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well-known Henrietta Herz, Rahel Varnhagen, and Dorothea Veit, daughter of Moses Mendelssohn; among the men were Engel, Spalding, the brothers Humboldt, Schadow the sculptor, Bernstorff the statesman, and last and chief of all, not by reason of greater eminence, but by reason of his close intimacy with Schleiermacher, Frederick Schlegel. His first impressions of Schlegel are conveyed in the following words. They met at a literary society for mutual improvement.
"He is about twenty-five, and the extent and variety of his knowledge are al most inconceivable at his age. He possesses, moreover, an originality of intellect which, even here, where there is so much intellect and so much talent, far surpasses all others; and in his manner there is an absence of artificiality, a frankness and a childlike youthfulness, the combination of which, with his other qualities, is the most wonderful of all. Wherever he be, his wit and his simplicity make him the most delightful companion; but to me he is more than that; he is of the greatest and most essential benefit. I have never, it is true, been deprived of intellectual society here, and I have always known some man with whom I could talk about each individual science that interests me. Nevertheless I always feel the want of a companion to whom I could freely impart my philo sophical ideas, and who would enter with me into the deepest abstractions. This great void he has filled up most gloriously. To him I cannot only pour out what is already in me, but by means of the exhaustless stream of new views and new ideas which is ever flowing into him, much that has been lying dormant in me, is likewise set in motion. In short, as regards my activity in the world of philosophy and literature, my more intimate acquaintance with him forms an epoch. I say my more intimate acquaintance, for although I learnt to admire his. philosophy and his talents much sooner, it is one of my peculiarities that I cannot allow any one to penetrate into the inmost recesses of my mind until I am satisfied of the purity and uprightness of his character. I cannot philosophize with any one whose moral sentiments I do not approve. Not until I had acquired certainty in regard to these did I draw nearer to him; but now I am much in his society. He has not studied any so-called bread science, nor does he wish to hold any office, his desire being, if possible, to live frugally and independently on the proceeds of his writings, which embrace none but important subjects, as he never condescends, for the sake of money, to bring mediocre wares to market. He is always spurring me on to write likewise; there are a thousand things, he says, that ought to be said, and which I am just the one to say; and since he has heard me read a little essay of my own composition, he leaves me no peace. His Christian name he has in common with me; he is called Friedrich, and he is like me in many of his natural failings; he is not musical, he does not draw, he does not like the French language, and he has bad eyes. That I have spoken so much about him will not, I trust, be displeasing to you, as he is at present one of the persons here whom I like best.”
Not long after this Schlegel moved his quarters to the house
where Schleiermacher lived, in order to be habitually near him. The letter which describes their living together is so graphic and interesting, as to make an apology unnecessary for quoting it quite fully. Writing to his sister, he says :
“What a glorious change Schlegel's being with me makes in my existence ! How new it is to me only to have to open the door to find a rational being to talk to,—to be able to wish good morning to some one, and to receive a similar greeting in return, as soon as I awake,—to have some one to sit opposite me at table, and to whom I can communicate in the morning the good spirits which I bring home with me in the evening! Schlegel generally rises an hour earlier than I do, because I dare not, on account of my eyes, burn lights in the morning, and I therefore arrange matters so as not to awake before half.past eight. Sometimes, however, he lies in bed and reads, and I am generally awakened by the clattering of his coffee cup. From his bed he can open the door that separates my room from his, and then begins our morning chat. When I have done breakfast, we work some hours without interfering with each other; in general, however, we make a little pause before dinner, to eat an apple, of which we have a large and very choice provision; and while so doing we discuss the subjects of our studies. Then begins the second period of study, which lasts until dinner time, that is to say, until half-past one. As you are aware, I get my dinner from the Charitè, but Schlegel has his brought to him from a restaurant. Whichever comes first is first consumed, then follows the second course, then a couple of glasses of wine, so that we spend very nearly an hour at dinner. Of our afternoons I cannot give so decided an account; but I am sorry to say that I am generally the first to fly out of the cage and the last to enter in the evening. However, the whole of the latter part of the day is not devoted to social enjoyment, for several times in the week I attend lectures, and I also deliver some, of course privatissime, to some good friend or other, and not until this is done do I go whithersoever inclination directs me. On my return home in the evening, at about ten or eleven, I find Schlegel still up, but he seems only to be waiting to say good-night to me, and then he goes to bed. I, on the contrary, then generally sit down to work until towards two o'clock, for from that hour until half-past eight one may have sleep enough.”
Our limits will not allow us to continue the quotation, and cite the fervid words in which he expresses his admiration of the exalted intellect of Schlegel; admiration, too, not generally easily won from Schleiermacher, the most cautious and reserved of admirers. Yet in the course of a few months, the real hardnesses of the friend's character came out. Schleiermacher never saw reason to disown a word that he had written in praise of the genius of Schlegel; but he soon learned that in the affectionate elements of his nature he had no equal in his companion. Schlegel was all mind; Schleiermacher a being of mind and heart, too; and not the less heart because he had so much mind. So in time they wearied of each other and fell easily apart; not becoming cold to each other nor indifferent; but losing that warmth of attachment which made their friends call them husband and wife,-Schleiermacher, be it remarked, the wife.
After this Schleiermacher's most intimate friendships were with women. Platonic attachments do seem to have a significance in his life; and just as pure and holy as was Cowper's affection for Mrs. Unwin was Schleiermacher's for Henrietta Herz. Women could comprehend him best; men could measure the resources of his brain, but women, like the Herz and Rahel, could see into the whole capacities of the man. It is hard to write in general language of such relationships as those to which we allude ; but no one can run through the whole of Schleiermacher's correspondence without being convinced that there was a soul so poised, so devoted to the highest ends, as to find in women not a minister to any lust, to any mere sentimental development, but to the kindling of his whole . nature. Schleiermacher was twice in love: first with Eleonora Grunow, whom he was not destined to marry, and last, to Henrietta Muhlenfels, who became the true, devoted, excellent, and wholly sympathetic wife, whom such a man deserved. But when he loved them he loved no others; but he was drawn to the cultivated women of Berlin because they alone fully understood him, in a manner which shocked those who looked upon Schleiermacher as a common, light-minded man of the world, who concealed a weak heart and frail principles under the priest's gown. Hence, he was at first kept down by his ecclesiastical superiors, and suffered daily from misjudgments which were only too natural. Circumstances connected with his love to Eleonora Grunow added to keep these false judgments alive: we do not go into them here: we have neither time nor a wish to do so. Enough to say, that in that attachment Schleiermacher's heart was as pure and true as that of the sister who so anxiously and tremblingly watched his course, and prayed that he might be kept from temptation. The errors of his head which he made then he afterwards repented of; but his heart and his principles were always true.
A most busy, happy ecstasy was that Berlin epoch to Schleiermacher; I think it the sunniest time in his life. Abundance of friends, little knowledge of trouble of any kind, youthful elasticity, close intimacies with a few appreciative minds, a competent income and the freqnent letters of a wise father, made his days full of joy. But one great trouble overshadowed him, that was his love to Eleonora Grunow, which could not be responded to. This drove him at last from the city where she lived; he went into voluntary banishment, regretted by his friends, who thought that he was burying himself alive, but probably rather to be congratulated, for withont that step, the world might never have had, or enjoyed the Monologues, and the Discourses on Religion; and it is doubtful whether he could have accomplished that work, worthy of being the consummation of a single life, the translation of Plato, of which it is not too much to say that it divides its eminence with the Tieck-Schlegel version of Shakespeare, and has no other rivals. These were the fruits of his retirement at Potsdam and Stolpe; and we could have had nothing better from Schleiermacher than these. It would be interesting to enter into his literary habits while these works were constructing; but they are too little known with us to warrant a full account here. The Monologues produced a profound impression at the time when they appeared; as a series of studies on topics of pure sentiment, they were deemed as without a parallel; and used as we are to the discussion of kindred themes in the scattered Adam Bedes, Shirleys, and Minister's Wooings of our literature, the more abstract probings of Schleiermacher's steel do not move us so deeply as they once did. The Discourses on Religion were prefatory, too, to the great theological productions of their author; they are a fitting avenue to the closest student of his system, but they have been in a manner superseded by his later and more renowned works. The Glaubenslehre was the perfected fruit of that of which the Discourses were the fair blossom.
It is pleasant to turn from the elaborate works of Schleiermacher, during his term of retirement, to the easy, sparkling letters which so abundantly issued from Potsdam and Stolpe.
His learned style is, from first to last, massive, condensed, and involved almost beyond any other German writer. He was not like Kant careless of it; and the difficulty of reading him arises rather from its studied compactness than from any slovenliness. There are almost as few waste words with Schleiermacher as with Butler. He does not perplex you with a new nomenclature as Hegel does; he does not expand into generalities as Schelling does; he does not hunt up paradoxes as Fichte does; but in words which are in common use, with a clear adherence to his theme, and looking at the briefest statement of his thought, he marshals his words into a solid phalanx, where there is order and harmony of arrangement, but where all seems at first a dense assernblage of powerful words. But when he drops his learned style, he runs along like a singing brook, clear and sparkling ; no letters are easier than his to read, no thoughts more free from pedantry. You can hardly believe that the same mind indites both; and between the man and the theologian, most readers prefer the man.
A great mind might have written most of his works, but nothing but a soul which seems equally made up of man, woman, boy, and girl, could have written the letters. Strength, tenderness, vivacity, and modesty,-ambition, affection, sport, and reserve, all contend in them.
In due time Schleiermacher became Professor where he once had been a student,-in the University of Halle. His department was Metaphysics, but he was also preacher to the University. At once he stepped to the front rank. His works had given him a rising name, and hardly any veteran disputed the claims which his modesty, his learning, his acumen and his eloquence presented in his behalf. His most intimate friend at Halle was Professor Heinrich Steffins, the naturalist; the man to whom Guyot accords a passage of praise in the Introduction to “Earth and Man." Yet the atmosphere was soon clouded ; Napoleon approached Halle, sacked the city, disbanded the University, and Schleiermacher, after a brief but signally successful career, was thrown upon the world. From this time on, he contended with poverty and with trouble, but chief of all with fear for the future of his country.