Letter 417g

417g. Schelling to Goethe in Weimar: Munich, 21 October 1806 [*]

Munich, 21 October 1806

Our hearts tremble when we think about you there in the midst of what is happening now in and around Weimar, and our sadness at the fate of the area in general is joined by the most intense worry concerning your own person, which is so dear to us all. [1] Although I have written to Jena trying to get information, [2] I cannot go without writing to you yourself.

I am hoping to receive some sort of news one way or the other, news that might comfort all your admirers and friends, though especially Jacobi, who is sick just now and thus doubly stricken thinking of the misfortune that has befallen your town and area. During these days, all our thoughts are with and around you. [3]

With eternal devotion and most loyally,



[*] Sources: Goethe und die Romantik 1:247–48; Fuhrmans 3:371. Back.

[1] Following the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, both Jena and Weimar were occupied by French troops and subjected to extensive plundering, destruction, and abuse of residents (Jacques Nicolas Tardieu, David Teniers, Les misères de la guerre [ca. 1736–91]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur Museumsnr. JNTardieu AB 2.12):



[2] Schelling wrote to Heinrich Karl Abraham Eichstädt the same day (Fuhrmans 1:372–73):

I cannot express how the fate of our good Jena grieves me, and no less that of Weimar, and our profound concern for our friends is mixed with sadness of a more universal sort.

How have you fared during these frightful days? And how our other acquaintances? Did a god not rescue Goethe from the wild assaults of this unfettered host? — Who managed to stay healthy and well amid these storms? —

Only now have I sensed how precious Saxony, and especially Jena and Weimar are to me. I feel for them as my for own fatherland, to which my heart clings with the most salutary memories. O but please console us soon with comforting news; if it cheers you to know that there are concerned friends everywhere here who feel the misfortune that has befallen you to be their own, then please be assured of precisely such presence,

(“Central Europe: Wars of the Third Coalition 1805–7,” Cambridge Modern History Atlas [Cambridge 1912]):



[3] Concerning the experiences of Goethe, Charlotte Schiller, and other residents in Weimar following the battle of Jena, see supplementary appendix 417g.1. Back.

Translation © 2018 Doug Stott