The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller

By Calvin Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
The Soon of friendship

Wem der grosse Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein, . . .
Mische seinen Jubel ein.
--' Song to Joy'.

GOTTFRIED KÖRNER, father of the more famous Theodor, was some three years older than Schiller and belonged to an opulent and distinguished family. His father was a high church dignitary, his mother the daughter of a well-to-do Leipzig merchant. The boy had grown up under austere religious influences and then drifted far in the direction of liberalism. After a university career devoted at first to the humanities and then to law, he had travelled extensively in foreign countries, and then returned to Leipzig, full of ambition but undecided as to his future course. Here, in 1778, he became acquainted with Minna Stock, the daughter of an engraver who had once been the teacher of Goethe. Stock died in 1773, leaving a widow and two daughters to battle with poverty. The elder daughter, Dora, inherited something of her father's vivacious humor and artistic talent, while the younger and handsomer, Minna, was of a more domestic temper. When Körner fell in love with the amiable Minna and wished to marry her, he met with opposition in his own family, who thought that the 'engraver's mamsell'

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