Letter 259p

259p. Wilhelm Schlegel to Goethe in Leipzig: Jena, 4 May 1800 [*]

Jena, 4 May 1800

Many, many thanks for the refreshment provided by the excellent Hungarian wine, which has proven to be a true balm for my wife. [1] Unfortunately, her condition is such that she still needs such fortifiers; she is recovering her strength only very slowly and is still constantly interrupted by the cramping.

Her physician would like for her to take a journey, believing it might contribute decisively to her recovery, to which end, if possible, we need to take advantage of the current splendid weather we are enjoying. Hence she will probably be leaving her sickbed the day after tomorrow; [2] I will accompany her as far as Rudolstatt or Saalfeld, whence she will travel on to Bamberg, which it is only a few hours from the mineral-springs spa she is to use soon, namely, Bocklet. [3]

Although my brother greatly lamented not having met up with you, he did return with a bit of hope that we will be seeing you here soon. [4] I myself am thinking about coming over to Weimar once more after successfully enduring a business trip to Leipzig. [5] . . .

Tieck has still not recovered completely; I think he will probably need to visit a mineral-springs spa himself, but he refuses to believe such is the case. [6]

Schelling left us early the day before yesterday. [7]

Stay very well; kind regards from us all.


I am enclosing a letter from my brother-in-law, the army physician Michaelis in Harburg, containing details of a terrible occurrence about which you may perhaps have read in the newspapers. [8] . . .


[*] Source: Körner-Wieneke 102–3. Back.

[1] “Fortifiers” such as Hungarian wine were regularly prescribed for certain types of nervous fever. See Wilhelm’s letters to Goethe on and 23 March and 1 April 1800 (letters 258v, 259a), esp. letter 258v, note 4. Back.

[2] Although this remark tentatively dates Caroline’s departure from Jena to Tuesday, 6 May 1800, Friedrich Schlegel mentions in a letter to Schleiermacher on Monday, 5 May 1800 (letter 259r) that Caroline had already departed. Back.

[3] Concerning the route from Jena to Bamberg, see Schelling’s letter to Adalbert Friedrich Marcus on 3 May 1800 (letter 259o), note 7. Rudolstadt and Saalfeld were the second and third postal stations along that route (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795]):


A further journey is needed to travel from Bamberg to Bocklet, the nearest postal station to which is Münnerstadt (Post Karte Durch ganz Deutschland, ed. J. Walch [Augsburg 1795])



[4] Friedrich had just missed Goethe in Weimar on 28 April 1800, the day Goethe left for Leipzig; see Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 27 April 1800 (letter 259j), note 5. Back.

[5] Wilhelm had visited Goethe in Weimar back on 26 March 1800; see his letter to Goethe on 23 March 1800 (letter 258v). He meets with Goethe again in Leipzig on 12 May 1800 (Weimarer Ausgabe 3:2:295). Back.

[6] Tieck suffered from rheumatism and gout his entire life. See Wilhelm’s letter to Goethe on 28 February 1800 (letter 258o) along with note 5. Back.

[7] This remark dates Schelling’s departure from Jena to Friday, 2 May 1800, surprisingly, perhaps, on foot (Matthäus Merian, Hohe Straße und Fluß [1622]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur MMerian AB 3.273):



[8] Uncertain reference; although a perusal of recent copies of the Staats- und gelehrte Zeitung des Hamburgischen unpartheyischen Correspondenten would likely reveal the nature of this event, issues from 1800 are difficult to access. Back.

Translation © 2014 Doug Stott