihr wisst nichts? Ihr sagt nichts? Ei, Freund Sachs, jetzt merk' ich wahrlich: Pech ist kein Wachs. EVA Wer ist denn der? Wohl was recht's? EVA Wieso denn der? EVA Ei was! Hier gilt's der Kunst, Let him who understands it woo me.
EVA Not I! It is you, who are making excuses!
Admit that you are fickle. God knows who may dwell in your heart now! Yet I thought I'd been there for many a year. EVA I see, it was only because you were childless. EVA But your wife died, and I've grown tall. EVA Then I thought: you might take me for wife and child into your house.
Yes, you have thought it out well for yourself. EVA I think the Master is just laughing at me. And in the end would ha cheerfully, under his very nose and in the sight of all, let Beckmesser win me tomorrow with his song? Your father alone might know the solution. EVA Where does a Master keep his brains? Would I come to you if I could find the answer at home? SACHS wer sie versteht, der werb' um mich.
EVA Nicht ich, ihr seid's, ihr macht mir Flausen! Gesteht nur, dass ihr wandelbar. Gott weiss, wer euch jetzt im Herzen mag hausen! Glaubt ich mich doch d'rin so manches Jahr. EVA Ich seh', 's war nur, weil ihr kinderlos. EVA Doch, starb eure Frau, so wuchs ich gross? Ja, ja! EVA Ich glaub', der Meister mich gar verlacht? You're right: my brain is in a whirl. I've had many cares and troubles today: so it may well be that something's sticking. EVA drawing close to him At the singing-school summoned today?
A song-trial caused me distress. EVA Ah, Sachs! You should have said so at once, I wouldn't have vexed you then with unnecessary questions. Now, tell me, who was it who asked for a trial? EVA A knight? Tell me, was he admitted? There was much dispute. EVA Then tell me, say, how did it go? If it caused you trouble, how could it leave me in peace? So he fared badly, and failed? EVA Hopelessly? Might there be no way of helping him?
Did he sing so badly, so faultily, that nothing can help him to become a Master? Ach, ja! Hast recht: 's ist im Kopf mir kraus. Hab' heut' manch' Sorg' und Wirr' erlebt: da mag's dann sein, dass was d'rin klebt. Eine Freiung machte mir Not. EVA Ja, Sachs! Nun sagt, wer war's, der Freiung begehrt?
Commitment to Privacy - Virginia Commonwealth University
EVA wie heimlich Ein Junker? Mein, sagt! Und ward er gefreit? Macht's euch Sorg', wie liess' mir es Ruh'? Sang er so schlecht, so fehlervoll, dass nichts mehr zum Meister ihm helfen soll? EVA Then tell me further whether he won none of the Masters as a friend? He before whom everyone felt so small! Squire High and Mighty, let him go! May he fight his way through the world; what we learned with dificulty and labour, let us savour in peace; let him not run amok among us, but may Fortune smile upon him somewhere else.
EVA rising angrily Yes, it shall smile upon him somewhere other than among you nasty, jealous little men; where hearts still glow warm, in despite of all malicious Master Hanses! At once! I'm just coming! What comfort could I take from here? It stinks of pitch here, may God have mercy!
Let him burn it, then at least he'd grow warm! She crosses the street hastily to Magdalena and remains in agitation at her own door SACHS with a meaningful nod of his head I thought so. Now we must find a way! During the following he closes the upper half of his door too, so as to leave only a little crack of light showing. Where are you, so late? Your father was calling. Hear me! Let me have my word. Den Junker Hochmut, lasst ihn laufen!
EVA erhebt sich zornig Ja! Ich komme schon! Da riecht's nach Pech, dass Gott erbarm'! Nun heisst's: schaff Rat! Wo bliebst du nur so spat! Der Vater rief. Komm' ich dazu? EVA That's all I needed! If only he would come! EVA What's he to me? EVA Do you see nothing yet? EVA Would it were he! EVA Not until I've seen the dearest of men! Come now, or your father will notice something! EVA Ah! EVA You'll go to the window in my place. EVA Das fehlte auch noch! EVA Was soll mir der?
EVA Siehst du noch nichts? EVA Nicht eh'r, bis ich sah den teuersten Mann! Jetzt komm', sonst merkt der Vater die Geschicht'! EVA Ach! He sleeps on the alley side! That would be fine! EVA I hear footsteps there. EVA Even nearer! It's nothing, I'll wager, Oh come! You must, till your father's in bed. She tries to drag Eva indoor by her arm Do you hear? Your knight is far away. Du musst, bis der Vater zu Bett. Dein Ritter ist weit! EVA sees Walther There he is! Now we must be cunning! She hurries into the house EVA Yes, it is you, it is you! I'll tell everything, for you know it; I'll bewail everything, for I know it; you are both hero of the prize and my only friend.
I'm only your friend, not yet worthy of prize, not the equal of the Masters: my inspiration met with contempt, and I know I may not aspire to my fair friend's hand! EVA How wrong you are! Your friend's hand alone will award the prize; as her heart has discovered your courage, only to you will she give the garland. My friend's hand, even if it were destined for no one in particular, would, bound by her father's will, still be lost to me.
EVA erblickt Walther Da ist er! Nun heisst's: gescheit! Alles sag' ich, denn ihr wisst es; alles klag' ich, denn ich weiss es: ihr seid beides, Held des Preises, und mein einz'ger Freund! EVA Wie du irrst! That's what gave me courage; though everything seemed strange to me I sang full of love and ardour that I might win the rank of Master. But these Masters! Ha, these Masters! The gluey, sticky nature of these rhyming laws!
My gall rises, my heart stands still, when I think of the trap into which I was lured! Away to freedom! That's where I belong - where I'm Master in the house! If I'm to woo you today, I beseech you now, come, and follow me away from here! There's nothing to hope for, there's no choice! Everywhere Masters I see like evil spirits, ganging up to mock me: with their guilds, from Marker's boxes, from every corner, in every spot I see nothing but Masters crowding together, with scornful nods gazing insolently at you, surrounding you in circles and rings, nasally and shrilly demanding you as their bride, as Master's mistress in the Singer's Chair lifting you trembling and quaking up on high!
Should I suffer this, should I not dare doughtily to join in the fight? Das eben gab mir Mut: wie ungewohnt mir alles schien, ich sang voll Lieb' und Glut, dass ich den Meisterschlag verdien'. Doch, diese Meister! Dieser Reimgesetze Leimen und Kleister! Mir schwillt die Galle, das Herz mir stockt, denk' ich der Falle, darein ich gelockt.
Fort, in die Freiheit! Nichts steht zu hoffen; keine Wahl ist offen! Eva takes him soothingly by the hand EVA Beloved, spare your anger! It was only the night-watchman's horn. Beneath the lime-tree hide yourself quickly: the watchman is coming. It's time! Take your leave! EVA Shouldn't I?
EVA From the Masters' court. He comes forward singing, turns the corner of Pogner's house, and goes off Hear, people, what I say, the clock has struck ten; guard your fire and also your light so that no one comes to harm! Praise God the Lord! SACHS who has listened to the foregoing from behind his shop door, now opens it a little wider, having shaded his lamp Wicked goings-on, I see: an elopement afoot, indeed! Watch out: that must not be! Schrei Ha! Lobet Gott den Herrn! Das darf nicht sein.
Oh what torment! Eva turns from the house in Magdalena's dress But yes! Is that her? Woe is me, no! In intercourse with people of superior station, all that is required is not to be perfectly natural, but always to keep within the line of a certain conventional propriety. In Nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it, and over it. In quite common things much depends on choice and determination, but the highest which falls to our lot comes from no man knows whence. In the family where the house-father rules secure, there dwells the peace Friede which thou wilt in vain seek for elsewhere in the wide world outside.
In the state nobody can enjoy life in peace, but everybody must govern; in art, nobody will enjoy what has been produced, but every one wants to reproduce on his own account. In well-regulated civil society there is scarcely a more melancholy suffering to be undergone than what is forced on us by the neighbourhood of an incipient player on the flute or violin.
It is a damnable audacity to bring forth that torturing Cross, and the Holy One who suffers on it, and to expose them to the light of the sun, which hid its face when a reckless world forced such a sight on it; to take these mysterious secrets, in which the divine depth of sorrow lies hid, and play with them, fondle them, trick them out, and rest not till the most reverend of all solemnities appears vulgar and paltry. It is enough for thee to know what each day wills; and what each day wills the day itself will tell.
It is in human nature soon to relax when not impelled by personal advantage or disadvantage. It is mere Philistinism on the part of private individuals to bestow too much interest on matters that do not concern them. It is much easier to recognise error than to find truth; the former lies on the surface, the latter rests in the depths. It is not enough to know, one must also apply; it is not enough to will to do, one must also do. It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.
It is not fit to tell others anything but what they can take up. A man understands nothing but what is commensurate with him. It is only because they are not used to taste of what is excellent that the generality of people take delight in silly and insipid things, provided they be new. It is only in their misery that we recognise the hand and finger of God leading good men to good. It is only necessary to grow old to become indulgent. I see no fault committed that I have not committed myself.
It is sad to have to live in a place where all our activity must simmer within ourselves. It is sad to see how an extraordinary man so often strangles himself, struggling in vain with himself, his circumstances, and his time, without once coming upon a green branch. It is said no man is a hero to his valet. The reason is that it requires a hero to recognise a hero. The valet however, will probably know well enough how to estimate his equals. It is the ambiguous distracted training which they are subject to that makes men uncertain; it awakens wishes when it should quicken tendencies.
It is the strange fate of man that even in the greatest evils the fear of worse continues to haunt him. It is with history as it is with nature, as it is with everything profound, past, present, or future; the deeper we earnestly search into them, the more difficult are the problems that arise. He who does not fear these, but boldly confronts them, will, with every step or advance, feel himself both more at his ease and more highly educated.
It matters little whether a man be mathematically, or philologically, or artistically cultivated, so he be cultivated. It may indeed be that man is frightfully threshed at times by public and domestic ill-fortune, but the ruthless destiny, if it smites the rich sheaves, only crumples the straw; the grains feel nothing of it, and bound merrily hither and thither on the threshing-floor, unconcerned whether they wander into the mill or the cornfield. It seems a law of society to despise a man who looks discontented because its requirements have compelled him to part with all he values in his life.
Wilt it not go out of thy way, why then, go thou out of its. Keep thyself perfectly still, however it may storm around thee. The more thou feelest thyself to be a man, so much the more dost thou resemble the gods. Kennst du das herrliche Gift der unbefriedigten Liebe? It withers up and quickens, consumes to the marrow and renews. Faust to Margaret in the end. Faust to Margarite.
Yet what will avail you lives in the past, and lies immortalised in what has been nobly done. Let a man be but born ten years sooner or ten years later, his whole aspect and performance shall be different. Let him who has hold of the devil keep hold of him; he is not likely to catch him a second time in a hurry. Let man be noble, helpful, and good, for that alone distinguishes him from every other creature we know. Let no one so conceive of himself as if he were the Messiah the world was praying for.
Let the shoemaker stick to his last, the peasant to his plough, and let the prince understand how to rule. Let those who believe in immortality enjoy their belief in silence, and give themselves no airs about it. Let us leave the question of origins to those who busy themselves with insoluble problems, and have nothing better to do. Let woman learn betimes to serve according to her destination, for only by serving will she at last learn to rule, and attain the influence that belongs to her in the household.
Love comes to meet you with quick footstep; fidelity will be sought out. Life lies before us as a huge quarry before the architect; and he deserves not the name of architect except when, out of this fortuitous mass, he can combine, with the greatest economy, fitness and durability, some form the pattern of which originated in his own soul.
Look not to what is wanting in any one; consider that rather which still remains to him. Love has the tendency of pressing together all the lights, all the rays emitted from the beloved object, by the burning-glass of fantasy, into one focus, and making of them one radiant sun without spots.
Without hesitation, therefore, seize ye the holy mystery thus lying open to all. Make the most of time, it flies away so fast; yet method will teach you to win time. Man does not willingly submit himself to reverence; or rather, he never so submits himself: it is a higher sense which must be communicated to his nature, which only in some peculiarly favoured individuals unfolds itself spontaneously, who on this account too have of old been looked upon as saints and gods.
Man gives up all pretension to the infinite while he feels here that neither with thought nor without it is he equal to the finite. Man has quite a peculiar pleasure in making proselytes; in causing others to enjoy what he enjoys, in finding his own likeness represented and reflected back to him.
Man is a darkened being; he knows not whence he comes, nor whither he goes; he knows little of the world and least of himself. Man is born not to solve the problems of the universe, but to find out where the problem begins, and then to restrain himself within the limits of the comprehensible. Man is ever the most interesting object to man, and perhaps should be the only one to interest him.
Man is intended for a limited condition; objects that are simple, near, determinate, he comprehends, and he becomes accustomed to employ such means as are at hand; but on entering a wider field he now knows neither what he would nor what he should. Man is not born to be free, and for the noble there is no fairer fortune than to serve a prince whom he honours.
Man is quite sufficiently saddened by his own passions and destiny, and need not make himself more so by the darkness of a barbaric past. He needs enlightening and cheering influences, and should therefore turn to those eras in art and literature during which remarkable men obtained perfect culture. Man is so prone to occupy himself with what is most common, the soul and the senses are so easily blunted to the impressions of the beautiful and perfect, that one ought by all means to preserve the capability of feeling it.
We ought every day at least to hear a little song, read a good poem, see an excellent painting, and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words. A true German cannot abide the French, and yet he will drink their wines with the most genuine relish. Man must hold fast by the belief that the incomprehensible is comprehensible, otherwise he would not search.
Man supposes that he directs his life and governs his actions, when his existence is irretrievably under the control of destiny. Mankind will never lack obstacles to give it trouble, and the pressure of necessity to develop its powers. Many a discord betwixt man and man the returning seasons soften by degrees into sweetest harmony; but that which bridges over the greatest gap is Love, whose charm unites the earth with heaven above. Many men attain a knowledge of what is perfect, and of their own insufficiency, and go on doing things by halves to the end of their days.
Many people take no care of their money till they have come nearly to an end of it, and others do just the same with their time. Mathematics can remove no prejudices and soften no obduracy.
It has no influence in sweetening the bitter strife of parties, and in the moral world generally its action is perfectly null. May the idea of pureness, extending itself even to the very morsel which I take into my mouth, become ever dearer and more luminous within me. It is quite a little Paris, and its people acquire an easy finished air lit. Men are so constituted that everybody would rather undertake himself what he sees done by others, whether he has aptitude for it or not.
Men deride what they do not understand, and snarl at the good and beautiful because it lies beyond their sympathies. Men fear only him who does not know them, and he who shuns them will soon misjudge them. Men in general experience a great joy in colour. The eye needs it as much as it does light. Let any one recall the refreshing sensation one experiences when on a gloomy day the sun shines out on a particular spot on the landscape, and makes the colours of it visible.
That healing powers were ascribed to coloured precious stones may have arisen out of the deep feeling of this inexpressible pleasure. Men of uncommon abilities generally fall into eccentricities when their sphere of life is not adequate to their powers. Men think they are quarrelling with one another, and both sides feel that they are in the wrong. Men, in spite of all their failings, best deserve our affections of all that exists. Mental prayer mentale Gebet which includes and excludes all religions, and only in a few God-favoured men permeates the whole course of life, develops itself in most men as only a blazing, beatific feeling of the moment, immediately after the vanishing of which the man, thrown in upon himself unsatisfied and unoccupied, lapses back into the most utter and absolute weariness.
Mentally and bodily endowed men are the most modest, while, on the other hand, all who have some peculiar mental defect think a great deal more of themselves. Metaphysics, with which physics cannot dispense, is that wisdom of thought which was before all physics, lives with it, and will endure after it. Mind and body are intimately related; if the former is joyful, the latter feels free and well; and many an evil flies before cheerfulness. Misfortune, when we look upon it with our eyes, is smaller than when our imagination sinks the evil down into the recesses of the soul.
Misunderstanding goes on like a fallen stitch in a stocking, which in the beginning might have been taken up with a needle. Modesty and presumption are moral things of so spiritual a nature, that they have little to do with the body. Most men never reach the glorious epoch, that middle stage between despair and deification, in which the comprehensible appears to us common and insipid.
Much debating goes on about the good that has been done and the harm by the free circulation of the Bible. To me this is clear: it will do harm, as it has done, if used dogmatically and fancifully; and do good, as it has done, if used didactically and feelingly.
Much in the world may be done by severity, more by love, but most of all by discernment and impartial justice. Much there is that appears unequal in our life, yet the balance is soon and unexpectedly restored. In eternal alternation a weal counterbalances the woe, and swift sorrows our joys. Nothing is constant. And ah! Music fills up the present moment more decisively than anything else, whether it awakens thought or summons to action. Music in the best sense has little need of novelty Neuheit ; on the contrary, the older it is, the more one is accustomed to it, the greater is the effect it produces.
Any one can live unrestrainedly. Ach, wir Armen! Nature and art are too grand to go forth in pursuit of aims; nor is it necessary that they should, for there are relations everywhere, and relations constitute life. Nature cannot but always act rightly, quite unconcerned as to what may be the consequences. Nature gives healthy children much; how much! Wise education is a wise unfolding of this; often it unfolds itself better of its own accord. Nature gives you the impression as if there were nothing contradictory in the world; and yet, when you return back to the dwelling-place of man, be it lofty or low, wide or narrow, there is ever somewhat to contend with, to battle with, to smooth and put to rights.
Nature goes her own way; and all that to us seems an exception, is really according to order. Nature has given to each one all that as a man he needs, which it is the business of education to develop, if, as most frequently happens, it does not develop better of itself. Nature has made provision for all her children; the meanest is not hindered in its existence even by that of the most excellent.
Nature has no feeling; the sun gives his light to good and bad alike, and moon and stars shine out for the worst of men as for the best. Nature is a Sibyl, who testifies beforehand to what has been determined from all eternity, and was not to be realised till late in time.
Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction. Nature understands no jesting; she is always true, always serious, always severe; she is always right, and the errors and faults are always those of man. Him who is incapable of appreciating her she despises, and only to the apt, the pure, and the true, does she resign herself and reveal her secrets. Nature works after such eternal, necessary, divine laws, that the Deity himself could alter nothing in them. After Spinoza.
Nature, mysterious even under the light of day, is not to be robbed of her veil; and what she does not choose to reveal, you will not extort from her with levers and screws. Necessity is cruel, but it is the only test of inward strength. Every fool may live according to his own likings. Never by reflection, only by doing what it lies on him to do, is self-knowledge possible to any man.
No doubt every person is entitled to make and to think as much of himself as possible, only he ought not to worry others about this, for they have enough to do with and in themselves, if they too are to be of some account, both now and hereafter. No evil can touch him who looks on human beauty; he feels himself at one with himself and with the world. No greater misfortune can befall a man than to be the victim of an idea which has no hold on his life, still more which detaches him from it. No one can feel and exercise benevolence towards another who is ill at ease with himself.
No one can find himself in himself or others; in fact, he has himself to spin, from the centre of which he exercises his influence. No one easily arrives at the conclusion that reason and a brave will are given us that we may not only hold back from evil, but also from the extreme of good. No one knows what he is doing while he is acting rightly, but of what is wrong we are always conscious. No one would talk much in society if he only knew how often he misunderstands others.
No productiveness of the highest kind, no remarkable discovery, no great thought which bears fruit and has results, is in the power of any one; such things are exalted above all earthly control. No wonder we are all more or less pleased with mediocrity, since it leaves us at rest, and gives the same comfortable feeling as when one associates with his equals.
Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather he who offers faithful service in small matters is most welcome to one who would achieve what is good and lasting. Not to believe in God, but to acknowledge Him when and wheresoever He reveals Himself, is the one sole blessedness of man on earth.
Nothing altogether passes away without result. We are here to leave that behind us which will never die. Nothing can be so injurious to progress as to be altogether blamed or altogether praised. Nothing exposes us more to madness than distinguishing ourselves from others, and nothing more contributes to maintain our common-sense than living in community of feeling with other people. Nothing is good for a nation but that which arises from its core and its own general wants. Nothing is more natural than that we should grow giddy at a great sight which comes unexpectedly before us, to make us feel at once our littleness and our greatness.
But there is not in the world any truer enjoyment than at the moment when we are thus made giddy for the first time. Nothing on earth is without difficulty. Only the inner impulse, the pleasure it gives and love enable us to surmount obstacles; to make smooth our way, and lift ourselves out of the narrow grooves in which other people sorrowfully distress themselves. Nur immer zu! In thy nothing hope I to find the all. O was sind wir Grossen auf der Woge der Menschheit? We fancy we rule over it, and it sways us up and down, hither and thither.
Objects in pictures should be so arranged as by their very position to tell their own story. Of a thoroughly crazy and defective artist we may indeed say he has everything from himself; but of an excellent one, never. Of all the superstitions which infest the brains of weak mortals, the belief in prophecies, presentiments, and dreams, seems to me amongst the most pitiful and pernicious.
Of error we can talk for ever, but truth demands that we should lay it to heart and apply it. Of great men no one should speak but one who is as great as they, so as to be able to see all round them. Of the Beautiful we are seldom capable, oftener of the Good; and how highly should we value those who endeavour, with great sacrifices, to forward that good among their fellows! Old men lose one of the most precious rights of man, that of being judged by their peers. On this account is the Bible a book of eternally effective power, because, as long as the world lasts, no one will step forward and say: I comprehend it in the whole and understand it in the particular; but we modestly say: In the whole it is venerable, and in the particular practicable anwendar.
Once for all, beauty remains undemonstrable; it appears to us as in a dream, when we behold the works of the great poets and painters, and, in short, of all feeling artists. One born on the glebe comes by habit to belong to it; the two grow together, and the fairest ties are spun from the union. One can never know at the first moment what may, at a future time, separate itself from the rough experience as true substance. One cannot say that the rational is always beautiful; but the beautiful is always rational, or at least ought to be so.
One could not wish any man to fall into a fault; yet it is often precisely after a fault, or a crime even, that the morality which is in a man first unfolds itself, and what of strength he as a man possesses, now when all else is gone from him. One finds human nature everywhere great and little, beautiful and ugly.
Go on bravely working. One must believe in simplicity, in what is simple, in what is originally productive, if one wants to go the right way. This, however, is not granted to every one; we are born in an artificial state, and it is far easier to make it more artificial still than to return to what is simple.
One must take a pleasure in the shell till one has the happiness to arrive at the kernel. One need only utter something that flatters indolence and conceit to be sure of plenty of adherents among commonplace people. One power rules another, but no power can cultivate another; in each endowment, and not elsewhere, lies the force that must complete it.
One should not neglect from time to time to renew friendly relations by personal intercourse. However he may reflect, each resolution he forms is but the work of a moment; the prudent alone seize the right one. One soul may have a decided influence upon another merely by means of its silent presence. Only by joy and sorrow does a man know anything about himself and his destiny, learn what he ought to seek and what to shun. Only he helps who unites with many at the proper hour; a single individual helps not. Only to the apt, the pure, and the true does Nature resign herself and reveal her secrets.
Oral delivery aims at persuasion, at making the listener believe he is convinced. Few persons are capable of being convinced; the majority allow themselves to be persuaded. Our ambiguous dissipating education awakens wishes when it should be animating tendencies; instead of forwarding our real capacities, it turns our efforts towards objects which are frequently discordant with the mind that aims at them.
Our hand we open of our own free will, and the good flies which we can never recall. Our love of truth is evinced by our ability to discover and appropriate what is good wherever we come upon it. Our moral impressions invariably prove strongest in those moments when we are most driven back upon ourselves. Our relations are far too artificial and complicated, our nutriment and mode of life are without their proper nature, and our social intercourse is without proper love and goodwill.
Every one is polished and courteous, but no one has the courage to be hearty and true.
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Our sacrifices are rarely of an active kind; we, as it were, abandon what we give away. It is not from resolution, but despair, that we renounce our property. Our virtues depend on our failings as their root, and the latter send forth as strong and manifold branches underground as the former do in the open light.
Peacefully and reasonably to contemplate is at no time hurtful, and while we use ourselves to think of the advantages of others, our own mind comes insensibly to imitate them; and every false activity to which our fancy was alluring us is then willingly abandoned. People in authority are accustomed merely to forbid, to hinder, to refuse, but rarely to bid, to further, and to reward.
They let things go along till some mischief happens; then they fly into a rage, and lay about them. People dispute a great deal about the good that is done and the harm by disseminating the Bible Bibelverbreitung. To me this is clear: the Bible will do harm if, as hitherto, it is used dogmatically and interpreted fancifully, and it will do good if it is treated feelingly and applied didactically.
People do not mind their faults being spread out before them, but they become impatient if called upon to give them up. People may live as much retired from the world as they like, but sooner or later they find themselves debtor or creditor to some one. People that are like-minded Gleichgesinnten can never for any length be disunited entzweien ; they always come together again; whereas those that are not like-minded Widergesinnten try in vain to maintain harmony; the essential discord between them will be sure to break out some day.
People would do well if they would keep piety, which is so essential and lovable in life, distinct from art, where, owing to its very simplicity and dignity, it checks their energy, allowing only the very highest mind freedom to unite with, if not actually to master, it. People would do well if, tarrying here for years together, they observed a while a Pythagorean silence. Pleasure and sympathy in things is all that is real and again produces reality; all else is empty and vain.
Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting. Poetry was given to us to hide the little discords of life and to make man contented with the world and his condition. Follow thou dumb. Presumptuousness, which audaciously strides over all the steps of gradual culture, affords little encouragement to hope for any masterpiece.
Prudent and active men, who know their strength and use it with limitation and circumspection, alone go far in the affairs of the world. Quietly do the next thing that has to be done, and allow one thing to follow upon the other. Reality surpasses imagination; and we see breathing, brightening, and moving before our eyes sights dearer to our hearts than any we ever beheld in the land of dreams.
Reason can never be popular. Passions and feelings may become popular; but reason always remains the sole property of a few eminent individuals. Reason has only to do with the becoming, the living; but understanding with the become, the already fixed, that it may make use of it.
Reason is directed to the process das Werdende understanding to the product das Gewordene. The former is nowise concerned about the whither, or the latter about the whence. Rejoice that you have still long to live before the thought comes to you that there is nothing more in the world to see.
Remember that with every breath we draw, an ethereal stream of Lethe runs through our whole being, so that we have but a partial recollection of our joys, and scarcely any of our sorrows. Renounce, thou must sollst renounce! That is the song which sounds for ever in the ears of every one, which every hour sings to us hoarsely our whole life long.
Renown is not to be sought, and all pursuit of it is vain. A person may, indeed, by skilful conduct and various artificial means, make a sort of name for himself; but if the inner jewel is wanting, all is vanity, and will not last a day. Revelation nowhere burns more purely and more beautifully than in the New Testament. Reverence Ehrfurcht which no child brings into the world along with him, is the one thing on which all depends for making a man in every point a man.
Riches amassed in haste will diminish; but those collected by hand and little by little will multiply. Sacrificed his life to the delineating of life. Of Schiller. Schadet ein Irrtum wohl? Nicht immer! Not always! How far we shall certainly find out at the end of the road. Schlagt ihn tot den Hund! Science has been seriously retarded by the study of what is not worth knowing and of what is not knowable. Lot of man, how like art thou to wind! A noble man attracts noble men, and knows how to hold them fast.
A quickly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth. Seldom, in the business and transactions of ordinary life, do we find the sympathy we want. Shakespeare is dangerous to young poets; they cannot but reproduce him, while they imagine they are producing themselves. Since time is not a person we can overtake when he is past, let us honour him with mirth and cheerfulness of heart while he is passing. So long as you live and work, you will not escape being misunderstood; to that you must resign yourself once for all. Be silent. Some of our weaknesses are born in us, others are the result of education; it is a question which of the two gives us most trouble.
Sound and sufficient reason falls, after all, to the share of but few men, and those few men exert their influence in silence. Stirb und werde! Sufficiently provided from within, he has need of little from without. Of the poet. Superstition is the poesy of life, so that it does not injure the poet to be superstitious.
Take thought for thy body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone; and if they are dim, the whole world is beclouded. Taste can only be educated by contemplation, not of the tolerably good, out of the truly excellent. Tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are; if I know what it is with which you occupy yourself, I know what you may become.
That is the true season of love, when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved so before us, and that no one will love in the same way after us. That is true love which is always the same, whether you give everything or deny everything to it. That state of life is alone suitable to a man in which and for which he was born, and he who is not led abroad by great objects is far happier at home. That thought I regard as true which is fruitful to myself, which is connected with the rest of my thoughts, and at the same time helps me on.
Once we are thoroughly convinced of this, we shall never enter upon controversies. That were but a sorry art which could be comprehended all at once; the last point of which could be seen by one just entering its precincts. The absent one is an ideal person; those who are present seem to one another to be quite commonplace. It is a silly thing that the ideal is, as it were, ousted by the real; that may be the reason why to the moderns their ideal only manifests itself in longing. The all in all of faith is that we believe; of knowledge, what we know, as well as how much and how well.
The art of living is like every other art; only the capacity is born with us; it must be learned and practised with incessant care. The artist stands higher than the art, higher than the object: he uses art for his own purposes, and deals with the object after his own fashion. The beautiful is a manifestation of secret laws of nature, which, but for its appearance, had been for ever concealed from us. The best thing which we derive from history is the enthusiasm which it raises in us. The boy stands astonished; his impressions guide him; he learns sportfully; seriousness steals on him by surprise.
The capacity of apprehending what is high is very rare; and therefore, in common life a man does well to keep such things for himself, and only to give out so much as is needful to have some advantage against others. The children of others we never love so much as our own; error, our own child, is so near our heart. The Christian religion having once appeared, cannot again vanish; having once assumed its divine shape, can be subject to no dissolution.
The Christian religion, often enough dismembered and scattered abroad, will ever in the end again gather itself together at the foot of the cross. The conflict of the old, the existent, and the persistent, with development, improvement, and transfigurement is always the same. Out of every arrangement arises at last pedantry; to get rid of this latter the former is destroyed, and some time must elapse before we become aware that order must be re-established. The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals, never to the age.
The cuffs and thumps with which fate, our lady-loves, our friends and foes, put us to the proof, in the mind of a good and resolute man, vanish into air. The decline of literature indicates the decline of the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency. The deity works in the living, not in the dead; in the becoming and the changing, not in the become and the fixed. The demonic in music stands so high that no understanding can reach it, and an influence flows from it which masters all, and for which none can account. The destiny of any nation at any given time depends on the opinions of its young men under five-and-twenty.
The divine power of the love, of which we cease not to sing and speak, is this, that it reproduces every moment the grand qualities of the beloved object, perfect in the smallest parts, embraced in the whole; it rests not either by day or by night, is ravished with its own work, wonders at its own stirring activity, finds the well-known always new, because it is every moment begotten anew in the sweetest of all occupations.
In fact the image of the beloved one cannot become old, for every moment is the hour of its birth. The effect of good music is not caused by its novelty; on the contrary, it strikes us more the more familiar we are with it. The fair point of the line of beauty is the line of love. Strength and weakness stand on either side of it. Love is the point in which they unite. The fresh air of the open country is the proper place to which we belong. It is as if the breath of God were there wafted immediately to men, and a divine power exerted its influence.
The gods do not avenge on the son the misdeeds of the father. Each or good or bad reaps the due reward of his own actions. The good that passes by without returning, leaves behind it an impression that may be compared to a void, and is felt like a want. The great point is not to pull down, but to build up, and in this humanity finds pure joy. The heavenward path which a great man opens up for us and traverses generally, like the track of a ship through the water, closes behind him on his decease.
The height charms us, the steps to it do not; with the summit in our eye, we love to walk along the plain. The herd of people dread sound understanding more than anything; they ought to dread stupidity, if they knew what was really dreadful. Understanding is unpleasant, they must have it pushed aside; stupidity is but pernicious, they can let it stay. The highest gift which we receive from God and Nature is Life, the revolving movement, which knows neither pause nor rest, of the self-conscious being round itself.
The instinct to protect and cherish life is indestructibly innate in every one, but the peculiarity of it ever remains a mystery to us and others. The highest happiness of us mortals is to execute what we consider right and good; to be really masters of the means conducive to our aims. The highest problem of every art is, by means of appearances, to produce the illusion of a loftier reality. The ideal of beauty is simplicity and repose; from which it follows that no youth can be a master.
The imagination is a fine faculty; yet I like not when she works on what has actually happened; the airy forms she creates are welcome as things of their own kind; but uniting with reality she produces often nothing but monsters, and seems to me, in such cases, to fly into direct variance with reason and common-sense. The instruction merely clever men can give us is like baked bread, savoury and satisfying for a single day; but flour cannot be sown, and seed-corn ought not to be ground.
The Israelitish people never was good for much, as its own leaders, judges, rulers, prophets have a thousand times reproachfully declared; it possesses few virtues, and most of the faults of other nations; but in cohesion, steadfastness, valour, and when all this would not serve, in obstinate toughness, it has no match. The judgments of the understanding are properly of force but once, and that in the strictest cases, and become inaccurate in some degree when applied to any other.
The life of the Divine Man stands in no connection with the general history of the world in his time. It was a private life; his teaching was a teaching for individuals. The little done vanishes from the sight of man who looks forward to what is still to do. The make-weight! It requires much courage not to be down-hearted in this world.
The man of genius can be more easily misinstructed verbildet and driven far more violently into false courses than a man of ordinary capability. The man who cannot enjoy his natural gifts in silence, and find his reward in the exercise of them, but must wait and hope for their recognition by others, must expect to reap only disappointment and vexation. The man who in wavering times is inclined to be wavering only increases the evil, and spreads it wider and wider; but the man of firm decision fashions the universe.
The man who is born with a talent which he is meant to use, finds his greatest happiness in using it. The march of intellect, which licks all the world into shape, has reached even the devil. It is almost the same as with smoking tobacco. The memory of absent friends becomes dimmed, although not effaced by time. The distractions of our life, acquaintance with fresh objects, in short, every change in our condition, works upon our hearts as dust and smoke upon a painting, making the finely drawn lines quite imperceptible, whilst one does not know how it happens.
The misfortune in the state is that nobody can enjoy life in peace, but that everybody must govern; and in art, that nobody will enjoy what has been produced, but that every one wants to reproduce on his own account. The moment must be pregnant and sufficient to itself if it is to become a worthy segment of time and eternity. The most delightful letter does not possess a hundredth part of the charm of a conversation. The most happy man is he who knows how to bring into relation the end and the beginning of his life.
The most important period in the life of an individual is that of his development. Later on, commences his conflict with the world, and this is of interest only so far as anything grows out of it. The most objectionable people are the quibbling investigators and the crotchety theorists; their endeavours are petty and complicated, their hypotheses abstruse and strange.
The most original modern authors are not so because they advance what is new, but simply because they know how to put what they have to say as if it had never been said before. The most part of all the misery and mischief, of all that is denominated evil, in the world, arises from the fact that men are too remiss to get a proper knowledge of their aims, and when they do know them, to work intensely in attaining them. The most sorrowful occurrence often, through the hand of Providence, takes the most favourable turn for our happiness; the succession of fortune and misfortune in life is intertwined like sleep and waking, neither without the other, and one for the sake of the other.
Therein is he like the eagle. The noble character at certain moments may resign himself to his emotions; the well-bred, never. The only point now is what a man weighs in the scale of humanity; all the rest is nought. A coat with a star, and a chariot with six horses, at all events, imposes on the rudest multitude only, and scarcely that. The pardon of an offence must, as a benefit conferred, put the offender under an obligation; and thus direct advantage at once accrues by heaping coals of fire on the head.
The pious have always a more intimate connection with each other than the wicked, though externally the relationship may not always prosper as well. The place once trodden by a good man is hallowed. After a hundred years his word and actions ring in the ears of his descendants. The poet should seize the particular, and he should, if there is anything sound in it, thus represent the universal.
The presence of the wretched is a burden to the happy; and alas! The revolutionary outbreaks of the lower classes are the consequence of the injustice of the higher classes.
Status quo [english]
The rude man requires only to see something going on. The man of more refinement must be made to feel. The man of complete refinement must be made to reflect. The soul is like the sun, which, to our eyes, seems to set in night; but it has in reality only gone to diffuse its light elsewhere. The style of an author is a faithful copy of his mind. The sublime produces a beautiful calmness in the soul which, entirely possessed by it, feels as great as it ever can feel. When we compare such a feeling with that we are sensible of when we laboriously harass ourselves with some trifle, and strain every nerve to gain as much as possible for it, as it were, to patch it out, striving to furnish joy and aliment to the mind from its own creation, we then feel sensibly what a poor expedient, after all, the latter is.
The sun-steeds of time, as if goaded by invisible spirits, bear onward the light car of our destiny, and nothing remains for us but, with calm self-possession, to grasp the reins, and now right, now left, to steer the wheels, here from the precipice, and there from the rock. Whither he is hasting, who knows? Does any one consider whence he came? The tendency of laws should be rather to diminish the amount of evil than to produce an amount of happiness. The theatre has often been at variance with the pulpit; they ought not to quarrel.
How much is it to be wished that in both the celebration of nature and of God were intrusted to none but men of noble minds! The true scholar learns from the known to unfold the unknown, and approaches more and more to being a master. The True that is identical with the Divine can never be directly known by us; we behold it only in reflexion Abglanz , in example, in symbol, in individual and related phenomena; we perceive it as incomprehensible life, which yet we cannot renounce the wish to comprehend.
This is true of all the phenomena of the conceivable world. The useful encourages itself, for the multitude produce it, and no one can dispense with it; but the beautiful must be encouraged, for few can set it forth, and many need it. The very nature of the dilettanti is that they have no idea of the difficulties which lie in a subject, and always wish to undertake something for which they have no capacity.
The violets and the mayflowers are as the inscriptions or vignettes of spring. It always makes a pleasant impression on us when we open again at these pages of the book of life, its most charming chapter. The web of this world is woven of necessity and contingency; the reason of man places itself between them, and knows how to rule them both.
It treats the necessary as the ground of its existence; the contingent it knows how to direct, lead, and utilise; and it is only while reason stands firm and steadfast that man deserves to be called the god of the earth. We imagine it piety to saunter along hinschlendern without consideration, and to allow ourselves to be determined by agreeable accidents, and finally give to the results of such a vacillating life the name of Divine guidance.
The world cannot do without great men, but great men are very troublesome to the world. The world is nothing but a wheel; in its whole periphery it is everywhere similar, but, nevertheless, it appears to us so strange, because we ourselves are carried round with it. The world is wide enough for all to live and let live, and every one has an enemy in his own talent, who gives him quite enough to do.
But no! Theory and practice always act upon one another. It is possible to construe from what we do what we think, and from what we think what we will do. Theory in and by itself is of no use except in so far as it proves to us the connection Zusammenhang that subsists among the phenomena. There are certain times in our life when we find ourselves in circumstances, that not only press upon us, but seem to weigh us down altogether.
They give us, however, not only the opportunity, but they impose on us the duty of elevating ourselves, and thereby fulfilling the purpose of the Divine Being in our creation. There are men who dwell on the defects of their enemies. I always have regard to the merits of mine, and derive profit therefrom. There is but one misfortune for a man, when some idea lays hold of him which exerts no influence upon his active life, or still more, which withdraws him from it. There is in nature an accessible and an inaccessible.
Be careful to discriminate between the two. Be circumspect, and proceed with reverence. It is always difficult to see where the one begins and the other leaves off. He who knows it, and is wise, will confine himself to the accessible. There is no permanence in doubt; it incites the mind to closer inquiry and experiment, from which, if rightly managed, certainty proceeds, and in this alone can man find thorough satisfaction.
Related Vom Glück einen Hund zu haben: Nichts bleibt so, wies war (German Edition)
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