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Many of us have withdrawn from him. They returned to their parents, and learned trades. Some have been sent out by him, we know not whither; he selected them. Of these, some had been but a short time there, others longer. One was still a child; scarcely was he come, when our Teacher was for passing him any more instruction. This Child had large dark eyes with azure ground, his skin shone like lilies, and his locks like light little clouds when it is growing evening. His voice pierced through all our hearts; willingly would we have given him our flowers, stones, pens, all we had. He smiled with an infinite earnestness; and we had a strange delight beside him. One day he will come again, said our Teacher, and then our lessons end.-Along with him he sent one, for whom we had often been sorry. Always sad he looked; he had been long years here; nothing would succeed with him; when we sought crystals or flowers, he seldom found. He saw dimly at a distance; to lay down variegated rows skilfully he had no power. He was so apt to break every thing. Yet none had such eagerness, such pleasure in hearing and listening. At last,-it was before that Child came into our circle, he all at once grew cheerful and expert. One day he had gone out sad; he did not return, and the night came on. We were very anxious for him; suddenly as the morning dawned, we heard his voice in a neighbouring grove. He was singing a high, joyful song; we were all surprised; the Teacher looked to the East, such a look as I shall never see in him again. The singer soon came forth to us, and brought, with unspeakable blessedness on his face, a simple-looking little stone, of singular shape. The Teacher took it in his hand, and kissed him long; then looked at users; here too one comes on new species, new with wet eyes, and laid this little stone on an empty space, which lay in the midst of other stones, just where, like radii, many rows of them met together.
"I shall in no time forget that moment. We felt as if we had had in our souls a clear passing glimpse into this wondrous World."
In these strange Oriental delineations, the judicious reader will suspect that more may be meant than meets the ear. But who this Teacher at Sais is, whether the personified Intellect of Mankind; and who this bright-faced golden-locked Child, (Reason, Religious Faith?) that was "to come again," to conclude these lessons; and that awkward unwearied Man, (Understanding?) that "was so apt to break every thing," we have no data for determining, and would not undertake to conjecture with any certainty. We subjoin a passage from the second chapter, or section, entitled "Nature," which, if possible, is of a still more surprising character than the first. After speak ing at some length on the primeval views Man seems to have formed with regard to the external Universe, "the manifold objects of his Senses," and how in those times his mind had a peculiar unity, and only by Practice divided itself into separate faculties, as by Practice it may yet further do, "our Pupil" proceeds to describe the conditions requisite in an inquirer into Nature, observing, in conclusion, with regard to this,
"No one, of a surety, wanders further from the mark, than he who fancies to himself that he already understands this marvellous Kingdom, and can, in few words, fathom its constitution, and everywhere find the right path. To no one, who has broken off, and made himself an Island, will insight rise of itself, nor even without toilsome effort. Only to children, or child-like men, who know not what they do, can this happen. Long, un wearied intercourse, free and wise Contemplation, attention to faint tokens and indications; an inward poet-life, practised senses, a simple and devout spirit; these are the essential requisites of a true Friend of Nature; without these no one can attain his wish. Not wise does it seem to attempt comprehending and understanding a Human World without full perfected Humanity. No talent must sleep; and if all are not alike active, all must be alert, and not oppressed and enervated. As we see a future Painter in the boy who fills every wall with sketches and variedly adds colour to figure; so we see a future Philosopher in him who restlessly traces and questions all natural things, pays heed to all, brings together whatever is remarkable, and rejoices when he has become master and possessor of a new phenomenon, of a new power and piece of knowledge.
"Now to Some it appears not at all worth while to follow out the endless divisions of Nature; and moreover a dangerous undertaking, without fruit and issue. As we can never reach, say they, the absolutely smallest grain of material bodies, never find their simplest compartments, since all magnitude loses itself, forwards and backwards, in infinitude, so likewise is it with the species of bodies and pow
combinations, new appearances, even to infini tude. These seem only to stop, continue they, when our diligence tires; and so it is spending precious time with idle contemplations and tedious enumerations; and this becomes at last a true delirium, a real vertigo over the horrid Deep. For Nature too remains, so far as we have yet come, ever a frightful Machine of Death: everywhere monstrous revolution, inexplicable vortices of movement; a kingdom of Devouring, of the maddest tyranny; a baleful Immense: the few light points disclose but a so much the more appalling Night, and ter rors, of all sorts, must palsy every observer. Like a Saviour does Death stand by the hapless race of Mankind; for without Death, the maddest were the happiest. And precisely this striving to fathom that gigantic Mechanism is already a draught towards the Deep, a commencing giddiness; for every excitement is an increasing whirl, which soon gains full mastery over its victim, and hurls him forward with it into the fearful Night. Here, say those lament ers, lies the crafty snare for Man's understanding, which Nature everywhere seeks to annihilate as her greatest foe. Hail that childlike ignorance and innocence of men, which kept them blind to the horrible perils, that everywhere, like grim thunder-clouds, lay round their peaceful dwelling, and each moment were ready to rush down on them. Only inward disunion among the powers of Nature
has preserved men hitherto; nevertheless, that of the great Horologe is known to us before-
"Be it so, cry a more courageous Class; let our species maintain a stubborn, well-planned war of destruction with this same Nature. By slow poisons must we endeavour to subdue her. The Inquirer into Nature is a noble hero, who rushes into the open abyss for the deliverance of his fellow Citizens. Artists have already played her many a trick; do but continue in this course; get hold of the secret threads, and bring them to act against each other. Profit by these discords, that so in the end you may lead her, like that fire-breathing Bull, according to your pleasure. To you she must become obedient. Patience and Faith beseem the children of men. Distant Brothers are united with us for one object; the wheel of the Stars must become the cistern-wheel of our life, and then, by our slaves, we can build us a new Fairyland. With heart-felt triumph let us look at her devastations, her tumults; she is selling herself to us, and every violence she will pay by a heavy penalty. In the inspiring feeling of our Freedom, let us live and die; here gushes forth the stream, which will one day overflow and subdue her; in it let us bathe, and refresh ourselves for new exploits. Hither the rage of the Monster does not reach; one drop of Freedom is sufficient to cripple her for ever, and for ever set limits to her havoc.
"They are not right, says an earnest Man to these latter. Can they not recognise in Nature the true impress of their own Selves? It is even they that consume themselves in wild hostility to Thought. They know not that this so-called Nature of theirs is a Sport of the Mind, a waste Fantasy of their Dream. Of a surety, it is for them a horrible Monster, a strange grotesque Shadow of their own PasThe waking man looks without fear sions. at this offspring of his lawless Imagination; for he knows that they are but vain Spectres of his weakness. He feels himself lord of the world: his Me hovers victorious over the Abyss; and will through Eternities hover aloft above that endless Vicissitude. Harmony is what his spirit strives to promulgate, to extend. He will, even to infinitude, grow more and more harmonious with himself and with his Creation; and, at every step, behold the all-efficiency of a high moral order in the Universe, and what is purest of his Me, come forth into brighter and brighter clearness. The significance of the World is Reason; for her sake is the World here; and when it is grown to be the arena of a child-like, expanding Reason, it will one day become the divine Image of her Activity, the scene of a genuine Church. Till then let men honour Nature as the Emblem of his own Spirit; the Emblem ennobling itself, along with him, to unlimited degrees. Let him, therefore, who would arrive at knowledge of Nature, train his moral sense, let him act and conceive in accordance with the noble Essence of his Soul; and as if of herself, Nature will become open to him. Moral Action is that great and only Experiment, in which all riddles of the most manifold appearances explain themselves. Whoso understands it, and in rigid sequence of Thought can lay it open, is for ever Master of Nature."-Fd. ii. s. 43-57.
"The Pupil," it is added, "listens with alarm to these conflicting voices." If such was the case in half-supernatural Sais, it may well be much more so in mere sublunary London. Here again, however, in regard to these vaporous lucubrations, we can only imitate Jean Paul's Quintus Fixlein, who, it is said, in his elaborate Catalogue of German Errors of the Press, "states that important inferences are to be drawn from it, and advises the reader to draw them." Perhaps these wonderful paragraphs, which look, at this distance, so like chasms filled with mere sluggish mist, might prove valleys, with a clear stream, and soft pastures, were we near at hand. For one thing, either Novalis, with Tieck and Schlegel at his back, are men in a state of derangement; or there is more in Heaven and Earth than has been dreamt of in our Philosophy We may add that, in our view, this last Speaker, the "earnest Man," seems evidently to be Fichte; the first two Classes look like some skeptical or atheistic brood, unacquainted
"They are right, say Several; here, or nowhere, lies the talisman. By the well of Freedom we sit and look; it is the grand magic Mirror, where the whole creation images itself, pure and clear; in it do the tender Spirits and Forms of all Natures bathe; all chambers we here behold unlocked. What need have we toilsomely to wander over the troublous World of visible things? The purer World lies even in us, in this Well. Here discloses itself the true meaning of the great, many-coloured, complected Scene; and if full of these sights return into Nature, all is well known to us, with certainty we distinguish every shape. We need not to inquire long; a light Comparison, a few strokes in the sand, are enough to inform us. Thus, for us, is the whole a great Writing, to which we have the key; and comes to us unexpected, for the course nothing
with Bacon's Novum Organum, or having, the First class at least, almost no faith in it. That theory of the human species ending by a universal simultaneous act of Suicide, will, to the more simple sort of readers, be new.
As further and more directly illustrating Novalis's scientific views, we may here subjoin two short sketches, taken from another department of this volume. To all who prosecute Philosophy, and take interest in its history and present aspects, they will not be without interest. The obscure parts of them are not perhaps unintelligible, but only obscure which unluckily cannot, at all times, be helped in such cases:
"Common Logic is the Grammar of the higher Speech, that is, of Thought; it examines merely the relations of ideas to one another, the Mechanics of Thought, the pure Physiology of ideas. Now logical ideas stand related to one another, like words without thoughts. Logic occupies itself with the mere dead Body of the science of Thinking. Metaphysics, again, is the Dynamics of Thought; treats of the primary Powers of Thought: occupies itself with the mere Soul of the Science of Thinking. Metaphysical ideas stand related to one another, like thoughts without words. Men often wondered at the stubborn Incompletibility of these two Sciences; each followed its own business by itself: there was a want everywhere, nothing would suit rightly with either. From the very First, attempts were made to unite them, as every thing about them indicated relationship; but every attempt failed; the one or the other Science still suffered in these attempts, and lost its essential character. We had to abide by metaphysical Logic, and Logical metaphysic, but neither of them was as it should be. With Physiology and Psychology, with Mechanics and Chemistry, it fared no better. In the latter half of this Century there arose, with us Germans, a more violent commotion than ever; the hostile masses towered themselves up against each other more fiercely than heretofore; the fermentation was extreme; there followed powerful explosions. And now some assert that a real Compenetration has somewhere or other taken place; that the germ of a union has arisen, which will grow by degrees, and assimilate all to one indivisible form: that this principle of Peace is pressing out irresist ibly, on all sides, and that ere long there will be but one Science and one Spirit, as one Prophet and one God."
"The rude, discursive Thinker is the Scholastic [Schoolman Logician]. The true Scholastic is a mystical Subtilist; out of logical Atoms he builds his Universe; he annihilates all living Nature, to put an Artifice of Thoughts [Gedankenkunststück, literally, Conjuror's-trick of Thoughts] in its room. His aim is an infinite Automaton. Opposite to him is the rude, intuitive Poet: this is a mystical Macrologist; he hates rules, and fixed form; a wild, violent life reigns instead of it in Nature; all is animate, no law; wilfulness and wonder every where. He is mere dynamical. Thus does he Philosophic Spirit arise at first, in altogether separate masses. In the second stage of
culture these masses begin to come in contact, multifariously enough; and, as in the union of infinite Extremes, the Finite, the Limited arises, so here also arise Eclectic Philosophers' without number; the time of misunderstandings begins. The most limited is, in this stage, the most important, the purest Philosopher of the second stage. This class occupies itself wholly with the actual, present world, in the strictest sense. The Philosophers of the first class look down with contempt on those of the second; say, they are a little of every thing, and so nothing; hold their views as results of weakness, as Inconsequentism. On the contrary, the second class, in their turn, pity the first; lay the blame on their visionary enthusiasm, which they say is absurd, even to insanity. If, on the one hand, the Scholastics and Alchemists seem to be ut terly at variance, and the Eclectics on the other hand quite at one, yet, strictly examined, it is altogether the reverse. The former, in essentials, are indirecty of one opinion; namely, as regards the non-dependence, and infinite character of Meditation, the both set out from the absolute: whilst the Eclectic and limited sort are essentially at variance; and agree only in what is deduced. The former are infinite but uniform, the latter bounded but multiform; the former have genius, the latter talent: those have Ideas, these have knacks, (Handgrife;) those are heads with out hands, these are hands without heads. The third stage is for the Artist, who can be at once implement and genius. He finds that that primitive Separation in the absolute Philosophical Activities [between the Scholastic, and the rude intuitive Poet'] is a deeper lying Separation in his own Nature; which Separation indicates, by its existence as such the possibility of being adjusted, of being joined: he finds that, heterogeneous as these Activities are, there is yet a faculty in him of passing from the one to the other, of chang ing his polarity at will. He discovers in them therefore, necessary members of his spirit he observes that both must be united in some common Principle. He infers that Eclectic ism is nothing but the imperfect defective em ployment of this Principle. It becomes
But we need not struggle farther, wringing a significance out of these mysterious words. in delineating the genuine Transcendentalist, or "Philosopher of the third stage," properly speaking, the Philosopher, Novalis ascends intc regions, whither few readers would follow him. It may be observed here, that British Philosophy, tracing it from Duns Scotus to Dugald Stewart, has now gone through the first and second of these "stages," the Scho lastic and the Eclectic, and in considerable honour. With our amiable Professor Stewart, than whom no man, not Cicero himself, was ever more entirely Eclectic, that second or Eclectic class may be considered as having terminated; and now Philosophy is at a stand among us, or rather there is now no Philosophy visible in these Islands. It remains to be seen, whether we also are to have our "third stage ;" and how that new and highest "class" will demean itself here. The French Philoso
phers seem busy studying Kant, and writing of him: but we rather imagine Novalis would pronounce them still only in the Eclectic stage. He says afterwards, that "all Eclectics are essentially and at bottom skeptics; the more comprehensive, the more skeptical."
"Philosophy can bake no bread; but she can procure for us God, Freedom, Immortality. Which then is more practical, Philosophy or Economy?
These two passages have been extracted from a large series of Fragments, which, under the three divisions of Philosophical, Critical, Moral, occupy the greatest part of Volume second. They are fractions, as we hinted above, of that grand "encyclopedical work" which Novalis had planned. Friedrich Schlegel is said to be the selector of those published here. They come before us, without note or comment; worded for the most part in very unusual phraseology, and without repeated and most patient investigation, seldom yield any significance, or rather we should say, often yield a false one. A few of the clearest we have selected for insertion: whether the reader will think them "Pollen of Flowers," or a baser kind of dust, we shall not predict. We give them in a miscellaneous shape; over-organs and of our self-excitement (Selbstberüh looking those classifications which, even in rung) that we do not see ourselves in a Fairythe text, are not and could not be very rigidly world. All Fabulous Tales, (Mahrchen,) are adhered to. merely dreams of that home-world, which is everywhere and nowhere. The higher powers in us, which one day, as Genies, shall fulfil our will, are, for the present, Muses, which refresh us on our toilsome course with sweet remembrances."Man consists in Truth. If he exposes Truth, he exposes himself. If he betrays Truth, he betrays himself. We speak not here of Lies, but of acting against Conviction.
"It depends only on the weakness of our
A character is a completely fashioned will (vollkommen gebildeter Wille.)—
"There is, properly speaking, no Misfortune in the world. Happiness and Misfortune stand in continual balance. Every Misfortune is, as it were, the obstruction of a stream, which, after over-coming this obstruction, but bursts through with the greater force.
"The ideal of Morality has no more dangerous rival than the ideal of highest Strength, of most powerful life; which also has been named (very falsely as it was there meant) the ideal of poetic greatness. It is the maximum of the savage; and has, in these times, gained, precisely among the greatest weaklings, very many proselytes. By this ideal, man becomes a Beast-Spirit, a Mixture; whose brutal wit has, for weaklings, a brutal power of attraction.
"Philosophy is properly Home-sickness; the wish to be everywhere at home.
"We are near awakening when we dream that we dream.
"The true philosophical Act is annihilation of self, (Selbst:ödtung:) this is the real beginning of all Philosophy; all requisites for being a Disciple of Philosophy point hither. This Act alone corresponds to all the conditions and characteristics of transcendental conduct.
"To become properly acquainted with a truth, we must first have disbelieved it, and disputed against it.
"Man is the higher Sense of our Planet; the star which connects it with the upper world; the eye which it turns towards Hea
"Life is a disease of the spirit; a working incited by Passion. Rest is peculiar to the spirit.
"Our Life is no Dream, but it may and will perhaps become one.
"What is Nature? An encyclopedical, systematic Index, or Plan of our Spirit. Why will we content us with the mere Catalogue of our Treasures? Let us contemplate them ourselves, and in all ways elaborate and use them.
"If our Bodily Life is a burning, our spiritual Life is a being-burnt, a Combustion (or, is precisely the inverse the case?); Death, therefore, perhaps a Change of Capacity.
"Sleep is for the inhabitants of Planets only. In another time, Man will sleep and wake continually at once. The greater part of our Body, of our Humanity itself, yet sleeps a deep
"There is but one Temple in the World; and that is the Body of Man. Nothing is holier than this high form. Bending before
men is a reverence done to this Revelation in the Flesh.-We touch Heaven, when we lay our hand on a human body.
"Man is a Sun; his Senses are the Planets."Man has ever expressed some symbolical Philosophy of his Being in his Works and Conduct; he announces himself and his Gospel of Nature; he is the Messiah of Nature."Plants are Children of the Earth; we are Children of the Æther. Our Lungs are properly our Root; we live, when we breathe; we begin our life with breathing.
"Nature is an Eolian Harp, a musical instrument; whose tones again are keys to higher strings in us.
'Every beloved object is the centre of a Paradise.
"The first Man is the first Spiritseer; all appears to him as Spirit. What are children, but first men? The fresh gaze of the Child is richer in significance than the forecasting of the most indubitable Seer.
The spirit of Poesy is the morning light, which makes the statue of Memnon sound.
"The division of Philosopher and Poet is only apparent, and to the disadvantage of both. It is a sign of disease, and of a sickly constitution.
"The true Poet is all-knowing; he is an actual world in miniature.
* Novalis's ideas, on what has been called the "per
fectibility of man," ground themselves on his peculiar
ture, and are of the most original and extraordinary
"Klopstock's works appear, for the most implies, a zealous, heartfelt belief in the Chrispart, free Translations of an unknown Poet, tian system; yet with such adjuncts, and co by a very talented but unpoetical Philologist.-existing persuasions, as to us might seem "Goethe is an altogether practical poet. He rather surprising. One or two more of these is in his works what the English are in their his Aphorisms, relative to this subject, we wares highly simple, neat, convenient, and shall cite, as likely to be better than any durable. He has done in German Literature description of ours. The whole essay at the what Wedgewood did in English Manufacture. end of volume first, entitled Die Christenheit oder He has, like the English, a natural turn for Europa (Christianity or Europe), is also well Economy, and a noble Taste acquired by Un- worthy of study, in this as in many other points derstanding. Both these are very compatible, of view. and have a near affinity in the chemical sense. * *— Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship may be called throughout prosaic and modern. The Romantic sinks to ruin, the Poesy of Nature, the Wonderful. The Book treats merely of common Worldly things: Nature and Mysticism are altogether forgotten. It is a poetized, civic, and household History; the Marvellous is expressly treated therein as imagination and enthusiasm. Artistic Atheism is the spirit of the Book. It is properly a Candide, directed against Poetry; the Book is highly unpoetical in respect of spirit, poetical as the dress and body of it is. The introduction of Shakspeare has almost a tragic effect. The hero retards the triumph of the Gospel of Economy; and economical Nature is finally the true and only remaining one.
"When we speak of the aim and Art observable in Shakspeare's works, we must not forget that Art belongs to Nature; that it is, so to speak, self-viewing, self-imitating, self-fashioning Nature. The Art of a well-developed genius is far different from the Artfulness of the Understanding, of the merely reasoning mind. Shakspeare was no calculator, no learned thinker; he was a mighty many-gifted soul, whose feelings and works, like products of Nature, bear the stamp of the same spirit; and in which the last and deepest of observers will still find new harmonies with the infinite structure of the Universe; concurrences with later ideas, affinities with the higher powers and senses of man. They are emblematic, have many meanings, are simple, and inexhaustible, like products of Nature; and nothing more unsuitable could be said of them than that they are works of Art, in that narrow mechanical acceptation of the word."
The reader understands that we offer these specimens not as the best to be found in Novalis's Fragments, but simply as the most intelligible. Far stranger and deeper things there are, could we hope to make them in the smallest degree understood. But in examining and reexamining many of his Fragments, we find ourselves carried into more complex, more subtle regions of thought than any we are elsewhere acquainted with: here we cannot always find our own latitude and longitude, sometimes not even approximate to finding them; much less teach others such a secret.
What has been already quoted may afford some knowledge of Novalis, in the characters of Philosopher and Critic: there is one other aspect under which it would be still more curious to view and exhibit him, but still more difficult, we mean that of his Religion. Novalis nowhere specially records his creed, in hese Writings: he many times expresses, or
"Religion contains infinite sadness. If we are to love God, he must be in distress (hülfbedürftig, help-needing). In how far is this condition answered in Christianity?—
"Spinoza is a God-intoxicated-man (Gotttrunkener Mensch.)—
"Is the Devil, as Father of Lies, himself but a necessary illusion?
"The Catholic Religion is to a certain extent applied Christianity. Fichte's Philosophy too is perhaps applied Christianity.
"Can Miracles work Conviction? Or is not real Conviction, this highest function of our soul and personality, the only true Godannouncing Miracle?
"The Christian Religion is especially remarkable, moreover, as it so decidedly lays claim to mere good will in Man, to his essential Temper, and values this independently of all Culture and Manifestation. It stands in opposition to Science and to Art, and properly to Enjoyment.*
"Its origin is with the common people. It inspires the great majority of the limited in this Earth.
"It is the Light that begins to shine in the Darkness.
"It is the root of all Democracy, the highest Fact in the Rights of Man (die höchste Thatsache der Popularität.)
"Its unpoetical exterior, its resemblance to a modern family-picture, seems only to be lent it.*—
Martyrs are spiritual heroes. Christ was the greatest martyr of our species; through him has martyrdom become infinitely significant and holy.
"The Bible begins nobly, with Paradise, the symbol of youth; and concludes with the Eternal Kingdom, the Holy City. Its two main divisions, also, are genuine grand-historical divisions (ächt grosshistorisch.) For in every grand-historical compartment, (Glied,) the grand history must lie, as it were, symbolically recreated, (verjüngt, made young again.) The beginning of the New Testament is the second higher Fall, (the Atonement of the Fall,) and the commencement of the new Period. The history of every individual man should be a Bible. Christ is the new Adam. A Bible is the highest problem of Authorship.
"As yet there is no Religion. You must first make a Seminary (Bildungs-schule) of genuine Religion. Think ye that there is Re ligion? Religion has to be made and produced (gemacht und hervorgebracht) by the union of a number of persons."
Hitherto our readers have seen nothing of
Italics also in the text.