CHAPTER 7
Courtship and Marriage

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

—Shakespeare, The Twenty-ninth Sonnet

WITH THEIR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER NOW ACKNOWLEDGED, and his association with Ernestine formally broken off, Schumann undoubtedly felt it would be a simple matter to gain the consent of Clara's father, and that their marriage would take place within a reasonable period of time. But Schumann was to find in Friedrich Wieck a stubborn, persistent, cunning, and often unethical opponent who would stop at nothing to prevent his daughter's marriage to Schumann. Why did Wieck react in such a manner? Writing to Baron von Fricken, he had described Schumann as “noble, excellent, fanciful, highly gifted—a composer and writer of deep feeling and exceptional talent”—admirable characteristics for a prospective son-in-law. Yet, within a few years, Wieck was publicly vilifying both his daughter and Schumann. Probably the deciding factor for Wieck was his conviction

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