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dits, called upon to experience the ho- to say this much, that its members nour of presenting themselves to the now only await your final proposiaudience. All here are zealous and en- tion, to determine decisively between thusiastic in praise of our Manheim the merits of the two proposals. actors; and Grossmann's company, so Were it the wish of your Excellency, lately deemed unrivalled, are now and did you feel solicitous to aid and compelled to yield the palm of skill participate in the reputation of the and excellence to our admirable thea- Society, I think it probable that a trical associates. We are here kindly part, at least, of the proposed plan involved in such an unceasing round might be successfully accomplished. of revelry and feasting, that I can In my view of the matter, it ought with difficulty snatch some quiet mo- to be explicitly resolved and estabments from the bustle, to write you lished, that a small committee of a few lines. Grossmann charges me the members of the Society, perhaps, for you with many kind expressions not exceeding six in number, should of affection and regard, which I be formed ; and which should return must, however, delay to communi- in writing its candid and impartial cate till we meet. The play for this decision, drawn from the collective evening is the “ Father's Revenge," intelligence of its members, upon the and, on Monday, my “ Cabal and merits of those dramatic pieces subLove ;” a mark of honour and respect mitted to their attention, and wheto myself, which, however amiable ther or not they may seem calculated and flattering, I would willingly for successful representation. In this wave, that I might thus escape the limited selection of members, your torture of hearing violence done to Excellency would of necessity fall to my poetical sentiments. The mis- be included, and I may also add mye placed and excessively declamatory self; otherwise it might possibly efforts of the actress who performs happen, that partial and prejudiced the part of the heroine, I feel to be critics among our number, and hosextremely irksome and painful. The tile to our theatre, might have it in truly chaste and admirable perfor- their power to sway the committee, mance of your lady has, in this, ren- and to reject what in itself might dered me discerning and fastidious. be strikingly and intrinsically exBut I reserve to myself the satisfac- cellent. Among our members, I tion, when we meet, of communicating believe Schwan, Keibel, Professor to you the particulars of the perfor- Günther, Reichert, Klein, and Sammance. Meanwhile,continue to num- buga, the most peculiarly qualified ber me among the most affectionate for the province and labours of the and sincere of your friends, &c. &c. committee; and I feel assured they
would engage in them with the utSchiller to Von Dalberg.
most zeal and alacrity. Your Ex
cellency, I feel persuaded, will at Manheim, 7th June, 1784.
once see the propriety, that each The singular and somewhat sus- member, in forming his opinion, picious circumstance, in regard to my should consider the whole constituent inanuscript, has been fully explained parts and characteristics of the piece, to my satisfaction. I have it again and its capability or unfitness for resafely in my possession ; it seems, presentation, in their inseparable conhowever, never once to have occurred nection and dependence upon each to us, that a mischievous and im- other; and not allow himself to be proper use might possibly have been led astray, by vtewing alone some inade of it. I attended the last meet- partial and detached features of the ing of our Society *, and may venture dramatic production, and allowing
This was the learned and scientific Society of this Palatinate, of which Schiller in this year, (1784,). was admitted a member. It seems to have been his more im-, mediate and closer intercourse, by this means, with many from whom he believed he might derive the most zealous and effective aid and co-operation, in his literary de. signs, which led Schiller to entertain the thought of elevating and improving the Manheim stage, by the monthly publication of a “ Dramaturgy," or Journal devoted to subjects connected with the Drama.
these to guide him, rather than a improvement of our stage, I have comprehensive consideration of the fervently longed, that my pecuniary power and presumed effect of the circumstances were such as might whole, in the connection and disposi- enable me to give to the world the tion of its parts. Were this proposi- Dramaturgy, from myself, as its sole tion of a committee to be brought to conductor. When, however, I am bear, I should then eagerly desire of assured by your Excellency, that your Excellency, that I might be no your theatrical establishment wholly minated mutual Secretary, to convey decline, in this, to aid or assist me, the decisions of the Society to the and when I find how vain it is to Theatrical Committee of Manage- look to the booksellers for any adement, and, in return, to submit again quate remuneration of my industry the answers or queries of the latter and exertions, I altogether despair of to the further consideration and deci- accomplishing, in this form, the prosion of our selected number. In this jected publication, in which I would way, may I be permitted to say, that, otherwise have so zealously and fondthrough my humble instrumentality, ly engaged. I cannot disguise from both Societies would be brought into you that it grieves me, in common a fitting dependence upon each other, with the most eminent and intelliand, in their respective powers and gent of our actors, that a projected capacities, harmoniously and insepa- arrangement, which opened up such rably incorporated.
splendid and exhilarating prospects As to the publication to be con of advantage and amelioration to our ducted by the joint aids and contri- drama, should at once be defeated butions of the Society, you have, I by so slight and inconsiderable a presume, by this time, considered the bindrance. And it still more disa written opinion of Schwan. He has tresses, and fills me with deep regret, communicated to me his letter to while I feel within myself the proud you. Nothing occurs to me farther consciousness, how much, by my to add to it, unless the suggestion, own enthusiastic and zealous endeathat our stage would be much more vours, I might thus have contribuhighly and immediately benefited, ted to advance the name and celewere the “ Dramaturgy” limited to brity of our stage. the treatment and exposition of to A few days ago, I experienced a pics connected with the stage, and most agreeable and flattering surpublished at certain short periodical prise, in an occurrence which I canintervals, than if it were merely not refrain from imparting to you, made the wide and extensive reposi as I know well your affectionate intory of treatises and contributions, terest will eagerly lead you to partiof a more general and scientific kind, cipate in my satisfaction. I received -many of them unavoidably tedious letters from Leipsic, each accompa--and did it only issue from the nied by a small package, from four press after the long interval of a persons wholly unknown me, and year. I may indeed assume the free- written in the most enthusiastic terms dom to say, that the Journal of the of commendation, and overflowing Society would most likely lose the with the warmest expressions of adgreater portion of its interest and at miration for my poetic talents. traction, were I to decline to under. These epistles were accompanied by take the superintendance of that part four miniature portraits ; two of of it set apart for topics regarding which are those of females of strikthe drama. Besides, I feel almost ing beauty; and also by a pocketassured that Schwan would be averse book, finished and ornamented in the to encounter the pecuniary risk of most elegant taste. So estimable and its publication, were this important pleasing an offering, from persons addition to its contents omitied. I wholly strangers to me, who could in must, indeed, ingenuously own, that this be influenced by no other inothe introduction of such topics and tive than the generous wish of exdisquisitions, connected with the pressing towards me their sentiments draina, appear to me so indispen- of favourable regard, and their thanks sable in the publication, that in my for some bours of enjoyment affordanxious and zealous wish for the ed them, I must candidly confess
deeply impressed me by its value; has been favourably noticed in the and I doubt, indeed, if the loudest Gotha newspaper, but in so slight and most unequivocal voice of the and superficial a manner, that it can public approbation could ever have afford no information to the curious imparted to me so lively and deli- and intelligent realer. I am at precious a satisfaction. When your sent more perplexed and embarrassed Excellency again honours me with a than ever as to my new dramatic visit, I shall have the happiness of work ;-were 1, in this, to follow the shewing you these elegant and che wishes and kind incentives of my rished testimonials of favour and re friends, I ought to select some noble spect.
and impressive historical subject for The musical drama of “ Dido," my dramatic labours, and especially so long in preparation, was at length to proceed zealously with the compobrought out last evening. I am in sition of my “Don Carlos,” the plan clined to doubt if it will ever grow of which I have already submitted much into popular favour. I must to the discriminating attention of own, I cannot bestow upon it my Gotter, who honours it with his vaapprobation. The poetry and the luable and most earnest commendamusic equally failed of touching or tion. It must, indeed, I think, be impressing me; and I suspect that allowed, that a dramatic subject, this private feeling will be found to which soars not above the more fabe pretty nearly the general one. I miliar objects and relations of middle pretend not, however, to be a prace life, however felicitously and finely tised critic in the musical drama, developed, can never possess, in the and, even as one of its fond and at minds of the great-thirsting after tached votaries, I ought not, in this, the delineation of more elevated and to assume to myself the right of de- uncommon incident—that impresciding. The representation and per- sive and commanding interest, which formance of the piece, however, went awaits the bolder and more dignified off well. Mademoiselle Baumann efforts of the dramatic poet. I may and Madame Beck are at present also add, that a drama of this more indisposed, which might, it is possi- elevated and striking cast of incident ble, occasion some slight difficulty earns, for the poet, and the theatre and embarrassment in the arrange- for which he writes, a greater and ment and disposal of the parts. I more rapidly-established celebrity have thought it needless to converse than might perhaps have been acfarther with Madame Gensicke, as quired by three pieces of more doyour Excellency intimated to me mestic and unpretending incident. your intention of writing to her your. In this state of indecision, I eagerly self. The public are warmly pre- desire the valuable opinion of your possessed in her favour; and should Excellency to determine me, finally, you be unable to conclude any en as to what description of dramatic gagement with her, it assuredly will subject I ought to choose for my be the more urgent and indispensable poetical exertions. I may here venthat her successor here should be of ture to assure you, that “ Carlos” such eminence and celebrity as may will in nothing partake of the colder guard our theatre from any imputa- and less-inviting features of a polititions which might otherwise be cal drama. It is rather my great thrown upon the liberality of its aim to pourtray the singular and management.
striking domestic incidents of a Royal I could have wished that your House,-to develope suitably the terExcelleney had sent to us here some rible situation of a father, who finds, thing new from the Leipsic fair, in his own son, the object of his dark which might have relished as an and cruel jealousy, and the yet more elegant and tasteful desert; or at pitiable and agonizing picture of the least that you had pointed out to our son, who, with all the splendour and notice some recent drama of merit;- power of his title to the most potent but my curiosity will now very speed- and magnificent kingdom in the ily be gratified, as the waggon ar world, yet fondly loves, without hope, rives early next morning with books and at last falls the unhappy victim for Schwan. My “Cabal and Love” of the most stern and unrelenting
paternal vengeance. Such situation, ready written. Ever with the sinso striking and impressive, I should cerest respect, &c. &c. imagine, if unfolded with corresponding dramatic power, could not
Frederick Schiller engages, for the fail to beget an interest of a very yearly remuneration of fifty ducats, high and dignified kind. In the
in the to publish a Dramaturgy of the Mantreatment of this drama, I shall most heim National Theatre, and to destudiously seek to avoid whatever, in liver to the Committee of Managethe incidents, or their poetical co ment, of the Electoral Theatre, a louring, might have the slightest stipulated number of copies * tendercy to shock or revolt the feel Impressed with the most lively ings.
con viction of the extensive benefit 1 conclude by expressing the ear
which the National Theatre at Mannest wish, not only of myself, but of heim would derive from the publiall our friends of the Society, that we cation of a Monthly Dramaturgy, may very speedily have again the which shall lay before the public a happiness of seeing you in the midst full detail of its regular business and of us. With the truest respect, &c. transactions, and also of the circum
stances and peculiarities of its inter
nal management, I have determined Schiller to the same.
to engage in this work, and to deManheim, 2d July 1784.
vote myself zealously to its accom
plishments. I now send your Excellency, in As to the necessary and separate closed, agreeably to your wish, my divisions of the Journal, my views short-written plan, or prospectus, for
are simply these : the Manheim Dramaturgy, upon 1st. It ought to be prefaced, by which I am so zealously bent to way of introduction, by an historical engage. Should this work, as I feel
account of our Theatre in Manheim, assured, form an epoch in our stage, from the period of its first establishand prove the noble and effective ment, to the present time, and of the means of raising into importance chief revolutions by which it has been our national drama, and giving to it effecte A just tribute of commenan enduring and splendid celebrity, dation ought here also to be paid to I shall not I may with ardent truth its distinguished manager. affirn-allow the smallness of the 2d. A general review of the mapecuniary recompence to lead me af
nagement, economy, and policy of terwards to turn aside from the un the stage ; and, at the same time, of dertaking. Without, howeyer, such the enlightened and guiding taste pecuniary aid, my present circum- by which these are so effectively distances render it wholly impossible rected. for me to enter upon the work; and 3d. What immediately and perthe fond and delightful anticipations sonally relates to the performers; in which I have so eagerly indulged, some traits of their history, their must at once fail of their accom peculiar range of characters, their plishment. I desire to hear from salaries, and a variety of other inciyour Excellency, as speedily as pos- dental matters. sible, in return, that, should your 4th. An enumeration of the draopinion prove favourable to my matic pieces of most merit and celewishes, I may at once proceed to brity, which have hitherto appeared take the proper and necessary mea on our stage ; accompanied by some sures for entering upon the work; remarks on their representation at and for this purpose send off several the time, and their reception by the letters, which now lie before me al public.
* The following plan was laid before the Society of the Palatinate, with the view, if possible, of obtaining for the work their aid and sanction. We here give the Prospectus of the intended Journal; as it cannot assuredly be devoid of high interest, to see what, in the judgment of so distinguished and zealous a cultivator of the drama, were those leading heads and divisions of topics, which seemed to him proper to characterise a work of this description.
5th. The theatrical business and price of the publisher or bookseller. occurrences of each month, with the Should the Theatrical Body of Màcritical awards of the select Commit- nagement not regard the numerous tee of the Society, or the Theatrical and striking advantages which would Body of Management.
result to them, from the establish6th. Essays and disquisitions re- ment of this work, as too dearly purlative to the dramatic art, which, in chased by the expence of fifty ducats, my view, would, it is probable, em then the plan may be said to be not brace the whole system of the art. far from its successful completion ;
7th. The solution of questions re- and I eagerly and solemnly engage lative to the drama, proposed by the to devote myself to the task, and to Theatrical Committee of Manage- give to it the most zealous and unment.
remitting exertions of my industry sth. A particular portion of the and my talents. I promise, that the Journal shall be set apart, under the Journal shall first appear in the betitle of Miscellanies or Additions, for ginning of August, 1784; that the anecdotes, poetical pieces, extracts, Theatrical Management shall be and all those other topics and mat- freed from all other expence and conters which do not naturally fall un cern in its publication ; and that, der any of the other marked divi, each month, I shall deliver to them, sions of the publication.
free of charge, a stipulated number To enable the editor of the work of impressions of the work. The to devote to it the full exercise of his Committee of the Electoral Theatre talents, and, at the same time, to de. shall, in short, be in no way impliliver, without restraint, his candid cated in the risk of the undertaking, and unbiassed views on dramatic art, but shall merely affix to the work he conceives it indispensable, that, the sanction of their signature, to by the allowance of a moderate com- guard the Editor against the piracy of pensation from the theatre, he should his Journal *. be thrown wholly free from any de
F. SCHILLER pendence on the selfishness or ca At Manheim, 2d July 1784.
* All my
This zealous and patriotic attempt of Schiller, to reform and elevate the national drama, would seem to have failed, because refused the countenance and support of the Scientific Society of the Palatinate. In a letter to his friend Ritter v. Klein, Schiller has these words :-" The views of Dalberg and myself, which we shortly laid before the Society, were received in a manner extremely opposite to what our eager wishes had led us to expect ; and from the conduct and demeanour of several of the members, I have been led, with chagrin, to remark, that all measures for the advancement of the Belles Lettres, and the more refined cultivation of art, find little countenance or favour from those purely scientific men, who seem to deem it below the dignity of their nature to foster or encourage any attempts of this kind.” Schiller, however, shortly afterwards accomplished, in part, the design of his proposed Dramaturgy, by becoming the conductor of a periodical work entitled “ Rheinische Thalia." In the prefatory announcement of this publication, Schiller, it may be presumed, having still in his mind the desertion of his late friends of the Society, says, with a noble and dignified reliance on the extent of his own powers, connections are now dissolved,- the public is to me now every thing,-my great incentive to exertion,-my sovereign guide,--my confident and all-powerful adviser, to it I now wholly resign myself,
to the authority of this tribunal alone do I desire to bow, which, while it inspires me with dread, I respectfully reverence. The secret and strong impulse of something great and elevated within me, irresistibly urges me, in all that pertains to imagination and poetic conception, to shake from me every deadening or minute entanglement, and alone to listen to the decision of the world, to appeal to no other throne than the human heart, and its passions and affections. Posterity willingly disregard a writer, who, in his narrower views, has remained cal. lous and insensible to the noble incentives of the general voice. I must candidly own, that, in taking upon myself the management and direction of the Rheinische Thalia,' my most powerful and decisive inducement was to create, between the public and myself, a kindly and endearing bond of union."