The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller

By Calvin Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
Dark Days Within and Without

1791-1794

Zu einer Zeit, wo das Leben anfing, mir seinen ganzen Wert zu zeigen, wo ich nahe dabei war, zwischen Vernunft und Phantasie in mir ein zartes und ewiges Band zu knüpfen, . . . nahte sich mir der Tod.--Letter of 1791.

THE year 1790 was the happiest of Schiller's life. For a little while, at last, fate became supremely kind to him. The reality of wedlock more than fulfilled his dreams, and it seemed as if all his vague malheur d' être poète were about to be buried in the deep bosom of connubial beatitude. 'We lead the blessedest life together', he wrote to Christophine Reinwald in May, ' and I no longer know my former self.' And a month later to Wilhelm von Wolzogen: 'My Lotte grows dearer to me every day; I can say that I am just beginning to prize my life, since domestic happiness beautifies it for me.' His income, indeed, was pitifully small, but his courage was great, his fame well grounded, and there were prospects here and there. From the first he had regarded the Jena professorship only as a makeshift. To bring variety into his academic routine he began, in the summer term of 1790, to lecture upon the theory of tragedy, developing

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