The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller

By Calvin Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
Later Poems

So führt zu seiner Jugend Hütten,
Zu seiner Unschuld reinem Glück,
Vom fernen Ausland fremder Sitten
Den Flüchtling der Gesang zurück,
In der Natur getreuen Armen
Von kalten Regeln zu erwarmen.

'The Power of Song'.

THE dominant note of Schiller's later poetry is intellectual seriousness; wherefore, if there be those for whom intellectual seriousness is not a quality of poetry at all, for them he has not written. The element of reflection is nearly always prominent in his verse, though there are a few of his poems, notably his best ballads, in which it is conspicuously lacking. What we usually hear is the man of culture commenting upon life, and everywhere he makes his appeal to universal sentiments. The spontaneity, or seeming spontaneity, of the great lyrists was no part of his gift. To catch a fleeting fancy, or some eccentricity of private emotion, and fix it in musical verse of a vague suggestiveness, was not in his line. If he had ever, like Heine, imagined himself joining his sweetheart in the grave and defying the resurrection in a rapturous embrace, he would probably have thought it beneath his dignity to

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