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sisting and confiding angels? Is this the age of Arcadia ? Do we live among Paladins and Sir Charles Grandisons, and are our weakness, and our innocence, and our ignorance, safeguards or snares? Do we indeed find our account in being
" Fine by defect, and beautifully weak?" No, no; women need in these times character be yond every thing else; the qualities which will enable them to endure and to resist evil ; the selfgoverned, the cultivated, active mind, to protect and to maintain ourselves. How many wretched women marry for a maintenance! How many wretched women sell themselves to dishonor for bread !-and there is small difference, if any, in the infamy and the misery! How many unmarried women live in heart-wearing dependence;—if poor, in solitary penury, loveless, joyless, unendeared; -if rich, in aimless, pitiful trifling! How many, strange to say, marry for the independence they dare not otherwise claim! But the more paths opened to us, the less fear that we should go astray.
Surely it is dangerous, it is wicked, in these days, to follow the old saw, to bring up women to be
happy wives and mothers;” that is to say, to let all her accomplishments, her sentiments, her views of life, take one direction, as if for women there existed only one destiny-one hope, one blessing, one object, one passion in existence; some people say it ought to be so, but we know that it is not so ; we know that hundreds, that thousands of women are not happy wives and mothers-are never either wives or mothers at all. The cultivation of the moral strength and the active energies of a woman's mind, together with the intellectual faculties and tastes, will not make a woman a less good, less happy wife and mother, and will enable her to find content and independence when denied love and happiness.
March 12. Goethe speaks with great admiration of the poems, original and translated, of Talvi, (Mademoiselle Jacob, now Mrs. Robinson, and settled, I believe, in America.)
There is a great deal about Lord Byron in scată tered passages. Goethe seems to have understood him astonishingly well—I mean the man as well as the poet.* At this time Lord Byron was turning all heads in Germany, and Goethe, who was flattered by the veneration and admiration of Byron, felt and acknowledged his genius." He was," says Ekermann, “ quite inexhaustible when once he began to speak of Byron,” and, as a poet himself, sympathized in the transcendent poetical powers he displayed; but as a philosopher and sage,
Goethe lamented the abuse, the misdirection of the talents he appreciated. He reproaches him with the negative, the gloomy tendency of his mind; he contrasts it with the healthful cheerfulness of such a spirit as Shakspeare's. Speaking of his strange attempt to defend and revive the strict law of the drama with regard to the three unities, he says pointedly, “ Had he but known as well how to restrain himself within the fixed moral limits !”
* Lord Byron ist nur gross wenn er dichtet, sobald er reflectirt dat er ein kind.
In another place he speaks with contempt of the poets, imitators of Lord Byron, “ who write as if they were all sick, and the whole bright world a lazar-house.” He says, “ It is a real misuse and abuse of poetry, which was given to us to console us in the struggle of life, and make man more content with the world he lives in, not less."
How entirely I sympathize with Goethe, when he breaks out in indignation against the negative and the satirical in poetry and art! He says, “ When I have called the bad-bad, how much is gained by that? The man who would work aright must not deal in censure, must not trouble himself about what is bad, but show and do what is good ;” and this is surely true. He says elsewhere, that when there was doubt and contradiction in his mind, he kept it within himself; he gave to the public only the assured result, (or what he considered such,) when he had arrived at it. This firmness of tone, this lofty and cheerful view of the universe and humanity, strike us particularly in many of Goethe's works. He says himself, that the origin of most of his lyrics was truth; some real incident, some real sentiment; and some of his fine moral poems—for instance, those which he has entitled
“ Gränzen der Menschheit” and “ Das Göttliche," remind me of Wordsworth, in the pure healthful feeling, as well as the felicity and beauty of the expression through which it has found a channel to our hearts.
He says of Winckelmann, with untranslatable felicity, “ Man lernt nichts wenn man ihn lieset, aber man wird etwas."
This next is amusing, and how frankly magnanimous! He says, “ People talk of originalitywhat do they mean? As soon as we are born, the surrounding world begins to operate upon us, and so on to the end. And, after all, what can we truly call our own, but energy, power, will ? Could I point out all that I myself owe to my great forerünners and contemporaries, truly there would remain but little over !” Goethe could afford to
this ! He speaks of Schiller so affectionately, and with such a fine, just discrimination of his powers ! * All in Schiller was high and great_his deportment, his gait, the mould of his limbs, his least motion, was dignified and grand--only his eyes were soft.” And, adds Goethe, “like his form was his talent. We lived together,” he says, “in such close, such daily intimacy, so in one another, that of many thoughts which occur in the works of both, it would be a question whether they originated with the one or the other.”
The two great men, thus bound together during their lives, were, after Schiller's death, placed in a
kind of rivalship; and still the partisans of the dif. ferent literary factions dispute where no dispute ought to exist. Coleridge says that “Schillər is a thousand times more hearty than Goethe, and that Goethe does not, nor ever will, command the common mind of the people as Schiller does." I be lieve it to be true. The reason is, that Schiller has with him generally the women and the young men, i e. those whose opinions and feelings are most loudly, most enthusiastically expressed. Goethe, in allusion to this, says playfully, “ Now have the public been disputing for these twenty years which of the two is greatest, Schiller or myself! Let them
and be thankful that have two such fellows to dispute about ! ”
He speaks of the new school of critical historians, who have endeavored to prove that all ancient history is fable.
* Till now," he says, " the world has believed in the heroism of a Lucretia, a Mutius Scævola, and has been warmed and inspired by the idea. Now comes some historical critic, and assures us that these personages never had a real existence; that it is all fiction and fable, invented by the grand imagination of the old Romans. What have we to do with such pitiful truth! If the Romans were great enough to invent such things, let us at least be great enough to believe in them !”
Here I should think he was speaking more playe fully and feelingly than seriously and critically and is it not charming ?