Letter 332

• 332. Caroline to Wilhelm Schlegel in Berlin: Jena, 26 November 1801

[Jena] 26 November [18]01

|218| Things have finally gotten going, and, God willing, you will genuinely experience Tiek being able to hand this letter to you personally. [1] It is also true, however, that the poor, tormented friend could not have come even a day earlier. There will now |219| be great splendor, and you yourself may have to step into the background for a while. I for my part am herewith delivering to all of you everything I have hitherto possessed in the way of the ingredients for life, to which Tiek with his images in plaster and crayon was certainly also to be reckoned; all that remains behind for me is pure life itself.

Tiek did, however, leave a stony guest behind for me as his gift for the hostess. The old master is now perched on a round table in the corner between the two windows. [2] But I am going to have something made, according to Tiek’s instructions, that it may be better positioned, a tall chest that is also a storage case and will contain books. The resemblance is superior, as you will see, and without any adornment. Schiller’s is rendered and fashioned with far more pretension, but this one will invariably oppress it with its simplicity if juxtaposed with it. [3]

I had to have the 4 Carolin that I had en dépot [3a] sent in advance to Friedrich, since they had not yet sent him anything or compensated him. Precisely to prevent me from getting into trouble on this account, however, providence itself had the postal carrier knock on my door at that very moment with the 6 louis d’or from Hannover. Your brother sends his regards. [3b] The principal that I am withdrawing will not be paid out until 2 February.

Yesterday no letter from you arrived, which was not at all to my liking. This morning, Schelling sent one, which was quite to my liking. I really had to laugh about the old sword of the Maid of Orleans. And what a gallanthomme Grattenauer is! Not a few bad jokes might doubtless be made about this maid as a virgin, and simultaneously about Schiller with his more noble figures. [4]

The copies of the Almanach just arrived. I will send you four and immediately take care of the rest according to your instructions.

Friedrich will also be taking a few books along for you that we consider basically the most necessary. [4a] It is still such that not all the others will fit into the crate, and I will wait for further orders before sending them by freight, where a hundredweight allegedly costs 3 rth. and all the books together can easily come to 2 hundredweights. As soon as you want them, you can receive them by freight as quickly as through the postal service, since freight shipments between here and Berlin are essentially set up and proceed the same as the mail. [4b]

You will be getting but a single shirt, despite all the effort. I just managed to finish the embroidery on this one this afternoon, before my eyes gave out. Things are being washed constantly. There will be ample opportunity for the 4th at some later time.

|220| But where are the liqueurs? [5] You could easily enough send them even if you have no money. I hope you have not forgotten that you need to demand 3 Carolin for the tea. [6] Everyone has liqueurs except me, who am in such need, and it is crazy enough the way the liqueurs of the others are constantly crossing my path. The messenger woman wanted to force one on me recently for Madam Paulus, and yesterday Friedrich’s little messenger girl came with a note in which he asked me whether Tiek were already here — at the same time, she handed me a bottle of maraschino. Julchen and I looked at each other with big eyes. I gave it back, but the little girl absolutely would not take it until we discovered that she also had an open note for Mereau, to whom Friedrich was offering to sell this liqueur because he had too large a supply. —

So send us some soon, my good Schlegel. All the Weimar liqueur is simply bad, though it does agree quite well with Friedrich. He was in the room this morning to see the bust of Goethe. But heaven help him, he is becoming quite fat. They will doubtless call him to account for it in Berlin, and he will provide an excellent testimony for the theory of stimulation. [7]

Tiek tells me that Friedrich assured him he would be residing with his sister. [8] But surely not Madam Veit. But Charlotte must have come around quite a bit to accept even that much. She does know what it means for Friedrich to reside with someone. Perhaps she believes everything has changed with him, and yet with respect to precisely that which formerly shocked her so severely about him, things have gotten much worse.

But I entreat you to take a moment and admire how they worked so covertly to attain their goals. Ludwig Tiek also now seems quite favorably disposed again toward Madam Veit. [9] When the occasion arises, confirm for Friedrich Tiek just how much effort Madam Veit expended to make all of us suspicious of Ludwig, and especially |221| you, who at the time were certainly least inclined to set store by such things.

You really should try to bring it up for discussion with Friedrich. The damage continues to spread. Rest assured that she has prompted him to speak against me in Berlin as well in order to sauver themselves; [10] the thing she fears most is that people may judge her badly in Berlin. [11]

But you do still hold these rights over him on account of so many fraternal favors. You already know my disposition, and this disharmony so tears me apart whenever on occasion my soul lingers with it that I would be glad to let go of every element of ressentiment, and be it ever so justified, if doing so would but dispel it.

For me in any case, it will be gone as soon as you and I come to an understanding with Friedrich. But to see Madam Veit again — that would be undignified, for I am convinced of her inner depravity. But that can be no hindrance for Friedrich as soon as I merely spare him with his conviction.

But enough of that. I just wanted to tell you that you should not go about this business so much with your usual reticence, and that you are certainly fully authorized to act on my behalf. It would have been very good had you visited Charlotte during the summer.


Tiek will tell you how very taken he was with the portrait. [12] Dear Wilhelm, it is incomparably truer than all the drawings and more charming as well. And by comparison, the last drawing almost loses the most because of an almost French turn in its rendering. And yet, since it does not have that melancholy character of the copy by Schwarz, [13] I have decided to send precisely this one to Marcus. It is a more amiable remembrance. Tiek is also copying the painting for us, and better. He has captured the unique quality of her gracious countenance extremely well.

I will give him one of the special printings of the Offerings for the Deceased to take along with him. You, as I, will probably also want to cut out the two sonnets by Tiek. [14] I had the others bound, quite cleanly, in gray paper, bright green on the inside. The Gotters are to have one, the Tischbeins one, my two brothers 2, Schelling one, and I one. [14a] From Tiek you need to demand 3 g. [uncertain reading] 1 ℔ of tea, 1 Herod [?], the copy of Shakespeare to the extent I could complete it here, the reprint, and 4 Allmanache. [14b]

Schelling sends his warmest regards. You can depend on my coming to you. [15]

I have written this amid constant interruptions and a bit of heartache. Stay very well.

Along with the liqueur you could perhaps also send 1 copy of Shakespeare, volume 8. [16] Please send at least a title page for my advance proofs. —

Have you seen the new Homer? [17] The changes do not seem to be significant. The “Consecration” could have been left out, and I will capitulate with Schelling in maintaining that he should not have had it bound in with it, since he did, after all, presumably refer once to you in it. [18]

So, so: Fichte is referring Schelling to the Parnassus? [19]

Rose’s sister is marrying a young tradesman, a needlemaker, from whom Rose now fetches us inferior sewing needles. [20] The wedding is in two weeks. Rose herself, however, is waiting for the one who promised to return. [21]


[1] Friedrich Tieck, who had been staying in Weimar, was about to depart for Berlin (on ca. 29 November 1801) with Friedrich Schlegel (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[2] That is, a cast of Tieck’s bust of Goethe, positioned apparently much like the busts at the left between windows, except in a corner (illustration from “A Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole At Strawberry-Hill near Twickenham, Middlesex,” The Works of Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford, 5 vols. [London 1798], 2:395–516; here: plate following p. 460):


“Gift for the hostess”: Friedrich Tieck had resided with the Schlegels at Leutragasse 5 for at least part of his stay in Jena, and perhaps for all of it.

Concerning Tieck’s bust of Goethe, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 16 November 1801 (letter 330), note 3 (Friedrich Tieck’s bust of Goethe; Edmund Hildebrandt, Friedrich Tieck: Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte im Zeitalter Goethes und der Romantik [Leipzig 1906], plate 2, following p. 24):



[3] Friedrich Tieck’s bust of Schiller has been lost. It might be recalled in any case that Caroline would clearly never have displayed a bust or portrait of Schiller; she is referring not to her own apartment, but to any juxtaposition of the two pieces.

Tieck writes to Wilhelm Schlegel on 2 August 1802 (Edmund Hildebrandt, Friedrich Tieck: Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte im Zeitalter Goethes und der Romantik [Leipzig 1906], 37): “What you write about my bust of Schiller [Hildebrandt’s note: “missing?”] is quite good, but even better that the duke wants to have it done and pay me.”

Erich Schmidt did not include in his edition the text that begins here and extends to “Yesterday no letter from you arrived.” The omitted text reads as follows in the manuscript (Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels; line breaks as in original; transcription by the translator and Hedwig T. Durnbaugh):

Ich habe F. die 4 Carolin nun noch vorab
folgen lassen müssen, die ich en dépot hatte,
denn bis jetzt haben sie ihm noch nichts geschickt
oder vergolten. Damit ich aber nicht in
Noth komme, hat die Vorsehung in dem
nehmlichen Augenblick den Briefträger
anklopfen lassen, der mir die 6 louisd’or
von Hannover brachte. Dein Bruder grüßt dich.
Das Capital was ich gekündigt habe, wird
erst am 2ten Februar ausgezahlt. Back.

[3a] Fr., “as a deposit in trust.” Back.

[3b] Caroline writes to Wilhelm on 23 November 1801 (letter 331) that “I know not why your brother writes not at all and does not send the interest payments. I will be writing to them today.” The nature of the payment is not clear. Back.

[4] An intriguing, and possibly salacious, but uncertain allusion to Schiller’s recent play Die Jungfrau von Orleans. Eine romantische Tragödie (Berlin: Unger, 1801), which had premiered in Leipzig on 17 September 1801 and in Berlin on 23 November 1801.

Here (1) an anonymous engraving of Johanna with her sword from scene 3 of the play’s prologue, just before her famous monologue in scene 4, and (2) an illustration from act 3, scene 9 (Berlinischer Damen-Kalender auf das Gemein-Jahr 1807; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):



Schelling in any case remarks in his letter to Wilhelm on 9 November 1801 (letter 329r) that “among other things, he [Goethe] remarked that women found it [the play] quite pleasing because for once it was a virgin rather than a wh***.” Back.

[4a] Erich Schmidt did not include in his edition the text that begins here and extends to the end of the paragraph. The omitted text reads as follows in the manuscript (Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels; line breaks as in original; transcription by the translator and Hedwig T. Durnbaugh):

immer gehn die andern nicht [above line: alle] in den Kasten, und
ich werde warten bis auf weitere Ordre
ehe ich sie mit Fracht schicke, wo der Zentner
3 rth kosten soll und 2 Zentner können
sie leicht ausmachen. Sobald du sie haben
wilst, hast du sie mit Fracht so schnell wie mit
der Post, weil sie ordentlich postmäßig
zwischen hier und Berlin eingerichtet ist. Back.

[4b] J. E. Gailer, Neuer Orbis Pictus für die Jugend oder Schauplatz der Natur, der Kunst und des Menschenlebens, 5th ed. (Reutlingen 1842), plate 137:


Freight could also be forwarded under certain conditions by slower slower postal coaches that essentially left on the same schedule as normal postal coaches. Back.

[5] Caroline mentions these liqueurs in her letter to Wilhelm on 16 November 1801 (letter 330); see note 30 there. Back.

[6] Presumably a reference to the tea Wilhelm had provided Sophie Bernhardi; see his letter to her on 18 September 1801 (letter 329e), with notes 2 and 3. Back.

[7] I.e., the medical theory associated with John Brown.

Here Friedrich Schlegel ca. 1810 (from Friedrich Vogt and Max Koch, Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur von den ältesten Zeiten bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 3 [Leipzig, Vienna 1920), plate following p. 32):


In March 1802 (letter 441), Caroline remarks that Friedrich “is allegedly already almost as fat, idle, and gluttonous as a monk” (Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Gramsalbus wettet [1793]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Chodowiecki Sammlung [6-420]):



[8] Viz., in Dresden (Rudolf Koch and Fritz Kredel, Deutschland und angrenzende Gebiete [Leipzig 1937]):



[9] Such was not at all always the case; see Tieck’s letter to August Ferdinand and Sophie Bernhardi on 6 December 1799 (letter 257c). Back.

[10] Fr., “save, rescue.” Back.

[11] Dorothea was originally from Berlin, and her brothers and ex-husband, Simon Veit, as well as her son Jonas Veit were still there. Back.

[12] Of Auguste, though it is uncertain which rendering is meant. Unfortunately, all renderings of Auguste seem to have been lost except for her portrait by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein; see Sophie Tischbein’s letter to Caroline on 28 August 1800 (letter 267), note 2. Back.

[13] Presumably the painter whom Caroline saw in Munich on his return from Rome; see her letter to Luise Gotter on 10 July 1807 (letter 423). Back.

[14] In the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802, Wilhelm’s two concluding pieces, “An Novalis” (181–86), in his cycle “Todtenopfer,” are followed on 187 by two of Tieck’s sonnets, “To Novalis 1, 2” (187–8) which, unlike Wilhelm’s, which do at least exhibit an inner connection with Auguste, have no real relationship to her at all. Back.

[14a] Erich Schmidt did not include in his edition the text that begins here and extends to the end of the paragraph. The omitted, in part rather obscure text reads as follows in the manuscript (Digitale Edition der Korrespondenz August Wilhelm Schlegels; line breaks as in original; transcription by the translator and Hedwig T. Durnbaugh):

Du hast von T[ieck]. zu fordern 3 g. Beinbl. [?]
1 ℔. Thee, [above line: 1 Herod (?)] das Exemplar vom Shakesp. so
weit ichs hier complettiren konnte
jenen Abdruck und 4 Allmanache. Back.

[14b] Friedrich Tieck was about to depart for Berlin with Friedrich Schlegel on ca. 29 November 1801. Back.

[15] I.e., to Berlin; Caroline departed for Berlin in mid-March 1802. Back.

[16] Vol. 8, which had appeared at Michaelmas 1801, contained The Second Part of King Henry VI and The Third Part of King Henry VI. Back.

[17] Johann HeinrichVoss’s revised edition of Homer, Homers Werke, 2nd ed., 4 vols. (Berlin 1802), opens with a lengthy, Klopstockian-inspired poem, “Die Weihe” (The consecration), which (in the opinion of Erich Schmidt, [1913], 2:627) he would have been better advised not to have adapted from the old hexameters addressed to F. L. Stolberg at the beginning of the first edition, Homers Odüsee übersetzt von Johann Heinrich Voss (Hamburg 1781).

Here the frontispiece to vol. 1 of the first edition of 1802 and the maps included in the 2nd ed. 1802; see next footnote concerning Voss’s alleged poetic encounter with Homer himself:




[18] Caroline imputes the following verses from “Die Weihe” as having applied to Wilhelm’s grand review of Voss’s translation (concerning the review, see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 31 May–1 June 1801 [letter 319], note 32, and supplementary appendix 319.2):

 undeterred by the noise of hostile foul
Fluttering up, quarrel-ready, from the rubble;
Humbly you descend into the cleft,
And receive (for she offers no deceptive distortion)
From the hand of Ionia your garland of consecration and vivifying nectar.
Let it be not the world of today that thanks you as earlier me, but the world of posterity.

Voss’s “Die Weihe” is essentially a rhapsodic account of how Homer himself “consecrated” Voss to translate him, Homer, into German. In an account of how a rural north German landscape begins transforming into a Mediterranean one, Voss hears the “Lied of the Ionian singer,” and then (approximate prose translation):

. . . grove and meadows
Disappeared in the light; pleasing sounds, like those of amorous nightingales,
Resonated; and the fragrance of roses, more fragrant still, arose round about.
And behold, from out of the light came an immortal one; his form was
Morning radiance, flowing through mist, like northern light;
Laurels crowned his harp and his silver-haired head.
When I turned my astonished gaze, the hero gently
Took my hand; and in anxious rapture did my heart pound.
But he now began, amiably, uttering sounds of heaven:

Turn not away so anxiously, you Hyperborean youth;
Lift your gaze, for you I am the familiar singer of Chios,
Whom you so often have called with the voice of fervent love,
O lonely one, when gazing, rapt, at my picture, or the echo
Of my song, not knowing that Father Homer was hovering about you.

After singing his own praises, Homer mentions the gifts he bestowed on the Ionian language, then summarizes:

This blossom of the Good, sprouting with spiritual beauty,
Did I bestow, in garlands arranged, to the youthful Ionian language.
For the All-Father did command me to consecrate her [the Ionian language]
Priestess at the oracle of his nature, the virgin with such gracious speech:
That she might freshen the flowers with daily sprinkling of nectar,
And, with wreathed head, prophesy. Virtue and grace
Did her amiable lips sing; and all about did to the calmed nations
Nature become sacred and sublime, the visible deity of the Infinite One.

Voss now introduces the first of a parallel pair of threats, this one with devastating consequences:

But then a swarm, inimical to reason, in barbarian madness,
Swarmed thereto like the night, slaying the sanctuary
Of purified humankind, and its altar, and its purple-flowed sacred grove;
Such that with rescued garlands the priestess could hardly
Flee into the rocky cleft, and die. Only a few solitary, pensive pilgrims,
Now walk round the ruins, and, with alert ear, hear in that cleft
Soft songs like distantly echoing whispers of the harp.

Homer now summons Voss to follow as a consecrated disciple in his steps:

Son of the more noble language Teutonia, which with the younger
Sister Ionia played so on Thracian mounts around Orseus,
Inspired by the same nourishment of nectar grape;
Then in the bard's grove of irreproachable Hyperboreans,
Oft visited by Apollo, with the sacred people of freedom
Sacred and free, who turned away from playmates who, dishonored by
Every victor, imitated commanded words from foreign lands:
Lift that sensibility from the dust, to the comprehension of divine speech,
Such that for the chaste altar of Teutonia you, a consecrated
Herald, nectarian garlands of my song do conjure.
Nocturnally shall my spirit hover around you with intimating profundity,
And ardent love for all power and beauty;
Till you portray nature's simplicity and own grandeur
Through the animation of purely resonating words. Traverse with courage
That laborious path, trusting your controlling guide.
Just as, guided by the sun, the all-vivifying earth does go;
Now amid storm and clouds, now in ethereal clarity
Does it strive forward, gladdening the nations with light and warmth:
Hence you, too, O comrade, through joy and pain strive forth on this path,
Departing not from the goal, with zealousness confidently constant,
Finally approaching, undeterred by the noise of hostile foul
Fluttering up, quarrel-ready, from the rubble; climb you down into the cleft
Humbly, and receive (for she offers no deceptive distortion)
From the hand of Ionia your garland of consecration and vivifying nectar.
Let it be not the world of today who thanks you as earlier me, but the world of posterity.

Thus spoke the figure, and disappeared. . . .

And finally did I awaken from the dream, and shuddered. Grove and field
Verdant as before, yet the sun, dipped in glowing floods,
Did shine amid the branches into my countenance with reddish shimmer. . . .

Caroline is implying that the adjuration not to be deterred by the “noise of hostile foul
fluttering up, quarrel-ready, from the rubble” in fact alludes to Wilhelm’s earlier review of Voss in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. Back.

[19] Uncertain allusion, though see Caroline’s letter to Wilhelm on 23 November 1801 (letter 331), in which Caroline mentions Schelling and Hegel’s plans to publish a new philosophical periodical, their Kritisches Journal der Philosophie, though Caroline told Wilhelm not to tell Fichte about it yet. See note 16 there. Back.

[20] In 1795 Jena had 3 needlemasters, 2 journeymen needlemakers, and 1 apprentice needlemaker (Johann Ernst Basil. Wiedeburg, Topographische Beschreibung der Stadt Jena nebst ihrer politischen und akademischen Verfassung [Weimar 1795], 340).

Later, in 1805 Jena had five needlemakers and three needle smiths (Johann Adolph Leopold Faselius, Neueste Beschreibung der Herzoglich Sächsischen Residenz- und Universitäts-Stadt Jena [Jena 1805], 158).

Here needlemakers in the late seventeenth century (Christoff Weigel, Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an biß auf alle Künstler und Handwercker nach Jedes Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht etc. [Regenspurg 1698], plate following p. 344) and early nineteenth century (J. E. Gailer, Neuer Orbis Pictus für die Jugend oder Schauplatz der Natur, der Kunst und des Menschenlebens, 5th ed. [Reutlingen 1842], plate 188); note the steel wire on lathes in both illustrations:




[21] Apparently a certain Herr Moser, whom Caroline mentions in her letter to Wilhelm on 10 December 1801 (letter 335) and who had allegedly left at Michaelmas.

Caroline and Wilhelm had a similar discussion with respect to Rose’s love life back on 7–8 May (letter 314): “I am not aware of any lover, either rejected or otherwise.” Caroline relates to Wilhelm in her letter to him on 10 December 1801 (letter 335) that the sister had indeed married and that Rose was still waiting.

See also Friedrich and Dorothea’s letter to Wilhelm Schlegel on 30 September 1800 (letter 269a), in which Dorothea asks rhetorically: “Is it not droll that Friedrich is sending along to you an inventory of Rose’s virtues? I for my part, however, contend that his suspicions are unfounded, even though — she was not courted shabbily at all” (frontispiece to Moritz August Thümmel, Reise in die mittäglichen Provinzen von Frankreich im Jahr 1785 bis 1786, vol. 8 (Leipzig 1810):



Translation © 2015 Doug Stott