OR, THE INHERITANCE
THE ILLUSTRIOUS GOETHE,
BY ONE OF HIS HUMBLEST ADMIRERS,
THIS TRAGEDY IS DEDICATED.
The following drama is taken entirely from
the German's Tale, Kruitzner
, published many
years ago in Lee's Canterbury Tales
) by two sisters, of whom one furnished only this story and another, both of
which are considered superior to the remainder
of the collection. I have adopted the characters, plan, and even the language, of many
parts of this story. Some of the characters are
modified or altered, a few of the names
changed, and one character (Ida of Stralenhelm) added by myself; but in the rest the
original is chiefly followed. When I was young
(about fourteen, I think) I first read this tale,
which made a deep impression upon me; and
may, indeed, be said to contain the germ of
much that I have since written. I am not sure
that it ever was very popular; or, at any rate,
its popularity has since been eclipsed by that
of other great writers in the same department.
But I have generally found that those who had
read it, agreed with me in their estimate of the
singular power of mind and conception which
it develops. I should also add conception,
than execution; for the story might, perhaps,
have been developed with greater advantage.
Amongst those whose opinions agreed with
mine upon this story, I could mention some
very high names: but it is not necessary, nor
indeed of any use; for every one must judge
according to his own feelings. I merely refer
the reader to the original story, that he may
see to what extent I have borrowed from it;
and am not unwilling that he should find much
greater pleasure in perusing it than the drama
which is founded upon its contents.I had begun a drama upon this tale so far
back as 1815 (the first I ever attempted, except one at thirteen years old, called Ulric and
which I had sense enough to burn), and
had nearly completed an act, when I was interrupted by circumstances. This is somewhere
amongst my papers in England; but as it has
not been found, I have rewritten the first, and
added the subsequent acts.The whole is neither intended, nor in any
shape adapted, for the stage.
| WERNE. HENRICH.|
| ULRIC. ERIC.|
| STRALENHEIM. ARNHEIM.|
| IDENSTRIN. MEISTER.|
| GABOR. RODOLPH.|
| FRITZ. LUDWIG.|
| JOSEPHINE. IDA STRALENHEIM.|
Scene -- partly on the frontier of Silesia,
and partly in
Siegendorf Castle, near Prague.
Time -- the Close of the Thirty Years' War.
The Hall of a decayed Palace near a small Town on the
Northern Frontier of Silesia -- the Night tempestuous.
WERNER and JOSEPHINE his wife.
Jos. My love, be calmer!
Wer. I am calm.
Jos. To me --
Yes, but not to thyself: thy pace is hurried,
And no one walks a chamber like to ours
With steps like thine when his heart is at
Were it a garden, I should deem thee happy,
And stepping with the bee from flower to
Wer. 'T is chill; the tapestry lets through
The wind to which it waves: my blood is
Jos. Ah, no!
Wer. (smiling). Why! wouldst thou have
Jos. I would
Have it a healthful current.
Wer. Let it flow 10
Until 't is spilt or check'd -- how soon, I
Jos. And am I nothing in
Wer. All -- all.
Jos. Then canst thou
wish for that which
must break mine?
Wer. (approaching her slowly). But for thee I had been -- no matter what,
But much of good and evil; what I am
Thou knowest; what I might or should
Thou knowest not: but still I love thee,
Shall aught divide us.
[ WERNER walks on abruptly, and then approaches JoSEPHINZ.