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Opa kriegt nichts mehr zu trinken! Dietmar Grieser. Ostfahrten 1hm. Aietes' guilt-laden conscience cannot bear so much light, and thus Medea extinguishes her torch. She yields to her father's wishes, and she agrees to make use of her art, to slay the bold foreigners. For this purpose, she invokes the dustern Geister der schaurigen Nacht. The appearance of Jason, who repre- sents Light, sets off Medea's characteristics still more promi- nently. During her invocation of the furchtbare Fiirsten der Tiefe, she is surprised by Jason.
He wounds her and would have killed her, but as he raises the lamp to discover her hiding-place, he is awed by so much beauty which darkness had concealed from him. Light-Jason finally conquers Dark- ness-Medea, because into her soul have penetrated the heavenly rays of light, of love.
The next act contains the following significant introductory note : Es ist Tag, There remains to be discussed under the heading of light and darkness, the contrast between the two which Grillparzer uses with considerable effect. While light leads to knowledge, in so far as it represents experience gained through our visual sense, darkness makes appeal to our inner feeling. Too much light, however, is as harmful as too much darkness, and nature has thus wisely provided for a proper distribution of each. The entire contrast is visual- ized by means of describing the joy of one who sees the sun- light again after being cast suddenly into the dark depths of the sea.
We have here all the characteristics of darkness: horror, gloom, and quiet, set off by all the attributes of light : impulse of energy, sound and joy of living. In his apology to Kreusa, for allowing himself to fall in love with the Barbarian woman, Jason also effectively avails himself of the contrast between light and darkness. As we have seen, Medea always represents darkness, in spite of the above-quoted passage which seems to me to characterize Jason's infatuation as an illusion. The very failure of the marriage between Jason and Medea appears to be caused by the contrast of light and darkness, sunrise and sunset, day and night, which has been shown to exist between the two.
A union of two elements so opposed to each other is an impossibility, just as day and night can have no place side by side. Their paths, aims and purposes lie in altogether different directions, and their children — they are Jason's children as well as Medea's, but they resemble him more than her — are the chil- dren of light rather than of darkness, and they obey more readily the impulses of light. So frei und offen bist du Jasons Braut! Jason here desires to wed light unto darkness, and the under- taking of the impossible must finally be fatal to both.
A general description of water is given in the poem Das Spiegelbild. He forgets, for a moment, his prejudice against water's treachery, and associates the still purity of the transparent element with the longing of his heart, resolving to settle here, and to dwell in harmony with it, in the expecta- tion of finding rest and comfort : " V, p.
But suddenly he beholds in the water not only his own picture, but also that of a friend whom he believed in the distance, and this reminds him again of water's insincerity. However, he is far from quarreling with nature on this account, and he accepts and appreciates nature as she is : to suggest improve- ments would seem sacrilegious to him : Des Wassers Art ist eben so, Zeigt nicht nur ein Gesicht, Die ganze Welt ist dessen froh, Und ich auch grolle nicht.
In spite of the unreliability of water, the poet is ready to enjoy its beauties, also in the future ; but appreciation of beauty does not lay claim to trust, and he decides therefore to build his home elsewhere. The insincere character of water is made the object of description in a number of other passages. Grillparzer's personal sincerity and straightforwardness resents it, and yet there seems to be a peculiar attraction for him in this par- ticular trait. Like Lord Byron, he is at times aroused by the beautiful spectacle presented by the conspiracy of the raging elements against man.
However, far more important than the treatment of water as a treacherous element are Grillparzer's allusions to its harmoni- ous language. P- 87 language of water. The poem represents a dialogue between two waves. The second, i, e,, the next- following wave, crowds upon the first. The latter remonstrates, claiming priority, but Wave No. A cry of pain indicates that the first wave has been struck and crowded out of its original place. The remaining waves then comfort their companion and chide the impatient one : Nu, nu!
Keine Ruh? Fliessen doch alle dem Frieden zu. The musical murmuring of a brook conveys to the poet the idea of joy. Helena Island, reveals the voice of an avenging deity. Grillparzer's description of water, as may have become evi- dent, shows particular interest in the source of a river, and in the brook. His treatment of stream and river is not so enthusiastically appreciative. This is due to the fact that the transparent purity of spring and brook Zu dem der Pilger naht mit durst'gem Mund, Die Priesterin, zu sprengen am Altar," is much more attractive and symbolically significant to him than the prosaic Strom, der Schiffe tragi und Wiesen wdssert?
Guided by the Servant, we follow our poet to his description of the Master, and we admire with him the beauty of the sea. In , on his trip to Italy, Grillparzer saw the sea for the first time. Like a wild, resounding shout of joy, a second SaXarraf OdKarra! It is true, as he himself remarks, that the sea in the vicinity of Trieste is not especially awe-inspiring. Perhaps, had he first seen the sea in some other more favorable locality, the real would have come closer to his ideal.
Nevertheless, the im- pression madfe upon him by the beauty of the spectacle was so overwhelming that words failed him to express it. He expected to find a " rigid, unsubdued element," and his admir- ing eyes fell upon a calm and gentle sea which he likened in beautiful language to a pacified sweetheart, " die doppelt schon ist, wenn sie geziirnt hat und getobt, und nun doppelt hold den Teuren schmeichelnd und besanftigend umfangt —.
So powerful was the effect that he was anxious to return home, for rest and — for meditation. In contrast with the immeasurable beauty of a calm sea is the terror inspired by the raging element. Return to the state of calmness, i. So complete is this act of destruction, that not a trace remains of the criminal, who disappears entirely, hidden from view by the punishing waves, which are grave and coffin at the same time.
Gross der Herr zu alien Zeiten, Heute gross vor aller Zeit. Descriptions of the raging elements coupled with reflections upon their effect on nature and man are not infrequent; par- ticular attention, however, seems to have been paid to the sub- ject of thunderstorms. From the near mountains comes the first warning roar of thunder; gloom, fear and death is spread out everywhere: the whole represents a mani- festation of the supreme power of the deity.
The earth is terrified, the air is in a state of breathless anxiety, the birds have ceased their singing and they listen, from their nests, to the mightier voice. All nature is conscious of the approach of judgment. A flash of lightning causes the guilty eye of man to close, and his inmost soul is bared by the brilliancy of the pure avenging light.
A squall of wind, which raises a cloud of dust, thus hiding everything from view, adds to the general confusion, and intensifies fear. The climax of tension is therewith reached, and immediate relief is now brought by a cooling shower. The fearful anticipation of vengeance yields to the consciousness of nature's blessings : DOch horch!
But not always is the damage done by the raging dements of so little consequence as here. The irrestrainable power of nature's destructive forces brings man to the sad realization of his own impotence : with a shrug of his shoulders he must look oo, wdl aware of the futility of any attempt at interference. The destruction so often wrought by a thunderstorm is alluded to by Ottokar, who compares his own actions with the ravages of a storm. Grillparzer here defends the right of nature to inflict injury, by calling attenticm to nature's ability to make amends.
He who destroys, must have the power to replace, and he who destroys knowing that he cannot replace, must necessarily commit an immoral act. Of such immorality man may well be guilty, but nature is regarded by Grillparzer as the moral ideal, so that an immoral action on the part of nature is an impossibility.
Ich hab' nicht gut in deiner Welt gehaust, Ehi grosser Gott! Wie Sturm und Ungewitter Bin ich gezogen ubcr deine Fluren; Ehi aber bist's allein, der sturmen kann, Denn du allein kannst heilen, grosser Gott The musical element is not found wanting in the poet's description of storm and wind. Again we are able to dis- tinguish the fine feeling and the trained ear of the musician to whom the roaring thunder, the surging sea and the howling wind mean infinitely more than noise, and who even attempts to classify the music of nature.
The birds take no part in the wild dance because they, the real musicians of nature, feel the same aversion toward dance- music as many of their human colleagues. The words hoch and Geton are significant. Hoch, un- doubtedly, is to be taken as contrast to the light, frivolous element which remains much nearer to the earth, while Geton, which is equal to harmony, or any other related term, is found wanting in the references to storm and wind.
One may un- hesitatingly interpret this contrast as symbolic of the gap between trivial and ideal music. The former, as one may easily comprehend, has but little attraction for Grillparzer, so that his longing for the cessation of storm and for the return of nature's calm beauty in which the birds' song is an im- portant element sounds very natural.
This well characterizes our poet's general attitude toward the phenomena of wind and rain.
To the study of Grillparzer's description of nature belongs also the consideration of what I should like to call his general description. This subject, again, has two subdivisions, viz. The passages which I have been able to collect for the study of Grillparzer's landscape paintings are too numerous for individual discussion at this place, so that I shall have to confine myself to those which are best adapted to and, con- sequently, most important for the present purpose.
On the whole, Grillparzer's landscapes show the lavish, though not wasteful hand of the painter. One may notice the logical succession of the individual parts of the picture, which assigns the first place to the sujet — Hutte, the dwelling of Leander — then follows the milieu — Meer, Sand, Wellen — and finally the background of gloom is marked by Wolken and Regen.
Not so terse, though just as plastic, is the picture drawn in Grillparzer's Diary on his Italian Journey. And this desert he now proceeds to describe: total absence of all signs of fertility; now and then, a solitary chestnut-tree, with withered leaves, and a few crippled mulberry bushes are sad reminders of what might have been. And then the magnificent reflection which, reviewing the whole picture of utter desolation, attributes the lack of natural beauty to the curse of God.
Only he who has ever beheld the distressing monotony of a vast expanse of desert land can fully appreciate the words : " Es war, als hatte Gott hier gestanden, als er nach dem Falle des Menschen den Fluch uber die Erde aussprach. No stronger contrast can be imagined than that which is here developed before our eyes, in utmost appreciation of nature's bounty : Da bliihen Blumen, winkt der Baume Schatten, Der Krauter Hauch steigt mildemd in die Luft Und wolbt sich unterm Himmel als ein zweiter.
No detail is here forgotten, though thoroughness is hardly the only merit of this description. The sujet of a painting must be evident from the ensemble, and that the present picture, even if the label Oasis, which Grillparzer places at the head of it in the five lines which precede the above quotation , were lacking, would be just as intelligible and clear, needs no fur- ther argument.
In addition to thoroughness and clearness, comes the painter's greatest merit: the naturalness of color " IX, p. We feel the cool shade of the trees, we smell the fragrance of the herbs, and we appreciate with the weary wanderer the draught of refreshing water, as well as the rest-inviting couch of luxurious grass. The overwhelming impression made upon Grillparzer by Mount Vesuvius is expressed in a beautiful description, almost five pages in length, in his Diary on his Italian Journey?
No wonder that the inimitable combination of such colors aroused the greatest enthusiasm: " Before crossing this bound- ary, which separates him from the black horror of the vast lava-fields, he turns his eyes once more to the gentle beauties of nature spread out at the base of the terrible volcano: Naples, Castell a Mare, Sorrento, Vico lie there amidst nature's charms. He bids them farewell, climbs higher and higher, until he finally stands with his feet on the superficially cooled surface of a fresh lava-stream. Instead of horror, his heart is full of enthusiasm and awe. He kneels at the throne of nature's majesty: Habe Dank, Natur, dass es ein Land giebt, wo du heraugehst aus deiner Werkeltagsgeschaftigkeit und dich erweisest als Gotter- braut und Weltenkonigin, habe Dank!
Und mir sei vergonnt, dich von Zeit zu Zeit zu schauen in deiner Majestat, wenn du mich lang genug ermiidet in deiner Alltaglichkeit I We follow the poet still higher up, to the very side of the crater, which now begins to shower huge glowing boulders over all the surrounding country. A loftier spectacle of the power of nature is unimaginable: we feel that we are stand- ing in the shadow of death. This is not due, how- ever, to the fact that the night had meantime come, but to the well-planned purpose of the poet.
The entire picture of the great mountain is unfolded before us, as a panorama is unrolled by a cinematograph. We follow the various stages until the climax is reached, and here Grillparzer deliberately cuts the film in order to keep our attention concentrated upon the all-inspiring grandeur of nature. Grillparzer's landscapes, in so far as they represent the reflection of impressions gained on travels abroad, are full of life, color and enthusiasm, but they are not the best which his hand was able to draw.
Here were the very roots of his existence, and everything appeared glorified by his most faithful love for Austria. Some of these need our atten- tion. He likens the river itself to the main artery of the whole country Bohemia , the source of blood and life. The rich fertility of the sur- rounding country, and its mineral wealth, are to be inferred from the proposal of Primislaus to build ships on which the Moldau will carry des Landcs Uberfluss An Frucht, an Kom, an Silber und an Gold, far beyond the Austrian border, to the distant sea.
It is a description of the March-field on which Ottokar was to meet his fate. Rudolf calls it a splendid battle-field. The true purpose of a field is fertility, but fertility presupposes peace. Hence Rudolf's advice to his first-bom, to devote himself to the maintenance of peace. The sight of the March-River intensifies this picture of peaceful fertility, while in the distance, "wo noch Nebel ringt," loom up the dim outlines of the great city of Vienna, with the fair Danube, a personification of Austria's wealth and power.
Only an Austrian can paint a picture of Austria with such glowing colors ; however, we are far from reproach- ing the poet for his patriotic partiality, and we are concerned here solely with the consideration of descriptive beauty. The painting speaks for itself : Schaut rings umher, wohin der Blick sich wendet, Lacht's wie dem Brautigam die Braut entgegen. So dazzling a display of colors — griin, gold, gelb, blau, silbern — cannot be found again in any other of the poet's landscapes. The whole represents, as he expressly states, einen vollen Blumenstrauss, Nuptial joy is spread out over this inimitable picture; love here rules supreme: Und Gottes lauer Hauch schwebt driiber hin.
Grillparzer's ideas concerning poetry apparently make com- parisons of subjects under discussion, with nature, a matter of " VI, pp. This accounts, perhaps, for the abundance of such comparisons a selection of which only can be considered here. Like Heine, GriUparzer compares the characteristics of his sweetheart with those of a flower. His lyric language is not as simple and as fluent as that of the author of Du bist wie eine Blume, but his pictures are often just as bold : Dass dein Kleid rosenrot, Find' ich recht fein, Kann's, wo der Gurtel schliesst, Anders wohl sein?
Her lips exhale the fragrance of flowers. The period of youth and happiness, free from care and danger, is, likewise, characterized by Medea's sarcastic words addressed to her innocent and inexperienced rival Kreusa. Life itself is frequently called a tree. Bis sie der Tod von diirren Asten schuttelt? Gib mir den Tod, Allgiitiger! The other may be found in the poem Einetn Soldaten.
For my present purpose a few indications must suffice. On the other hand, the three Muses who favored our poet most Melpo- mene, Terpsichore and Euterpe , made him feel the necessity of selecting a place where the natural surroundings would be most suitable. The poem Wenn der Vogel singen will. Gebt mir, wo ich stehen soil, Weist mir ein Gebiet, Und ich will euch wohl erf reu'n Noch mit manchem Lied. It is true that description and interpretation interblend more or less, so that it is not possible to keep them entirely apart; never- theless, the distinction can be made in a rough way, and the present chapter is thus devoted to the consideration of those passages on the basis of which one may study the poet's phi- losophy of nature.
An analysis of Grillparzer's interpretation of nature is not a speculative matter, necessitating to read between the lines or to seek for some cryptic significance; on the contrary, the poet's language is at all times clear and free from disturbing circumlocutions. In the first place, a multitude of passages show that, for Grillparzer, nature is not a mechanism but a conscious being. With him, all nature represents a living, feeling, and thinking personality. Nothing nature may do bears the least resem- blance to the thoughtless indifference and mechanicalness with which many human beings perform their assigned tasks.
Although full of emotion, they reveal a certain painfulness and calculation, which at times culminate in obscurity. Most keen is nature's ambition in the early hours of morning when, with a new day, begins new activity, new life, new joy. The mere consciousness of being light, i. This idea is set forth in the poem Pflansenwelt.
The fragrance of the rose thus fails to fill the lofty oak with shame, and the rose itself continues to fulfil its purpose, undisturbed by the fact that it has nothing to give but fragrance, while a sloe- tree, in its immediate neighborhood, is laden down with fruit.
The importance, according to Grillparzer, lies with the genus rather than with the species, with the cause itself rather than with the effect. Another phase of nature's consciousness is her obedience to law. Nature is thus aware of the eternal law by which it is governed, and it at all times obeys the law. Without law there is anarchy and chaos. The Rhine, therefore cf. According to this law, nature is ever new, because the process of reproduction is constantly going on. Every spring brings a fresh supply of foliage, and this takes the place of last year's foliage which is now a matter of the past: Ilavra fel.
In- dividual strength is most essential for him who deserves to remain on the surface of this rapidly flowing stream : the weak must perish in order to make room for the development of their superiors in endurance and vitality: the survival of the fittest is a physical necessity. The law of nature, now, embodies not only physical, but also economic, logical and moral principles. Grillparzer does not neglect any of these, but rather than mention them as parts of the law, he assigns a place to them as components of nature's personality.
The economic character of nature is emphasized in various places. Nature herself represents wealth. This wealth is safe in the hands of nature, because she is a thrifty manager who distributes it wisely and fairly. A lavish ex- penditure, carefully noted on one page of her ledger, is bal- anced, on the other, by conscientious economy. On the other hand, nature's thoroughness is a safeguard against losses.
All she undertakes is finished and complete. The infallible logic and consistency of nature is referred to with almost exactly the same words. It is impossible for nature to contradict herself cf. Here lies the great contrast between nature and man, between God and his fallen image. The logical element leads over directly to the moral. The conscious choice of truth, in preference to untruth, is one of nature's many virtues.
The heart of nature is true and pure! A pure heart, now, shudders at the thought of evil, and is horrified by depravity. Only he who is free from sin has the right to cast the first stone. Nature, there- fore, is entitled to the privilege of avenging wrong. She is the power to which man appeals in the moment of extreme agony, when he realizes his own helplessness.
Nature herself, however, does not look upon the act of vengeance as a pleasurable privilege, but as a duty; and in the performance of duty she is pitiless and unrestrainable. It "VIII. In vain is his appeal to the S rmpathy of nature; sea, storm and darkness unite for his destruction; nature loses heart, ear and eye, in this lofty combat between right and wrong.
Leander must pay the penalty for his guilt. This avenging role of nature is evident also indirectly from the method pursued by her in making wrong visible, for the protection of right. We have to deal here with the mark of Cain, by means of which nature desires to warn and frighten : Mit blut'ger Flammenschrift hat die Natur Auf deinem Antlitz " Morder " dich gescholten. At times, the very aspect of nature may frighten the evil-doer and make him drop his nefarious schemes. This causes Medea, who has once before yielded to the unrighteous demand of her father, to refuse him obedience a second time.
Even though this refusal be only temporary — Aietes finally wins her over by proving to her that the lives of himself and Absyrtus are at stake — Medea's wavering sufficiently estab- lishes the point:" Glaubst du, ich konnt's, ich vermocht' es? Grillparzer appears to be extremely careful to make the interpretation of nature as a moral power as complete as possible. Only the deity rules forever — the law of nature is ever the same.
What a contrast, therefore, between nature and man who is constantly changing in accordance with the circumstances. In numerous passages, nature appears as the idea of free- dom. An attempt to pacify the roaring of the wind, and to subdue the mighty upheaval of the sea" is a ridiculous exhibition of human frailty, for nature is free, knows freedom, and claims it as her privilege.
Woe unto him who dares encroach upon her sacred rights : Denn der Natur allher notwend'ge Machte, Sie hassen, was sich freie Bahnen zieht, Als vorenthalten ihrem ew'gen Rechte, Und reissen's lauemd in ihr Machtgebiet. Not only a part of the god- head, but God Himself : Wo warst du denn, als man die Welt geteilet? Ich war, sprach der Poet, bei dir. This makes nature an end, not a means, and nature and poetry become inseparable. There is poetry in a landscape, in a waterfall, in a tree which has been set aflame by lightning, in the fragrance of flowers, and in the chorus of the birds.
Nature speaks in rhythmic lan- guage, and all the poet has to do is to transcribe the voice of nature, not imitate it. Grillparzer faithfully recorded what he saw and heard, and thus his nature-poetry is the result of his communication with nature. Doch, da ich solches kaum gewagt zu denken, Straft Liigen mich ein schauemdes Gefuhl; Ich fiihle Geister sich hemiedersenken, Und mich umlispeln in der Winde Spiel.
Erinnrung kommt, der stillvertraute Zeuge Von dem, was einst das Gliick mir hier verlieh. Und wie geschlossnen Augs ich mich hiniibemeige, An ihrer Hand die Poesie. Let us now consider Grillparzer's feeling for Solitude. There is no relation whatever between the two men, in spite of the fraternal allu- sion mentioned above.
And in the same passage we hear Faust complain that solitude has not bestowed upon him those blessings which he expected — rest and peace : O Einsamkeit, wie hast du mich betrogen, Als ich an deinen stillen Busen floh, Du hast mir Ruh und Friede vorgelogen, Und ach! This passage can be interpreted only in the light of the preced- ing one: Grillparzer here means that one who seeks solitude, as Rousseau did, will not derive the satisfaction which would be his if he went solely with the purpose of being in direct com- munication with nature herself.
Like Rousseau, Grillparzer is fond of seclusion, but his love of solitude is a matter of his soul, not of his intellect, and his appreciation of the beauty of solitude springs, therefore, from an entirely diflferent source. The conscious longing for solitude on Grillparzer's part lies in his character — the poet is melancholy; hostile to the noisy pleasures of society ; full of fantastic dreams, and hence often uncommunicative; endowed with the vibrating nerves of a musician which are easily unbalanced. Halt ein! Wohin verlockst du mich? Hier ist es still. This preference for solitude is the only trait which Sappho and Phaon have in common, but even here there is a contrast between the two, caused by the difference in purpose which guides either along the path of loneliness.
Rousseau, ed. Hachette, VIII, p. Sappho expresses Grillparzer's own feelings when, overcome by disappointment and despair, she would rather be banished into the solitude of nature with the belief in Phaon's love than continue life in her present surroundings, where Phaon's treachery brought such unspeakable misery upon her. Sie ist zuruckgekehret zu den Ihren. What does Medea seek in this dark wilderness where she may be alone with herself and with nature? She seeks the godhead in its very temple, because only in solitude is it possible to worship nature.
And that is Medea's aim. She is anxious to prostrate herself before the deity, to confess and to obtain absolution. In solitude, then, our imagination develops greater activity and our heart is purified because of the immediate contact with nature — God. Solitude opens the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf. We not only see the beauty of nature, but we also hear her voice. Thus Hero" converses with the echo, and the gentle splashing of the waves of the Hellespont beneath her brings her a whispered message.
In this close contact with nature. For him it is impossible to forget the laws of nature, and to turn against his own mother, like the first-born son. Nursed at nature's very bosom, he has imbibed the divine lesson which, by the way, is not Christian! Man has, at all times, been attracted by that which he is unable to grasp, and which he can, therefore, only divine.
This mystic element, which forms part of every religion, is con- sequently closely associated with nature by any person who undertakes a pantheistic interpretation of nature. That Grill- parzer is one of these has appeared from the preceding dis- cussion of a number of passages, especially from those which interpret nature as the moral ideal, but the matter may become more firmly established by these lines which are intended to show Grillparzer's attitude toward the mystic forces of nature. This subject is of no little importance for the understanding of his nature-cult.
From his early youth on, the poet's imagination fed upon the mysteries of nature, which he connected with his immediate surroundings. Da war denn der Gebote und Verbote kein Ende, und an ein Herumlaufen ohne Aufsicht war gar nicht zu denken. Beson- ders hatte der der Gartenmauer zugekehrte hintere Rand des Teiches, der nie betreten wurde, fur mich etwas hochst Mysterioses, und ohne etwas Bestimmtes dabei zu denken, verlegte ich unter die breiten Lattichblatter und dichten Gestrauche alle die Schauder und Geheimnisse, mit denen in unsrer Stadtwohnung das " Holzge- wolbe " bevolkert war.
This can mean nothing else than that the Ahnung of the inex- plicable, of the divine in nature, had entered his heart even at this early stage of life. The Ahnung subsequently grows into consciousness, and this consciousness appears not infrequently in his works, although, with the exception of Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen and Medea, the references are mostly dis- tributed among the earlier dramas. It is interesting to observe that Grillparzer's mystic interpretation of nature centers, in the main, in water and darkness night.
The mystic force in water which brings destruction to man mythologically personified as water-nix, mermaid, etc. Das liegt verborgen in den dunkein Tiefen, Und keines Menschen Aug hat es erspaht. Night, on the other hand, is mystically interpreted because of the concomitant idea of darkness, which breeds horror. Es sinkt die Nacht Und briitet fiber ungeschehne Dinge. However, this voice does not always inspire horror, but is often gently sooth- ing and comforting. A magic-mystic veil is spread over the figure of Medea in whom I have attempted to show a personification of dark- ness and night.
Medea thus holds in her hands a black staff, and her retreat is " a somber den, in the interior of a tower. The forces of nature not only obey her, but also speak through her. In Medea's mother I see Nature her- self. Hilf mir, mein gutes Kind. Mystic, also, is Medea's language. When she calls upon the forces of nature at her command, her conjuring formula is worded thus:" Die ihr einhergeht im Gewande der Nacht Und auf des Sturmes Fittichen wandelt! Furchtbare Fursten der Tiefe! Mystic is the potion itself, and mystic, therefore, must be its result — death! Medea, as personification of Mysticism, has a tragic fate, and her very guilt is based upon her magic-mystic power.
Sym- bolically, this might mean that Grillparzer condemned mysti- cism from a rationalistic viewpoint. However, this is some- what hypothetical. On the other hand, if this could be proven, it would furnish a valuable suggestion for the development of the idea of mysticism in Grillparzer's mind, for the following fact would then be obvious: he condemns in Das goldene Vliess , what he had sanctioned in Sappho , while he returns to his original views regarding mysticism in Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen.
However this may be, one point is certain: the sources of information for the study of Grillparzer's mystic interpretation of nature are suffi- ciently rich in his earlier works, while the supply grows scant as the poet grows older. This needs to be emphasized, because the same is not true, so far as references to nature are con- cerned, which may be found everywhere.
To appeal to nature for sympathy, t. I know it sounds absurd; but that is what it did feel like. And of the eternal damnation of you and me and them I think I was thinking of running to fetch assistance—a doctor, perhaps, or Captain Ashburnham. One reads of it in books! Her eyes were enormously distended; her face was exactly that of a person looking into the pit of hell and seeing horrors there. And then suddenly she stopped.
She was, most amazingly, just Mrs Ashburnham again. Her face was perfectly clear, sharp and defined; her hair was glorious in its golden coils. Her nostrils twitched with a sort of contempt. She appeared to look with interest at a gypsy caravan that was coming over a little bridge far below us. They told me, I think, almost more than I have ever gathered at any one moment— about myself.
I have, of course, had appetites, impatiences I have been exceedingly impatient at missing trains. The Belgian State Railway has a trick of letting the French trains miss their connections at Brussels. That has always infuriated me. I have written about it letters to The Times that The Times never printed; those that I wrote to the Paris edition of the New York Herald were always printed, but they never seemed to satisfy me when I saw them.
Well, that was a sort of frenzy with me. It was a frenzy that now I can hardly realize. I can understand it intellectually. But, you see, we were both of the. And the profession was that of keeping heart patients alive. German appetites: Verlangen, Appetit, Appetite. You have no idea how engrossing such a profession may become—how imbecile, in view of that engrossment, appear the ways of princes, of republics, of municipalities.
I would grumble like a stockbroker whose conversations over the telephone are incommoded by the ringing of bells from a city church. I would talk about medieval survivals, about the taxes being surely high enough. The point, by the way, about the missing of the connections of the Calais boat trains at Brussels was that the shortest possible sea journey is frequently of great importance to sufferers from the heart. Now, on the Continent, there are two special heart cure places, Nauheim and Spa, and to reach both of these baths from England if in order to ensure a short sea passage, you come by Calais—you have to make the connection at Brussels.
And the Belgian train never waits by so much the shade of a second for the one coming from Calais or from Paris. And even if the French train, are just on time, you have to run—imagine a heart patient running! Or, if you miss connection, you have to wait five or six hours I used to keep awake whole nights cursing that abuse. My wife used to run—she never, in whatever else she may have misled me, tried to give me the impression that she was not a gallant soul. But, once in the German Express, she would lean back, with one hand to her side and her eyes closed.
Well, she was a good actress. And I would be in hell. In hell, I tell you. For in Florence I had at once a wife and an unattained mistress—that is what it comes to—and in the retaining of her in this world I had my occupation, my career, my ambition. It is not often German blacksmith: Schmied, Hufschmied, Schmiede. Ford Madox Ford 39 that these things are united in one body. Leonora was a good actress too. By Jove she was good! I tell you, she would listen to me by the hour, evolving my plans for a shock-proof world.
It is true that, at times, I used to notice about her an air of inattention as if she were listening, a mother, to the child at her knee, or as if, precisely, I were myself the patient. That was the sort of sentimental ass he was. For, you understand, too, that they really needed to live in India, to economize, to let the house at Branshaw Teleragh.
Of course, at that date, I had never heard of the Kilsyte case. Ashburnham had, you know, kissed a servant girl in a railway train, and it was only the grace of God, the prompt functioning of the communication cord and the ready sympathy of what I believe you call the Hampshire Bench, that kept the poor devil out of Winchester Gaol for years and years. But just think of that poor wretch I, who have surely the right, beg you to think of that poor wretch. Is it possible that such a luckless devil should be so tormented by blind and inscrutable destiny?
For there is no other way to think of it. There is no priest that has the right to tell me that I must not ask pity for him, from you, silent listener beyond the hearth-stone, from the world, or from the God who created in him those desires, those madnesses Of course, I should not hear of the Kilsyte case. I knew none of their friends; they were for me just good people—fortunate people with broad and sunny acres in a southern county.
Just good people! By heavens, I sometimes think that it would have been better for him, poor dear, if the case had been such a one that I must needs have heard of it—such a one as maids and couriers and other Kur guests whisper about for years after, until gradually it dies away in the pity that German acres: Morgen.
He would have been the fine soldier with his back now bent Better for him, poor devil, if his back had been prematurely bent. For, of course, the Kilsyte case, which came at the very beginning of his finding Leonora cold and unsympathetic, gave him a nasty jar. He left servants alone after that. It turned him, naturally, all the more loose amongst women of his own class. Why, Leonora told me that Mrs Maidan—the woman he followed from Burma to Nauheim—assured her he awakened her attention by swearing that when he kissed the servant in the train he was driven to it.
I daresay he was driven to it, by the mad passion to find an ultimately satisfying woman. I daresay he was sincere enough. Heaven help me, I daresay he was sincere enough in his love for Mrs Maidan. She was a nice little thing, a dear little dark woman with long lashes, of whom Florence grew quite fond. She had a lisp and a happy smile. We saw plenty of her for the first month of our acquaintance, then she died, quite quietly—of heart trouble.
But you know, poor little Mrs Maidan—she was so gentle, so young. She cannot have been more than twenty-three and she had a boy husband out in Chitral not more than twenty-four, I believe. Such young things ought to have been left alone. Of course Ashburnham could not leave her alone. I do not believe that he could. Why, even I, at this distance of time am aware that I am a little in love with her memory. She was so—so submissive.
17e7 licnooioo.linkpc.net 3 Autobiography of Childhood by Sina Queyras
Why, even to me she had the air of being submissive—to me that not the youngest child will ever pay heed to. Yes, this is the saddest story German allots: teilt zu, verteilt. Ford Madox Ford 41 So she got up the heart attack, at the earliest possible opportunity, on board the liner.
Perhaps she was not so very much to be blamed. You must remember that she was a New Englander, and that New England had not yet come to loathe darkies as it does now. Whereas, if she had come from even so little south as Philadelphia, and had been an oldish family, she would have seen that for me to kick Julius was not so outrageous an act as for her cousin, Reggie Hurlbird, to say—as I have heard him say to his English butler—that for two cents he would bat him on the pants.
Besides, the medicine-grip did not bulk as largely in her eyes as it did in mine, where it was the symbol of the existence of an adored wife of a day. To her it was just a useful lie And then the other lover came along Well, Edward Ashburnham was worth having. Have I conveyed to you the splendid fellow that he was—the fine soldier, the excellent landlord, the extraordinarily kind, careful and industrious magistrate, the upright, honest, fair-dealing, fair-thinking, public character?
I suppose I have not conveyed it to you. The truth is, that I never knew it until the poor girl came along—the poor girl who was just as straight, as splendid and as upright as he. I swear she was. I suppose I ought to have known. I suppose that was, really, why I liked him so much—so infinitely much. Come to think of it, I can remember a thousand little acts of kindliness, of thoughtfulness for his inferiors, even on the Continent. Look here, I know of two families of dirty, unpicturesque, Hessian paupers that that fellow, with an infinite patience, rooted up, got their police reports, set on their feet, or exported to my patient land.
And he would do it quite inarticulately, set in motion by seeing a child crying in the street. He would wrestle with dictionaries, in that unfamiliar tongue Well, he could not bear to see a child cry. Perhaps he could not bear to see a woman and not give her the comfort of his physical attractions. But, although I liked him so intensely, I was rather apt to take these things for granted. But I guess I thought it was part of the character of any English gentleman.
Why, one day he got it into his head that the head waiter at the Excelsior had been crying—the fellow with the grey face and grey whiskers. She had bolted with a Swiss scullion. If she had not come inside the week he would have gone to London himself to fetch her.
He was like that. Edward Ashburnham was like that, and I thought it was only the duty of his rank and station. Perhaps that was all that it was—but I pray God to make me discharge mine as well. And, but for the poor girl, I daresay that I should never have seen it, however much the feeling might have been over me. She had for him such enthusiasm that, although even now I do not understand the technicalities of English life, I can gather enough.
She was with them during the whole of our last stay at Nauheim. She had lived with the Ashburnhams ever since she had been of the age of thirteen, when her mother was said to have committed suicide owing to the brutalities of her father. Yes, it is a cheerful story I think that she had not a thought of evil in her head—the poor girl It appeared that he had the D.
You never saw such a troop as his. He had been twice recommended for the V. She made him out like a cross between Lohengrin and the Chevalier Bayard. Perhaps he was But he was too silent a fellow to make that side of him really decorative. I remember going to him at about that time and asking him what the D. He did not quite carry conviction to me, so, in the end, I put it directly to Leonora. She looked at me with a slightly awakened air—with an air that would have been almost startled if Leonora could ever have been startled.
There would not be room for it—along those lines. For there are not any other lines that count. I should have noticed. And he talks of you as if you were one of the angels of God. For half the world—the whole of the world that knew Edward and Leonora believed that his conviction in the Kilsyte affair had been a miscarriage of justice—a conspiracy of false evidence, got together by Nonconformist adversaries.
But think of the fool that I was I mean, that I must claim the liberty of a free American citizen to think what I please about your co-religionists. And I suppose that Florence must have liberty to think what she pleases and to say what politeness allows her to say. It was almost as if she were trying to convey to Florence, through me, that she would seriously harm my wife if Florence went to something that was an extreme.
Good people, be they ever so diverse in creed, do not threaten each other. And I want you to understand that, from that moment until after Edward and the girl and Florence were all dead together, I had never the remotest glimpse, not the shadow of a suspicion, that there was anything wrong, as the saying is.
For five minutes, then, I entertained the possibility that Leonora might be jealous; but there was never another flicker in that flame-like personality. How in the world should I get it? For, all that time, I was just a male sick nurse. And what chance had I against those three hardened gamblers, who were all in league to conceal their hands from me? What earthly chance?
They were three to one—and they made me happy. Oh God, they made me so happy that I doubt if even paradise, that shall smooth out all temporal wrongs, shall ever give me the like. And what could they have done better, or what could they have done that could have been worse? That was the cross that she had to take up during her long Calvary of a life You ask how it feels to be a deceived husband. Just Heavens, I do not know. It feels just nothing at all.
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It is not Hell, certainly it is not necessarily Heaven. So I suppose it is the intermediate stage. What do they call it? No, I feel nothing at all about that. They are dead; they have gone before their Judge who, I hope, will open to them the springs of His compassion. It is not my business to think about it. In memoria aeterna erit The just? The unjust?
God knows! I think that the pair of them were only poor wretches, creeping over this earth in the shadow of an eternal wrath. It is very terrible It is almost too terrible, the picture of that judgement, as it appears to me sometimes, at nights. It is probably the suggestion of some picture that I have seen somewhere. And the immense plain is the hand of God, stretching out for miles and miles, with great spaces above it and below it. And they are in the sight of God, and it is Florence that is alone And, do you know, at the thought of that intense solitude I feel an overwhelming desire to rush forward and comfort her.
You cannot, you see, have acted as nurse to a person for twelve years without wishing to go on nursing them, even though you hate them with the hatred of the adder, and even in the palm of God. But, in the nights, with that vision of judgement before me, I know that I hold myself back. For I hate Florence. I hate Florence with such a hatred that I would not spare her an eternity of loneliness.
She need not have done what she did. She was an American, a New Englander. She had not the hot passions of these Europeans. She cut out that poor imbecile of an Edward—and I pray God that he is really at peace, clasped close in the arms of that poor, poor girl! And, no doubt, Maisie Maidan will find her young husband again, and Leonora will burn, clear and serene, a northern light and one of the archangels of God. And me Well, perhaps, they will find me an elevator to run But Florence She should not have done it. It was playing it too low down. She cut out poor dear Edward from sheer vanity; she meddled between him and Leonora from a sheer, imbecile spirit of district visiting.
She would gabble on to Leonora about forgiveness— treating the subject from the bright, American point of view. And Leonora would treat her like the whore she was. I know it, thank you. She went on saying that it was her ambition to leave this world a little brighter by the passage of her brief life, and how thankfully she would leave Edward, whom she thought she had brought to a right frame of mind, if Leonora would only give him a chance.
He needed, she said, tenderness beyond anything. And you would go on writing to each other in secret, and committing adultery in hired rooms. I know the pair of you, you know. I prefer the situation as it is. She would think they were not quite ladylike. The other half of the time she would try to persuade Leonora that her love for Edward was quite spiritual—on account of her heart.
You murdered her. You and I murdered her between us. I am as much a scoundrel as you. That was how she figured it out to herself. She really thought that One does not like to think that one had killed someone. Naturally not. I ought never to have brought her from India. It is stated a little baldly, but Leonora was always a great one for bald statements. She had wanted just to pet her. And she had perceived at first only, on the clear, round table covered with red velvet, a letter addressed to her. It ran something like: German addressed: adressiert. I trusted you so. You never talked to me about me and Edward, but I trusted you.
How could you buy me from my husband? I have just heard how you have—in the hall they were talking about it, Edward and the American lady. You paid the money for me to come here. Oh, how could you? How could you? I am going straight back to Bunny She had to fight against that feeling, whilst she read the postscript of the letter. The poor child was hardly literate. And I heard Edward call me a poor little rat to the American lady. He always called me a little rat in private, and I did not mind. But, if he called me it to her, I think he does not love me any more.
Oh, Mrs Ashburnham, you knew the world and I knew nothing. I thought it would be all right if you thought it could, and I thought you would not have brought me if you did not, too. You should not have done it, and we out of the same convent The manager said that Mrs Maidan had paid her bill, and had gone up to the station to ask the Reiseverkehrsbureau to make her out a plan for her immediate return to Chitral. He imagined that he had seen her come back, but he was not quite certain. No one in the large hotel had bothered his head about the child.
And she, wandering solitarily in the hall, had no doubt sat down beside a screen that had Edward and Florence on the other side. I never heard then or after what had passed between that precious couple. That German addressing: Adressierung, adressierend, Ansprechen, Ansprache halten. And Edward would have sentimentally assured her that there was nothing in it; that Maisie was just a poor little rat whose passage to Nauheim his wife had paid out of her own pocket. That would have been enough to do the trick. Leonora, with panic growing and with contrition very large in her heart, visited every one of the public rooms of the hotel—the dining-room, the lounge, the schreibzimmer, the winter garden.
God knows what they wanted with a winter garden in an hotel that is only open from May till October. But there it was. And then Leonora ran—yes, she ran up the stairs—to see if Maisie had not returned to her rooms. She had determined to take that child right away from that hideous place. It seemed to her to be all unspeakable. I do not mean to say that she was not quite cool about it. Leonora was always Leonora. But the cold justice of the thing demanded that she should play the part of mother to this child who had come from the same convent. She figured it out to amount to that.
She would leave Edward to Florence and to me—and she would devote all her time to providing that child with an atmosphere of love until she could be returned to her poor young husband. It was naturally too late. Now, as soon as she came in, she perceived, sticking out beyond the bed, a small pair of feet in highheeled shoes. Maisie had died in the effort to strap up a great portmanteau.
She had died so grotesquely that her little body had fallen forward into the trunk, and it had closed upon her, like the jaws of a gigantic alligator. The key was in her hand. Her dark hair, like the hair of a Japanese, had come down and covered her body and her face. Leonora lifted her up—she was the merest featherweight—and laid her on the bed with her hair about her. She was smiling, as if she had just scored a goal in a hockey match.
You understand she had not committed suicide. Her heart had just stopped. I saw her, with the long lashes on the cheeks, with the smile about the lips, with the flowers all about her. The stem of a white lily rested in her hand so that the spike of flowers was upon her shoulder. She looked like a bride in the sunlight of the mortuary candles that were all about her, and the German alligator: Alligator, Aligator, der Alligator, Kaiman. Leonora showed her to me. She would not let either of the others see her. He never could bear the sight of a corpse.
And, since she never gave him an idea that Maisie had written to her, he imagined that the death had been the most natural thing in the world. He soon got over it. Indeed, it was the one affair of his about which he never felt much remorse. And then nothing happened until the 4th of August, There is the curious coincidence of dates, but I do not know whether that is one of those sinister, as if half jocular and altogether merciless proceedings on the part of a cruel Providence that we call a coincidence.
Because it may just as well have been the superstitious mind of Florence that forced her to certain acts, as if she had been hypnotized. It is, however, certain that the 4th of August always proved a significant date for her. To begin with, she was born on the 4th of August. Then, on that date, in the year , she set out with her uncle for the tour round the world in company with a young man called Jimmy.
But that was not merely a coincidence. Her kindly old uncle, with the supposedly damaged heart, was in his delicate way, offering her, in this trip, a birthday present to celebrate her coming of age. Then, on the 4th of August, , she yielded to an action that certainly coloured her whole life—as well as mine. She had no luck. She was probably offering herself a birthday present that morning On the 4th of August, , she married me, and set sail for Europe in a great gale of wind—the gale that affected her heart. And no doubt there, again, she was offering herself a birthday gift—the birthday gift of my miserable life.
It occurs to me that I have never told you anything about my marriage. And, from that moment, I determined German celebrate: feiern, feierst, feiert, feiere, feire, zelebrieren, zelebrierst, zelebriert, zelebriere, einFestfeiern. I had no occupation—I had no business affairs. I simply camped down there in Stamford, in a vile hotel, and just passed my days in the house, or on the verandah of the Misses Hurlbird.
The Misses Hurlbird, in an odd, obstinate way, did not like my presence. But they were hampered by the national manners of these occasions. Florence had her own sitting-room. She could ask to it whom she liked, and I simply walked into that apartment. I was as timid as you will, but in that matter I was like a chicken that is determined to get across the road in front of an automobile.
And, in the evenings, they would march in on Florence with almost as much determination as I myself showed.
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And I am bound to say that they were received with as much disfavour as was my portion—from the Misses Hurlbird They were curious old creatures, those two. It was almost as if they were members of an ancient family under some curse—they were so gentlewomanly, so proper, and they sighed so. Sometimes I would see tears in their eyes. I do not know that my courtship of Florence made much progress at first. Perhaps that was because it took place almost entirely during the daytime, on hot afternoons, when the clouds of dust hung like fog, right up as high as the tops of the thinleaved elms.
The night, I believe, is the proper season for the gentle feats of love, not a Connecticut July afternoon, when any sort of proximity is an almost appalling thought. But, if I never so much as kissed Florence, she let me discover very easily, in the course of a fortnight, her simple wants. And I could supply those wants She wanted to marry a gentleman of leisure; she wanted a European establishment. She wanted her husband to have an English accent, an income of fifty thousand dollars a year from real estate and no ambitions to increase that German afternoons: Nachmittage.
Ford Madox Ford 55 income. And—she faintly hinted—she did not want much physical passion in the affair. Americans, you know, can envisage such unions without blinking. She had spent, it seemed, two months in Great Britain—seven weeks in touring from Stratford to Strathpeffer, and one as paying guest in an old English family near Ledbury, an impoverished, but still stately family, called Bagshawe.
The young man called Jimmy had remained in Europe to perfect his knowledge of that continent. He certainly did: he was most useful to us afterwards. But the point that came out—that there was no mistaking—was that Florence was coldly and calmly determined to take no look at any man who could not give her a European settlement. Her glimpse of English home life had effected this. She meant, on her marriage, to have a year in Paris, and then to have her husband buy some real estate in the neighbourhood of Fordingbridge, from which place the Hurlbirds had come in the year On the strength of that she was going to take her place in the ranks of English county society.
That was fixed. I used to feel mightily elevated when I considered these details, for I could not figure out that amongst her acquaintances in Stamford there was any fellow that would fill the bill. The most of them were not as wealthy as I, and those that were were not the type to give up the fascinations of Wall Street even for the protracted companionship of Florence. But nothing really happened during the month of July.
On the 1st of August Florence apparently told her aunts that she intended to marry me. It was a singular German acquaintances: Bekannte, Bekanntschaften, die Bekanntschaft, Reisebekanntschaften. You see, the two poor maiden ladies were in agonies—and they could not say one single thing direct. They would almost wring their hands and ask if I had considered such a thing as different temperaments. I assure you they were almost affectionate, concerned for me even, as if Florence were too bright for my solid and serious virtues. For the Hurlbirds had backed the losing side in the War of Independence, and had been seriously impoverished and quite efficiently oppressed for that reason.
The Misses Hurlbird could never forget it. Nevertheless they shuddered at the thought of a European career for myself and Florence. Each of them really wailed when they heard that that was what I hoped to give their niece. That may have been partly because they regarded Europe as a sink of iniquity, where strange laxities prevailed. They thought the Mother Country as Erastian as any other. And they carried their protests to extraordinary lengths, for them They even, almost, said that marriage was a sacrament; but neither Miss Florence nor Miss Emily could quite bring herself to utter the word.
If Florence has robbed a bank I am going to marry her and take her to Europe. She treated me so very well—with such tact—that, if I ever thought of it afterwards I put it down to her deep affection for me. I did not lose any time. And there I found that she had taken the cars to Waterbury. The old man received me with a stony, husky face. I was not to see Florence; she was ill; she was keeping her room.
And, from something that he let drop—an odd Biblical phrase that I have forgotten—I gathered that all that family simply did not intend her to marry ever in her life. I procured at once the name of the nearest minister and a rope ladder—you have no idea how primitively these matters were arranged in those days in the United States. I daresay that may be so still. I just wanted to wake her up. She was not, however, asleep. She expected me, and her relatives had only just left her.
She received me with an embrace of a warmth I suppose it was my own fault, what followed. At any rate, I was in such a hurry to get the wedding over, and was so afraid of her relatives finding me there, that I must have received her advances with a certain amount of absence of mind. I was out of that room and down the ladder in under half a minute. And I think that that wait was the only sign Florence ever showed of having a conscience as far as I was concerned, unless her lying for some moments in my arms was also a sign of conscience. I fancy that, if I had shown warmth then, she would have acted the proper wife to me, or would have put me back again.
But, because I acted like a Philadelphia gentleman, she made me, I suppose, go through with the part of a male nurse. Perhaps she thought that I should not mind.