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Friedrich von Schiller


"There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of Destiny."
~Friedrich von Schiller

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller is one of Germany's greatest literary minds, and I think he has been very unjustly underrated in the West. Upon his shoulders stands the German culture of the second half of 1700s, a young generation tired of the restraint and strict rigidity of Enlightenment (and its scientific approach to life), and wanting to break away from that stiff formulaic style in search of a fresh, vigorous, more aesthetic approach to life.
This period in literary German history (1760s - 1780s) is called "Sturm und Dräng" (translated as Storm and Stress, but I would say it's Storm and Urge, Storm and the spirit of the mood of this movement as you will see below), which was quite literally a cultural rebellion of the younger generation against the old, stiff, antiquated and moralizing values of the older generation that they thought were in need of an update. What the age of Enlightenment had done was in essence replace religion with science - the mysteries of life could now be explained away by cold facts and all the sense of wonder and magic was lost. (Let's add to this Germany's utter defeat and economic devastation suffered only a century prior in the Thirty Years' War, when all of Europe was engaged in what was in essence the real world war one, and all over some religious now, the Church was already losing authority and respect, and Christianity as an institution was weakening and declining, spurred on by scientific discoveries and secular philosophies). Not that Germany was secular in the 1700s - far from it, all the formal aspects of life continued to be cloaked in Christianity, but many young observers could sense that it was all a put-on show... In a world of scientific dogma, there was no place anymore for sincere and profound expressions of personal beliefs.
Enter the young minds who launched Sturm und Dräng. Among them: Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe; Friedrich Schiller; Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz; Friedrich Maximilian Klinger (whose stage play, "Sturm und Dräng", gave the whole movement its name).
Sturm und Dräng as a literary movement was a precursor of the full-fledged German Romanticism that will follow in its footsteps in several decades. Having taken off in early 1760s, Sturm und Dräng emphasized (and focused on) individual subjectivity - and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in response to the confines of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment. It was a movement of individuals who wanted to think for themselves, and express themselves on their own terms. All the pent-up formalities and bottled feelings and emotions that have been repressed by the "proper" society - all of that fermented a powerful Storm that kicked out the door and cleared the way for Romanticism to follow in its wake.

The literary works of this movement were like a gunshot in the wee hours of the morning - waking the new generation, challenging them to start thinking and feeling for themselves. Goethe's first novel, "The Sufferings of Young Werther" (1774), was a profound and vehement emotional outburst that no reader could ignore, forcing the reader out of the safety of his complacent social shell, to encounter one's own inner passions. Werther, a character Goethe based on his own personality, himself was a creative spirit, a poet as well as an artist, capable of being moved by the profundity of Nature's powers (and was made all the more convincing by the fact that Goethe used some of his own actual letters and diary entries within the novel). This deeper awareness of the Self was what the Sturm and Drang writers hoped to awaken.
Apart from "The Sufferings of Young Werther", most other writings of this movement came in the form of plays meant for theatre. Even here, we can see that urging immediacy of the spirit of the times: these fellows couldn't take the long waiting and stalling of a book publishing process, couldn't wait for a book to come out and find its readers - their message was so strong that they wrote directly for the stage, so it could be performed in a live theater environment when it comes out, for a live audience who would immediately absorb the play. Germany was not a unified nation yet in those times, and the Germans' thirst for a national identity was expressed in their rallying around one great cultural asset that they hoped to nurture and transform - the German Theater. (A hundred years after Sturm und Drang, Wagner would take this cultural institution to the next level of transcendence with his Music Dramas.)

But now, we return to Schiller's life.

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was born in Marbach, Württemberg in 1759. His father was an officer and a surgeon in the military, and his aristocratic upbringing was filled with discipline. He wanted to study theology and philosophy, seeking an outlet for individual self-expression, but instead he was forced by the local Duke to attend a military academy. The strict discipline only strengthened Schiller's longing for freedom. He studied law and then entered the newly created medical department, but was dismissed from the academy in 1780 after writing a controversial essay on religion, "On Relation Between Man's Animal and Spiritual Nature". It was a very individualistic attempt to make sense of the spiritual nature of man, and defied conventional indoctrinated thinking that reigned in those times, and it made the authorities nervous. At 21 he was then forced to join his father's regiment. Schiller continued to write through all these times, despite opposition from his father.
Schiller's first play, "The Robbers" (Die Rauber) was published in 1781. It may be said to be an expression of spiritual nationalism - a sense of identity defined not by physical land borders, but actually by OVERCOMING any borders and restraints from the shallow social "norms" and old moral codes. This play is about a noble outlaw, Karl Moor, who was driven out and disinherited by his oppressive father, and the son in turn rejects the outdated values of society around him. Surrounded by the freedom of the German woods (a close contact to Nature is already apparent), he sheds the social restraints and goes on to face his struggles and his inner passions. The play was an immediate success among young students of the time. Pressured by the Duke for his 'Sturm und Drang' writings, Schiller fled to Württemberg. In 1783 he was given a post of theater-poet at the Mannheim theater, but he lost it soon afterward: not everyone was ready to tackle the boldly phrased ideas he was writing about.
As Schiller became more active in literary circles, he ended up meeting Goethe. The first impression was humorously a negative one, but they ended up becoming great and close friends, and Schiller stayed in touch with Goethe for the rest of his life. They collaborated on many writings together, and published a literary magazine, for which they co-wrote maxim-like poetic snippets they called Xenien. Goethe was a great influence on Schiller, and helped him to guide his Sturm und Drang tendencies towards meaningful studies and disciplines, such as History and Art, with a profound emphasis on the human condition. That deep love of individual freedom and expression was transformed by Schiller into his love for Culture as a whole and the great and noble achievements of the western civilization. Schiller was a deep believer in the subjective, direct, personal, individual experience of the World - as pure as that of a child's. It may be said that there is something childlike in this idealism that fueled the Sturm und Drang and later the Romantics - but then again, a child's vision is pure and innocent and unobscured, and when many are forced to grow up and enter the society, this purity and clarity dies within... Schiller saw that childlike simplicity and naivete and Natural state as something to strive for and reawaken. "Every true Genius is bound to be Naive" - Schiller declared in his writings. Through Goethe's help, he was appointed Professor of History at Jena. During 1787 and 1792 he wrote on historical subjects, among others the history of the Thirty Years War, which has been so devastating for Germany to bear in the 1600s. Schiller was forced to give up his professional duties in 1791 because of pneumonia and pleurisy. He continued to write, and in the following decade produced philosophical poems and studies about philosophy and aesthetics under the influence of Kant. Schiller also assisted Goethe in Weimar in the direction of the Court Theater by adapting many plays for that stage. Succumbing to an early tragic illness, Schiller died on May 9, 1805, at the age of 46 in Weimar.

Schiller's message of freedom and love of the great spiritual potential that humans are capable of attaining can be felt in all of his works. Besides for "The Robbers" and a few others, he also wrote plays about historical subjects, choosing real historical figures who were struggling for their own freedom and self-expressions, and who could be seen as heroes and true individuals that stood out from the turmoil of the times. His dramatic trilogy "Wallenstein"(1796-99), named after a great general, depicted the tumultuous period of the Thirty Years War. The historical drama "Maria Stuart"(1800) was about Queen Elizabet I of England and the last days of Mary Queen of Scots, who was held captive in the Castle of Fothernghay and later executed simply because she was related to Elizabeth and thus a "Threat". Another play of Schiller called "The Maid of Orleans" was about Joan of Arc, a heroic French girl who turned the tide of war and led her nation to victory, but was betrayed by her own people and religiously persecuted for her strong self-expression. In the last drama "Wilhelm Tell" (1803), about the Swiss hero of that name, Schiller paid tribute to freedom and the dignity of men living close to Nature, a tribute to self-identity of a people that Schiller thought could be an inspiration to his own people.
The most famous of all his works however remains "An Die Freude", or "An Ode to Joy" as it is known in the English-speaking lands. It was immortalized by the great composer Beethoven who wrote music to that poem and made it the dramatic, emotional, and spiritual conclusion of his titanic Ninth Symphony.

The Goethe-Schiller Monument in Weimar, Germany... A tribute to an enduring friendship and perhaps the greatest literary/cultural collaboration of creative minds that Germany has seen.

"Dare to err and to dream. Deep meaning often lies in childish plays."
~Friedrich von Schiller

(Schiller's original poetic hymn "To Joy" is posted at the bottom of the page with its corresponding translation... as well as a selection of some other poems by him. Note that although he was formally a Christian - as was Goethe and the Romantics, including Eichendorff -, their references to the divinity is very broad and non exclusive. Indeed, they were dissatisfied by the way that the church conducted its affairs, and sought out a spirituality that would stem from their own sincerity, as opposed to stale alls-size-fit-all cookie cutter religiosity. This spiritual striving and quest was the very foundation upon which their creative achievements were based... So despite their formal training, there is nothing Christian in their works, and although they reference divinity in the singular form, they are not confined by monotheistic doctrines... Their hearts lie deep in the hidden valleys of their nation's past.

A Funeral Fantasie

Pale, at its ghastly noon,
Pauses above the death-still wood--the moon;
The night-sprite, sighing, through the dim air stirs;
The clouds descend in rain;
Mourning, the wan stars wane,
Flickering like dying lamps in sepulchres!
Haggard as spectres--vision-like and dumb,
Dark with the pomp of death, and moving slow,
Towards that sad lair the pale procession come
Where the grave closes on the night below.

With dim, deep-sunken eye,
Crutched on his staff, who trembles tottering by?
As wrung from out the shattered heart, one groan
Breaks the deep hush alone!
Crushed by the iron fate, he seems to gather
All life's last strength to stagger to the bier,
And hearken--Do these cold lips murmur "Father?"
The sharp rain, drizzling through that place of fear,
Pierces the bones gnawed fleshless by despair,
And the heart's horror stirs the silver hair.

Fresh bleed the fiery wounds
Through all that agonizing heart undone--
Still on the voiceless lips "my Father" sounds,
And still the childless Father murmurs "Son!"
Ice-cold--ice-cold, in that white shroud he lies--
Thy sweet and golden dreams all vanished there--
The sweet and golden name of "Father" dies
Into thy curse,--ice-cold--ice-cold--he lies!
Dead, what thy life's delight and Eden were!

Mild, as when, fresh from the arms of Aurora,
While the air like Elysium is smiling above,
Steeped in rose-breathing odors, the darling of Flora
Wantons over the blooms on his winglets of love.
So gay, o'er the meads, went his footsteps in bliss,
The silver wave mirrored the smile of his face;
Delight, like a flame, kindled up at his kiss,
And the heart of the maid was the prey of his chase.

Boldly he sprang to the strife of the world,
As a deer to the mountain-top carelessly springs;
As an eagle whose plumes to the sun are unfurled,
Swept his hope round the heaven on its limitless wings.
Proud as a war-horse that chafes at the rein,
That, kingly, exults in the storm of the brave;
That throws to the wind the wild stream of its mane,
Strode he forth by the prince and the slave!

Life like a spring day, serene and divine,
In the star of the morning went by as a trance;
His murmurs he drowned in the gold of the wine,
And his sorrows were borne on the wave of the dance.

Worlds lay concealed in the hopes of his youth!--
When once he shall ripen to manhood and fame!
Fond father exult!--In the germs of his youth
What harvests are destined for manhood and fame!

Not to be was that manhood!--The death-bell is knelling,
The hinge of the death-vault creaks harsh on the ears--
How dismal, O Death, is the place of thy dwelling!
Not to be was that manhood!--Flow on, bitter tears!
Go, beloved, thy path to the sun,
Rise, world upon world, with the perfect to rest;
Go--quaff the delight which thy spirit has won,
And escape from our grief in the Halls of the Blest.

Again (in that thought what a healing is found!)
To meet in the Eden to which thou art fled!--
Hark, the coffin sinks down with a dull, sullen sound,
And the ropes rattle over the sleep of the dead.
And we cling to each other!--O Grave, he is thine!
The eye tells the woe that is mute to the ears--
And we dare to resent what we grudge to resign,
Till the heart's sinful murmur is choked in its tears.
Pale at its ghastly noon,
Pauses above the death-still wood--the moon!
The night-sprite, sighing, through the dim air stirs:
The clouds descend in rain;
Mourning, the wan stars wane,
Flickering like dying lamps in sepulchres.
The dull clods swell into the sullen mound;
Earth, one look yet upon the prey we gave!
The grave locks up the treasure it has found;
Higher and higher swells the sullen mound--
Never gives back the grave!

(A pilgrim at the grave of Ulrich von Hutten, another painting by Caspar David Friedrich. The meditative spiritual contemplation is aptly captured by the Master on canvas...)

[The Poem in the Original: ]

Eine Leichenphantasie

Mit erstorbenem Scheinen
Steht der Mond auf totenstillen Hainen,
Seufzend streicht der Nachtgeist durch die Luft -
Nebelwolken schauern,
Sterne trauern
Bleich herab, wie Lampen in der Gruft.
Gleich Gespenstern, stumm und hohl und hager.
Zieht in schwarzem Totenpompe dort
Ein Gewimmel nach dem Leichenlager
Unterm Schauerflor der Grabnacht fort.

Zitternd an der Krücke
Wer mit düsterm, rückgesunknem Blicke,
Ausgegossen in ein heulend Ach,
Schwer geneckt vom eisernen Geschicke,
Schwankt dem stumm getragnen Sarge nach?
Floss es "Vater" von des Jüngings Lippe?
Nasse Schauer schauern fürchterlich
Durch sein gramgeschmolzenes Gerippe,
Seine Silberhaare bäumen sich. -

Aufgerissen seine Feuerwunde!
Durch die Seele Höllenschmerz!
"Vater" floss es von des Jünglings Munde,
"Sohn" gelispelt hat das Vaterherz.
Eiskalt, eiskalt liegt er hier im Tuche,
Und Dein Traum, so golden einst, so süß!
Süß und golden, Vater, Dir zum Fluche!
Eiskalt, eiskalt liegt er hier im Tuche,
Deine Wonne und Dein Paradies!

Mild, wie umweht von Elysiumslüften,
Wie aus Aurora's Umarmung geschlüpft,
Himmlisch umgürtet mit rosigten Düften,
Florens Sohn über das Blumenfeld hüpft,
Flog er einher auf den lachenden Wiesen,
Nachgespiegelt von silberner Flut,
Wollustflammen entsprühten den Küssen,
Jagten die Mädchen in liebende Glut.

Mutig sprang er im Gewühle der Menschen,
Wie auf Gebirgen ein jugendlich Reh;
Himmel umflog er in schweifenden Wünschen,
Hoch wie die Adler in wolkigter Höh';
Stolz wie die Rosse sich sträuben und schäumen,
Werfen im Sturm die Mähnen umher,
Königlich wider den Zügel sich bäumen,
Trat er vor Sklaven und Fürsten daher.

Heiter, wie Frühlingstag, schwand ihm das Leben,
Floh ihm vorüber in Hesperns Glanz,
Klagen ertränkt' er im Golde der Reben,
Schmerzen verhüpft er im wirbelnden Tanz.
Welten schliefen im herrlichen Jungen,
Ha! Wenn er einsten zum Manne gereift -
Freue Dich, Vater! - Im herrlichen Jungen,
Wenn einst die schlafenden Keime gereift!

Nein doch, Vater - Horch! Die Kirchhoftüre brauset
Und die ehrnen Angel klirren auf -
Wie's hinein ins Grabgewölbe grauset! -
Nein doch, lass den Tränen ihren Lauf!
Geh, Du Holder, geh im Pfad der Sonne
Freudig weiter der Vollendung zu,
Lösche nun den edlen Durst nach Wonne,
Gramentbundner, in Walhalla's Ruh!

Wiedersehen - himmlischer Gedanke! -
Wiedersehen dort an Edens Thor!
Horch! Der Sarg versinkt mit dumpfigem Geschwanke,
Wimmernd schnurrt das Totenseil empor!
Da wir trunken um einander rollten,
Lippen schwiegen, und das Auge sprach -
Haltet! Haltet! - Da wir boshaft grollten -
Aber Tränen stürzten wärmer nach - -

Mit erstorbnem Scheinen
Steht der Mond auf totenstillen Hainen,
Seufzend streicht der Nachtgeist durch die Luft.
Nebelwolken schauern,
Sterne trauern
Bleich herab, wie Lampen in der Gruft.
Dumpfig schollert's überm Sarg zum Hügel -
O, um Erdballs Schätze, nur noch einen Blick!
Starr und ewig schließt des Grabes Riegel,
Dumpfer - dumpfer schollert's überm Sarg zum Hügel,
Nimmer gibt das Grab zurück.

Der Abend

(Nach einem Gemälde.)

Senke, strahlender Gott - die Fluren dürsten
Nach erquickendem Tau, der Mensch verschmachtet,
Matter ziehen die Rosse -
Senke den Wagen hinab!

Siehe, wer aus des Meers kristallner Woge
Lieblich lächelnd dir winkt! Erkennt dein Herz sie?
Rascher fliegen die Rosse,
Tethys, die göttliche, winkt.

Schnell vom Wagen herab in ihre Arme
Springt der Führer, den Zaum ergreift Cupido,
Stille halten die Rosse,
Trinken die kühlende Flut.

An den Himmel herauf mit leisen Schritten
Kommt die duftende Nacht; ihr folgt die süße
Liebe. Ruhet und liebet!
Phöbus, der Liebende, ruht.


Friend!--the Great Ruler, easily content,
Needs not the laws it has laborious been
The task of small professors to invent;
A single wheel impels the whole machine
Matter and spirit;--yea, that simple law,
Pervading nature, which our Newton saw.

This taught the spheres, slaves to one golden rein,
Their radiant labyrinths to weave around
Creation's mighty hearts: this made the chain,
Which into interwoven systems bound
All spirits streaming to the spiritual sun
As brooks that ever into ocean run!

Did not the same strong mainspring urge and guide
Our hearts to meet in love's eternal bond?
Linked to thine arm, O Raphael, by thy side
Might I aspire to reach to souls beyond
Our earth, and bid the bright ambition go
To that perfection which the angels know!

Happy, O happy--I have found thee--I
Have out of millions found thee, and embraced;
Thou, out of millions, mine!--Let earth and sky
Return to darkness, and the antique waste--
To chaos shocked, let warring atoms be,
Still shall each heart unto the other flee!

Do I not find within thy radiant eyes
Fairer reflections of all joys most fair?
In thee I marvel at myself--the dyes
Of lovely earth seem lovelier painted there,
And in the bright looks of the friend is given

A heavenlier mirror even of the heaven!
Sadness casts off its load, and gayly goes
From the intolerant storm to rest awhile,
In love's true heart, sure haven of repose;
Does not pain's veriest transports learn to smile
From that bright eloquence affection gave
To friendly looks?--there, finds not pain a grave?

In all creation did I stand alone,
Still to the rocks my dreams a soul should find,
Mine arms should wreathe themselves around the stone,
My griefs should feel a listener in the wind;
My joy--its echo in the caves should be!
Fool, if ye will--Fool, for sweet sympathy!

We are dead groups of matter when we hate;
But when we love we are as gods!--Unto
The gentle fetters yearning, through each state
And shade of being multiform, and through
All countless spirits (save of all the sire)--
Moves, breathes, and blends, the one divine desire.

Lo! arm in arm, through every upward grade,
From the rude mongrel to the starry Greek,
Who the fine link between the mortal made,
And heaven's last seraph--everywhere we seek
Union and bond--till in one sea sublime
Of love be merged all measure and all time!

Friendless ruled Master the solitary sky;
He felt the want, and therefore souls were made,
The blessed mirrors of his bliss!--His eye
No equal in His loftiest works surveyed;
And from the source whence souls are quickened, He
Called His companion forth--ETERNITY!

[The Poem in the original: ]

Das Freunschaft

Freund! Genügsam ist der Wesenlenker -
Schämen sich kleinmeisterische Denker,
Die so ängstlich nach Gesetzen spähn -
Geisterreich und Körperweltgewühle
Wälzet eines Rades Schwung zum Ziele;
Hier sah es mein Newton gehn.

Sphären lehrt es, Sklaven eines Zaumes
Um das Herz des großen Weltenraumes
Labyrinthenbahnen ziehn -
Geister in umarmenden Systemen
Nach der großen Geistersonne strömen,
Wie zum Meere Bäche fliehn.

War's nicht dies allmächtige Getriebe,
Das zum ew'gen Jubelbund der Liebe
Unsre Herzen aneinander zwang?
Raphael, an Deinem Arm - o Wonne,
Wag' auch ich zur großen Geistersonne
Freudigmutig den Vollendungsgang.

Glücklich! Glücklich! Dich hab' ich gefunden,
Hab' aus Millionen Dich umwunden,
Und aus Millionen mein bist Du -
Lass das Chaos diese Welt umrütteln;
Durcheinander die Atome schütteln;
Ewig fliehn sich unsre Herzen zu.

Muss ich nicht aus Deinen Flammenaugen
Meiner Wolllust wieder strahlen sangen?
Nur in Dir bestaun' ich mich -
Schöner malt sich mir die schöne Erde,
Heller spiegelt in des Freunds Gebärde,
Reizender der Himmel sich.

Schwermut wirft die bangen Tränenlasten,
Süßer von des Leidens Sturm zu rasten,
In der Liebe Busen ab; -
Sucht nicht selbst das folternde Entzücken
In des Freunds beredeten Strahlenblicken
Ungeduldig ein wolllüst'ges Grab?

Stünd' im All der Schöpfung ich alleine,
Seelen träumt' ich in die Felsensteine,
Und umarmend küsst' ich sie -
Meine Klagen stöhnt' ich in die Lüfte,
Freute mich, antworteten die Klüfte,
Tor genug! Der süßen Sympathie.

Tote Gruppen sind wir - wenn wir hassen;
Götter - wenn wir liebend uns umfassen!
Lechzen nach dem süßen Fesselzwang -
Aufwärts durch die tausendfachen Stufen
Zahlenloser Geister, die nicht schufen,
Waltet göttlich dieser Drang.

Arm in Arme, höher stets und höher,
Vom Mongolen bis zum griech'schen Seher,
Der sich an den letzten Seraph reiht,
Wallen wir, einmüt'gen Ringeltanzes,
Bis sich dort im Meer des ew'gen Glanzes
Sterbend untertauchen Maß und Zeit -
Freundlos war der große Weltenmeister,
Fühlte Mangel - darum schuf er Geister.
Sel'ge Spiegel seiner Seligkeit!
Fand das höchste Wesen schon kein gleiches,
Aus dem Kelch des ganzen Seelenreiches
Schäumt ihm - die Unendlichkeit.

Another great painting by Caspar David Friedrich, celebrating true friendship and companionship. This one is my most loved painting by him, for a deep reason.

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium!
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, Dein Heiligtum.
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt,
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo Dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, überm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen!

Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!

Was den großen Ring bewohnet,
Huldige der Sympathie!
Zu den Sternen leitet sie,
Wo der Unbekannte thronet.

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn überm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Freude heißt die starke Feder
In der ewigen Natur.
Freude, Freude treibt die Räder
In der Großen Weltenuhr.
Blumen lockt sie aus den Keimen,
Sonnen aus dem Firmament,
Sphären rollt sie in den Räumen,
Die des Sehers Rohr nicht kennt.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.

Aus der Wahrheit Feuerspiegel
Lächelt sie den Forscher an.
Zu der Tugend steilem Hügel
Leitet sie des Dulders Bahn.
Auf des Glaubens Sonnenberge
Sieht man ihre Fahnen wehn,
Durch den Riß gesprengter Särge
Sie im Chor der Engel stehn.

Duldet mutig, Millionen!
Duldet für die beßre Welt!
Droben überm Sternzelt
Wird ein großer Gott belohnen.

Göttern kann man nicht vergelten;
Schön ist's, ihnen gleich zu sein.
Gram und Armut soll sich melden,
Mit den Frohen sich erfreun.
Groll und Rache sei vergessen,
Unserm Todfeind sei verziehn,
Keine Träne soll ihn pressen,
Keine Reue nage ihn.

Unser Schuldbuch sei vernichtet!
Ausgesöhnt die ganze Welt!
Brüder, überm Sternenzelt
Richtet Gott, wie wir gerichtet.

Freude sprudelt in Pokalen,
In der Traube goldnem Blut
Trinken Sanftmut Kannibalen,
Die Verzweiflung Heldenmut--
Brüder, fliegt von euren Sitzen,
Wenn der volle Römer kreist,
Laßt den Schaum zum Himmel spritzen:
Dieses Glas dem guten Geist.

Den der Sterne Wirbel loben,
Den des Seraphs Hymne preist,
Dieses Glas dem guten Geist
Überm Sternenzelt dort oben!

Festen Mut in schwerem Leiden,
Hilfe, wo die Unschuld weint,
Ewigkeit geschwornen Eiden,
Wahrheit gegen Freund und Feind,
Männerstolz vor Königsthronen, --
Brüder, gält' es Gut und Blut--
Dem Verdienste seine Kronen,
Untergang der Lügenbrut!

Schließt den heil'gen Zirkel dichter,
Schwört bei diesem goldnen Wein:
Dem Gelübde treu zu sein,
Schwört es bei dem Sternenrichter!

Joy, beautiful sparkle of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-drunk,
Heavenly one, your shrine.
Your magics bind again
What custom has strictly parted.
All people will be brothers
Where your tender wing lingers.

Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the entire world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father reside.

Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt
To be a friend's friend;
Whoever has won a lovely woman
Add in his jubilation!
Yes, who calls even one soul
His own on the earth's sphere!
And whoever never could achieve this,
Let him steal away crying from this gathering!

Those who occupy the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars
Where the unknown one reigns.

All creatures drink joy
At the breasts of nature,
All good, all evil
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and the vine,
A friend, proven in death.
Pleasure was given to the worm,
And the angel stands before his maker.

Do you fall down, you millions?
Do you sense the creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy,
Above the stars he must live.

Joy is the name of the strong spring
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy drives the wheels
In the great clock of worlds.
She lures flowers from the buds,
Suns out of the firmament,
She rolls spheres in the spaces
That the seer's telescope does not know.

Happy, as his suns fly
Through the heaven’s magnificent plain
Run, brothers, your track
Joyfully, as a hero to victory.

From the fiery mirror of truth
She smiles upon the researcher,
Towards virtue’s steep hill
She guides the endurer’s path.
Upon faith’s sunlit mountain
One sees her banners in the wind,
Through the opening of burst coffins
One sees her standing in the chorus of angels.

Endure courageously, millions!
Endure for the better world!
There above the starry canopy
Great Gods will reward.

Gods one cannot repay
Beautiful it is, to be like them.
Grief and poverty, acquaint yourselves
With the joyful ones rejoice.
Anger and revenge be forgotten,
Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
No tears shall he shed
No remorse shall gnaw at him

Our debt registers be abolished
Reconcile the entire world!
Brothers, over the starry canopy

Joy bubbles in the cup,
In the grape’s golden blood
Cannibals drink gentleness
The fearful, courage --
Brothers, fly from your perches,
When the full cup is passed,
Let the foam spray to the heavens
This glass to the good spirit

He whom the spirals of stars praise,
He whom the seraphim’s hymn glorifies,
This glass to the good spirit
Above the starry canopy!

Courage firm in great suffering,
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally sworn oaths,
Truth towards friend and foe,
Mens’ pride before kings’ thrones --
Brothers, even if it costs property and blood, --
The crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the lying brood!

Close the holy circle tighter,
Swear by this golden vine:
Remain true to the vows,
Swear by the judge above the stars!

Schiller's monument.

Another tribute to the friendship of Goethe and Schiller: a commemorative German stamp sheet.

Another great portrait of Schiller that shows his character.