The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller

By Calvin Thomas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
The Bride of Messina

Das Leben ist der Güter höchstes nicht,
Der Übel grösztes aber ist die Schuld
.

'The Bride of Messina'.

AFTER the completion of 'The Maid of Orleans', in the spring of 1801, Schiller found himself once more the unhappy victim of leisure. A new task was needed to make life tolerable, but what should it be? 'At my time of life', he remarked in a letter to Körner, I the choice of a subject is far more difficult; the levity of mind which enables one to decide so quickly in one's youth is no longer there, and the love, without which there can be no poetic creation, is harder to arouse.' Ere long, having a mind to try his hand upon a tragedy in 'the strictest Greek form', he was musing upon that which in time came to be known as 'The Bride of Messina'.

For the present, however, and for some time to come, he did not advance beyond very general planning. In the summer he spent several weeks with Körner in Dresden, during which literary labor was suspended. After his return to Weimar, in September, he found the conditions without and within unfavorable to a serious creative effort, so he undertook a German version of Gozzi 'Turandot'. This occupied him

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