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pathy with the three chief characters have been, what he might have wishof the piece.*
ed to be, neither poor nor rich; his Soon after the publication of Wal- simple unostentatious æconomy went lenstein, Schiller once more changed on without embarrassment; and this his abode. The “ mountain air of was all that he required. To avoid Jena" was conceived by his physi- pecuniary perplexities was constantcians to be prejudicial in disorders of ly among his aims: to amass wealth, the lungs; and partly in consequence
We ought also to add that, of this opinion, he determined hence- in 1802, by the voluntary solicitation forth to spend his winters in Weimar. of the Duke, he was ennohled ; a Perhaps a weightier reason in favour fact which we mention, for his sake of this new arrangement was the op- by whose kindness this honour was portunity it gave him of being near the procured; not for the sake of Schiltheatre; a constant attendance on ler, who accepted it with gratitude, which, now that he had once more but had neither needed nor desired become a dramatist, seemed highly it. useful for his farther improvement. The official services expected of The summer he, for several years, him in return for so much kindness continued still to spend in Jena; to seem to have been slight, if any. which, especially its beautiful envi- Chiefly or altogether of his own acrons, he declared himself peculiarly cord, he appears to have applied attached. His little garden-house himself to a close inspection of the was still his place of study during theatre, and to have shared with summer ; till at last he settled con- Goethe the task of superintending its stantly at Weimar. Even then he concerns. The rehearsals of new used frequently to visit Jena; to pieces commonly took place at the which there was a fresh attraction in house of one of their friends; they conlater years, when Goethe chose it for sulted together on all such subjects, his residence, which we understand frankly and copiously. Schiller was not it yet to be. With Goethe he often slow to profit by the means of imstaid for months.
provement thus afforded him; in the This change of place produced lit- mechanical details of his art he grew tle change in Schiller’s habits or em more skilful; by a constant obserployments: he was now as formerly vation of the stage, he became more in the pay of the Duke of Weimar; acquainted with its capabilities and now as formerly engaged in drama- its laws. It was not long till, with tic composition as the great object of his characteristic expansiveness of his life. What the amount of his enterprise, he set about turning this pension was we know not : that the new knowledge to account. In conPrince behaved to him in a princely junction with Goethe, he remodelled
we have proof sufficient. his own Don Carlos, and his friend's Four years before, when invited to Count Egmont, altering both accordthe university of Tübingen, Schiller ing to his latest views of scenic prohad received a promise, that, in case priety. It was farther intended to of sickness or any other cause pre- treat in the same manner the whole venting the continuance of his lite- series of leading German plays, and rary labour, his salary should be thus to produce a national stock of doubled. It was actually increased dramatic pieces, formed according to on occasion of the present removal; the best rules; a vast project, in and again still farther in 1804, some which some progress continued to be advantageous offers being made to made, though other labours often inhim from Berlin. Schiller seems to terrupted it. For the present, Schil
Wallenstein has been translated into French by M. Benjamin Constant; and the last two Parts of it have been faithfully rendered into English by Mr. Coleridge. As to the French version, we know nothing, save that it is an improved one ; but that little is enough. Schiller, as a dramatist, improved by M. Constant, is a spectacle which we feel no wish to witness: the very name Wallenstein clipped and docked into Valstein is, with our previous experience, quite satisfactory. "Mr. Coleridge's translation is also as a whole unknown to us: but judging from many large specimens, we should pronounce it, excepting Sotheby's Oberon, to be the best, indeed, the only sufferablc, translation from the German, with which our literature has yet been enriched.
ler was engaged with his Maria in all that he intended, Schiller has Stuart : it appeared in 1800.
succeeded : Maria Stuart is a beauThis tragedy will not detain us tiful tragedy ; it would have formed long. It is upon a subject, the in- the glory of a meaner man, but it cidents of which are now getting cannot materially alter his. Comtrite, and the moral of which has lit- pared with Wallenstein its purpose is tle that can peculiarly recommend it. narrow, and its result is common. To exhibit the repentance of a lovely We have no manners or true historibut erring woman, to show us how cal delineation. The figure of the her soul may be restored to its primi- English court is not given ; and Elitive nobleness, by sufferings, devo- zabeth is depicted more like one of tion, and death, is the object of the French Medici than like our own Maria Stuart. It is a tragedy of politic, capricious, coquettish, impesombre and mournful feelings; with rious, yet on the whole true-hearted, an air of melancholy and obstruction “ good Queen Bess.” With abunpervading it; a looking backward on dant proofs of genius, this tragedy proobjects of remorse, around on impri- duces a comparatively small effect, sonment, and forward on the grave. especially on English readers. We Its object is undoubtedly attained. have already wept enough for Mary We are forced to pardon and to love Stuart, both over prose and verse; the heroine ; she is beautiful, and and the persons likely to be deeply miserable, and lofty-minded; and touched with the moral or the inteher crimes, however dark, have been rest of her story, as it is recorded expiated by long years of weeping here, are rather a separate class than and woe.
Considering also that ihey men in general. Madame de Staël, were the fruit not of calculation, but we observe, is her principal admirer. of passion acting on a heart not dead, Next year, Schiller took possession though blinded for a time to their of a province more peculiarly his enormity, they seem less hateful than own: in 1801, appeared his Maid of the cold, premeditated villany of Orleans (Jungfrau von Orleans); the which she is the victim. Elizabeth first hint of which was suggested to is selfish, heartless, envious; she him by a series of documents, relatviolates no law, but she has no vir- ing to the sentence of Jeanne d'Arc tue, and she lives triumphant: her and its reversal, first published about arid, artificial character serves by this time by De l'Averdy of the Acacontrast to heighten our sympathy démie des Inscriptions. Schiller had with her warm-hearted, forlorn, ill- been moved in perusing them: this fated rival. These two queens, par- tragedy gave voice to his feelings. ticularly Mary, are well delineated; Considered as an object of poetry their respective qualities are vividly or history, Jeanne d'Arc, the most brought out, and the feelings they singular personage of modern times, were meant to excite arise within us. presents a character capable of beThere is also Mortimer, a fierce, im- ing viewed under a great variety of petuous, impassioned lover ; driven aspects, and with a corresponding onward chiefly by the heat of his variety of emotions. To the English blood, but still interesting by his ve of her own age, bigoted in their behemence and unbounded daring. The lief and baffled by her prowess, she dialogue moreover has many beau- appeared inspired by the Devil, and ties; there are scenes which have was naturally burnt as a sorceress. merited peculiar commendation. Of In this light, too, she is painted in this kind is the interview between the poems of Shakspeare. To Volthe queens; and more especially the taire, again, whose trade it was to first entrance of Mary, when, after war with every kind of superstition, long seclusion, she is once more per- this child of fanatic ardour seemed mitted to behold the cheerful sky. no better than a moon-struck zealot; In the joy of a moment's freedom, she and the people who followed her, and forgets that she is still a captive; believed in her, something worse than she addresses the clouds, the “sailors lunatics. The glory of what she had of the air,” who “ are not subjects achieved was forgotten, when the of Elizabeth,” and bids them carry means of achieving it were recollecttidings of her to the hearts that love ed ; and the Maid of Orleans was her in other lands. Without doubt, deemed the fit subject of a poemn, the
wittiest and most profligate for which don. Her darkness and delusions * literature has to blush. Our illus were of the understanding only; they trious Don Juan hides bis head when but make the radiance of her heart contrasted with Voltaire's Pucelle : more touching and apparent ; as Juan's biographer, with all his zeal, clouds are gilded by the orient light is but an innocent, and a novice, by into something more beautiful than the side of this arch-scorner.
azure itself. Such a manner of considering the It is under this aspect that SchilMaid of Orleans is evidently not the ler has contemplated the Maid of right one. Feelings so deep and Orleans, and endeavoured to make earnest as hers can never be an ob us contemplate her. For the latter ject of ridicule: whoever pursues a purpose, it appears that more than purpose of any sort with such fervid one plan had occurred to him. His devotedness is entitled to awaken first' idea was, to represent Joanna, emotions, at least of a serious kind, in and the times she lived in, as they the hearts of others. Enthusiasm actually were: to exhibit the superputs on a different shape in every stition, ferocity, and wretchedness of different age: always in some de- the period, in all their aggravation ; gree sublime, often it is dangerous; and to show us this patriotic and reits very essence is a tendency to er- ligious enthusiast beautifying the ror and exaggeration; yet it is the tempestuous scene by her presence ; fundamental quality of strong souls; swaying the fierce passions of her the true nobility of blood, in which countrymen; directing their fury all greatness of thought or action against the invaders of France; till has its rise. Quicquid vult valdè vult is at length, forsaken and condemned to ever the first and surest test of mental die, she perished at the stake, recapability. This peasant girl, who taining the same steadfast and lofty felt within her such fiery vehemence faith, which had ennobled and reof resolution that she could subdue deemed the errors of her life, and the minds of kings and captains to was now to glorify the ignominy of her will, and lead armies on to battle, her death. This project, after much conquering, till her country was deliberation, he relinquished as too cleared of its invaders, must plainly difficult. By a new mode of mahave possessed the elements of a ma nagement, much of the hoineliness jestic character. Benevolent feelings, and rude' horror, that defaced and sublime ideas, and above all an over encumbered the reality, is thrown powering will, are here indubitably away. The Dauphin is not here a marked. Nor does the form, which voluptuous weakling, nor is his court her activity assumed, seem less the centre of vice and cruelty and adapted for displaying these quali- imbecility: the misery of the time is ties, than many other forms in which touched but lightly, and the Maid of we praise them. The gorgeous in- Arc herself is invested with a certain spirations of the Catholic religion faint degree of mysterious dignity, are as real as the phantom of post- ultimately represented as being in humous renown; the love of our truth a preternatural gift ; though native soil is as laudable as ambition, whether preternatural, and if so, or the principle of military honour. whether sent from above or from beJeanne d'Arc must have been a crea low, neither we nor she, except by ture of shadowy, yet far-glancing faith, are absolutely sure, till the condreams, of unutterable feelings, of clusion. “thoughts that wandered through The propriety of this arrangement eternity." Who can tell the trials is liable to question; indeed, it has and the triumphs, the splendours and been more than questioned. But exthe terrors, of which her simple spirit ternal blemishes are lost in the intrinwas the scene ! “ Heartless, sneering, sic grandeur of the piece : the spirit God-forgetting French !” as old of Joanna is presented to us with an Suwarrow called them -- they are not exalting and pathetic force sufficient worthy of this noble maiden. Hers to make us blind to far greater imwere errors, but errors which a ge- proprieties. Joanna is a pure creanerous soul alone could have com tion, of half celestial origin, combinmitted, and which, generous souls ing the mild charms of female loveliwould have done more than par ness with the awful majesty of a pro
phetess, and a sacrifice doomed to tending dignity: we seem to underperish for her country. She resem stand how they must have carried bled, in Schiller's view, the Iphi- in their favour the universal convicgenia of the Greeks; and as such, in tion. Joanna is the most noble being some respects, he has treated her. in tragedy. We figure her with her
The woes and desolation of the slender lovely form, her mild but land have kindled in Joanna's keen spirit-speaking countenance; " beauand fervent heart a fire, which the tiful and terrible,” bearing the banloneliness of her life, and her deep ner of the Virgin before the hosts of feelings of religion, have nourished her country; travelling in the strength and fanned into a holy flame. She of a rapt soul; irresistible by faith; sits in solitude with her flocks, beside “ the lowly herdsmaid,” greater in the mountain chapel of the Virgin, the grandeur of her simple spirit under the ancient Druid oak-a than the kings and queens of this wizard spot, the haunt of evil spirits world. Yet her breast is not enas well as of good; and visions are tirely insensible to human feeling, nor revealed to her such as human eyes her faith never liable to waver. When behold not. It seems the force of her that inexorable vengeance, which own spirit expressing its feelings in had shut her ear against the voice of forms which re-act upon itself. The mercy to the enemies of France, is strength of her impulses persuades suspended at the sight of Lionel, her that she is called from on high and her heart experiences the first to deliver her native France; the touch of mortal affection, a baleful intensity of her own faith persuades cloud overspreads the serene of her others; she goes forth on her mis- mind; it seems as if Heaven had sion—all bends to the fiery vehe- forsaken her, or from the beginning mence of her will—she is inspired permitted demons or earthly dreams because she thinks herself so. There to deceive her. The agony of her is something beautiful and moving in spirit, involved in endless and horthe aspect of a noble enthusiasm rid labyrinths of doubt, is powerfostered in the secret soul, amid ob- fully pourtrayed. She has crowned structions and depressions, and at the king at Rheims;, and all is joy, length bursting forth with an over and pomp, and jubilee, and almost whelming force to accomplish its ap- adoration of Joanna: but Joanna's pointed end: the impediments which thoughts are not of joy. The sight long hid it are now become testimo- of her poor but kind and true-hearted nies of its power: the very igno- sisters in the crowd, moves her to rance, and meanness, and error, which the soul. Amid the tumult and magstill in part adhere to it, increase nificence of this royal pageant she our sympathy without diminishing sinks into a reverie ; her small native our admiration; it seems the triumph, dale of Arc, between its quiet hills, hardly contested and not wholly car rises on her mind's-eye, with its ried, but still the triumph of mind straw-roofed huts and its clear green over sate-of human volition over sward; where the sun is even then material necessity.
shining so brightly, and the sky is All this Schiller felt, and has pre so blue, and all is so calm, and safe, sented with even more than his usual and motherly. She sighs for the skill. The secret mechanism of Jo- peace of that sequestered home; then anna's mind is concealed from us in shudders to think that she shall never a dim religious obscurity; but its see it more. Accused of witchcraft active movements are distinct; we by her own ascetic melancholic fabehold the lofty heroism of her feel- ther, she utters no word of denial to ings; she affects us to the very heart. the charge ; for her heart is dark, it The quiet, devout, innocence of her is tarnished by earthly love, she dare early years, when she lived silent, not raise her thoughts to heaven. shrouded in herself, meek and kindly, Parted from her sisters ; cast out not communing with others, makes with horror by the people she had us love her; the celestial splen- lately saved from despair; she wandour which illuminates her after-life ders forth, desolate, forlorn, not adds reverence to our love. Her knowing whither. Yet she does not words and actions combine an over sink under this sore trial: as she powering force with a calm unprea suffers from without, and is forsaken
of men, her mind grows clear and ties, and furnishing them with a strong, her confidence returns. She proper passport to the minds of her is now more firmly fixed in our ad- age. To have produced, without miration than before; tenderness is the aid of fictions like these, a Jounited to our other feelings; and her anna so beautified and exalted, would faith has been proved by sharp vicis- undoubtedly have yielded greater situde. Her countrymen recognize satisfaction: but it may be questheir error; Joanna closes her career tioned whether the difficulty would by a glorious death; we take fare- not have increased in a still higher well of her in a solemn mood of he- ratio. The sentiments, the characroic pity.
ters, are not only accurate, but exJoanna is the animating principle quisitely beautiful; the incidents, of this tragedy; the scenes employed excepting the very last, are possible, in developing her character and feel or even probable : what remains is ings constitute its great charm. Yet but a very slender evil. there are other personages in it, that After all objections have been leave a distinct and pleasing im- urged, and this among others has pression of themselves in our me- certainly a little weight, the Maid mory. Agnes Sorel, the soft, lan- of Orleans will remain one of the guishing, generous mistress of the very finest of modern dramas. PerDauphin, relieves and heightens by haps, among all Schiller's plays, it is comparison the sterner beauty of the the one whch evinces most of that Maid. Dunois, the Bastard of Or- quality denominated genius in the leans, the lover of Joanna, is a blunt, strictest meaning of the word. Walfrank, sagacious soldier, and well lenstein embodies more thought, more described. And Talbot, the grey knowledge, more conception; but veteran, delineates his dark, unbe- it is only in parts illuminated by that liering, indomitable soul, by a few ethereal brightness which shines over slight but expressive touches: he every part of this. The spirit of the sternly passes down, as he thinks, romantic ages is here imaged forth; to the land of utter nothingness, con- but the whole is exalted, embellished, temptuous even of the fate that ennobled. It is what the critics call destroys him, and
idealized. The heart must be cold, On the soil of France in death reposes,
the imagination dull, which the JungAs a hero on the shield he would not quit. frau von Orleans will not move.
In Germany this case did not ocThe introduction of supernatural cur: the reception of the work was agency in this play, and the final a- beyond example flattering. The leadberration from the truth of history, ing idea suited the German mind; have been considerably censured by the execution of it inflamed the hearts the German critics: Schlegel, we and imaginations of the people; they recollect, calls Joanna's end a “rosy felt proud of their great poet, and death.” In this dramaturgic discus- delighted to enthusiasm with his sion, the mere reader need take no poetry. At the first exhibition of great interest. To require our belief the play in Leipzig, Schiller being in in apparitions and miracles, things the theatre, though not among the which we cannot here believe, no audience, this feeling was manifested doubt for a moment disturbs our in a rather singular manner.
When submission to the poet's illusions: the curtain dropped at the end of the but the miracles in this story are first act, there arose on all sides a rare and transient, and of small ac shout of “Es lebe Friedrich Schiller!” count in the general result: they accompanied by the sound of trumpgive our reason little trouble, and ets and other military music: at the perhaps contribute to exalt the he- conclusion of the piece, the whole roine in our imaginations. It is still assembly left their places, went out, the mere human grandeur of Joanna's and crowded round the door through spirit that we love and reverence; which Schiller was expected to come; the lofty devotedness with which she and no sooner did the poet appear, is transported, the generous bene- than his admiring spectators, unvolence, the irresistible determina- covering their heads, made a lane tion. The heavenly mandate is but for him, and as he passed along, the means of unfolding these quali- many, we are told, held up their