Letter 297

• 297. Caroline to Schelling in Jena: Braunschweig, 6 March 1801

[Braunschweig] Friday [6 March 1801]

|69| A long, long letter from Schlegel arrived that I would send to you, or at least the part about the Kamäleon, with respect to which it certainly comes as no surprise that some insist it is red, others blue — except that I need precisely that part for negotiations with Vieweg and will thus save it for the next time. [1]

Tiek believes the Tower of Babel is by Brentano. [2] The artist Tiek is returning to Germany at Easter and will be spending the summer in Dresden with his brother. [3]


Although I would prefer to anticipate more calmly the letter I will yet receive from you today, my restlessly beating heart simply cannot. It is just that I have resolved |70| not to give it to my friend again if he is angry with me, and perhaps I will send this one off before I can receive the other. I love you dearly, you may hurt my feelings, grieve me, and disapprove of me, but you may not hate me, and if you think you do, abolish it beforehand, view it as not having taken place, and then behave with me instead according to your love. May God take you into his sacred protection.


Oh, you dear, weep not, I myself entreat you with tears not to do so. Can it be that nothing I have told you since then, nothing at all, has calmed or comforted you? Did you not find in it everything you wish in the way of soothing relief? My heart, after all, knows nothing more of the most recent umbrage, [4] indeed, it views it as accidental and views the present decision as the only true one of our love, a decision that had to emerge from that love, a decision which alone could clearly, firmly define the nature of our eternal alliance. Schelling, it is unutterable the way your melancholy is tearing my breast apart.

I could not read your letter yet again; it arrived earlier than usual, I was hardly aware of myself as I opened it. I love you such that I would think my love itself could heal you. Rush nothing — I will be seeing you over the course of the next month and will be staying in Jena for the summer, hence let me entreat you, for the sake of my own happiness, to stay there as well. [5] I surrendered myself totally to my hope and to the entirety of my tenderness after I had finally reached a firm point within myself, which gave me courage because it keeps me beyond the reach of any desecration by people. —

The opportunity to triumph — believe me — is one thing our enemies are not to have. — If during the semester break you could take a trip to Steffens if not with him, you would find me there upon your return. [6]

I am expecting my entire salvation from you, and such cannot fail to materialize for us both |71| if henceforth we no longer allow ourselves to be governed by tempestuous feeling. My soul is nourished by the certain prospect of a reunion very soon. I am feeling well and, to avoid overly exerting myself, am not planning to travel to my brother’s. [7]

Stay well, very well. I am separating myself even from this page only in order to recover. Do not neglect yourself amid your final public activities, and if you need momentary refreshment, go to Goethe — he knows you need it.


[1] Caroline mentions this errand to Friedrich Vieweg in her letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 5–6 March 1801 (letter 296) and then adds Vieweg’s written response at the end. The errand and communication seem to have involved an attempt by Ludwig Tieck to have Vieweg publish his response to the play Das Kamäleon. See note 34 there. Back.

[2] Concerning the satire Der Thurm zu Babel, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 27 February 1801 (letter 292), note 8. Caroline similarly mentions it in her letter to Wilhelm on 1 March 1801 (letter 293). Back.

[3] Friedrich Tieck was currently in Paris (Maurille-Antoine Moithey, L’Europe: Divisée en tous ses Royaumes et subdivisée en ses principales parties [Revue et Corrigée] [Paris 1785]; Bibliothèque nationale de France):


Concerning Tieck’s return to Germany from Paris and his anticipated work on a memorial for Auguste, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 6 March 1801 (letter 296):

I am very gratified at the news of Friedrich Tiek’s return and of the possibility that he still might take on the monument; he is more likely to develop a personal interest in it and can probably also still get it finished this summer.

See also note 12 there. Back.

[4] Uncertain allusion, as are many in Caroline’s letters to Schelling during this period. Back.

[5] Caroline arrived back in Jena on 23 April 1801. The implied plans for the following period are uncertain but, interestingly, apparently did not involve Jena. In any event, she remained in Jena even after the summer. Wilhelm arrived from Berlin on 11 August 1801 and did not leave until early November (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):

Braunschweig_Berlin_Jena_ map


[6] Henrik Steffens, who had spent New Year’s Eve 1800 with Schelling, Goethe, and Schiller (see supplementary appendix 279.1), had been living in Freiberg. He seems to have spent the summer of 1801 in Dresden and Tharand (Was ich erlebte 4:415), and the winter 1801–2 in Tharand before returning to Copenhagen in 1802.

Schelling in any case remained in Jena during the summer of 1801, then continued lecturing there during the winter semester 1801–2 (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[7] Caroline received a letter from Philipp Michaelis this same day concerning the visit (Caroline did make the trip); that letter seems to have arrived after this letter to Schelling but before she finished her letter to Wilhelm on 6 March 1801 (letter 296); see the editorial note and note 33 there. Back.

Translation © 2015 Doug Stott