Beethoven's Letters 1790-1826, Volume 1 of 2
Lady Wallace

Part 1 out of 4

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Since undertaking the translation of Dr. Ludwig Nohl's valuable edition of
"Beethoven's Letters," an additional collection has been published by Dr.
Ludwig Ritter von Koechel, consisting of many interesting letters addressed
by Beethoven to his illustrious pupil, H.R.H. the Archduke Rudolph,
Cardinal-Archbishop of Olmuetz. These I have inserted in chronological
order, and marked with the letter K., in order to distinguish them from the
correspondence edited by Dr. Nohl. I have only omitted a few brief notes,
consisting merely of apologies for non-attendance on the Archduke.

The artistic value of these newly discovered treasures will no doubt be as
highly appreciated in this country as in the great _maestro's_ Father-land.

I must also express my gratitude to Dr. Th.G. v. Karajan, for permitting an
engraving to be made expressly for this work, from an original Beethoven
portrait in his possession, now for the first time given to the public. The
grand and thoughtful countenance forms a fitting introduction to letters so
truly depicting the brilliant, fitful genius of the sublime master, as well
as the touching sadness and gloom pervading his life, which his devotion to
Art alone brightened, through many bitter trials and harassing cares.

The love of Beethoven's music is now become so universal in England, that I
make no doubt his Letters will receive a hearty welcome from all those
whose spirits have been elevated and soothed by the genius of this
illustrious man.


AINDERBY HALL, March 28, 1866.





In accompanying the present edition of the Letters of Ludwig van Beethoven
with a few introductory remarks, I at once acknowledge that the compilation
of these letters has cost me no slight sacrifices. I must also, however,
mention that an unexpected Christmas donation, generously bestowed on me
with a view to further my efforts to promote the science of music, enabled
me to undertake one of the journeys necessary for my purpose, and also to
complete the revision of the Letters and of the press, in the milder air
and repose of a country residence, long since recommended to me for the
restoration of my health, undermined by overwork.

That, in spite of every effort, I have not succeeded in seeing the original
of each letter, or even discovering the place where it exists, may well be
excused, taking into consideration the slender capabilities of an
individual, and the astonishing manner in which Beethoven's Letters are
dispersed all over the world. At the same time, I must state that not only
have the hitherto inaccessible treasures of Anton Schindler's "Beethoven's
Nachlass" been placed at my disposal, but also other letters from private
sources, owing to various happy chances, and the kindness and complaisance
of collectors of autographs. I know better, however, than most
people--being in a position to do so--that in the present work there can be
no pretension to any thing approaching to a complete collection of
Beethoven's Letters. The master, so fond of writing, though he often rather
amusingly accuses himself of being a lazy correspondent, may very probably
have sent forth at least double the amount of the letters here given, and
there is no doubt whatever that a much larger number are still extant in
the originals. The only thing that can be done at this moment, however, is
to make the attempt to bring to light, at all events, the letters that
could be discovered in Germany. The mass of those which I gradually
accumulated, and now offer to the public (with the exception of some
insignificant notes), appeared to me sufficiently numerous and important to
interest the world, and also to form a substantial nucleus for any letters
that may hereafter be discovered. On the other hand, as many of Beethoven's
Letters slumber in foreign lands, especially in the unapproachable cabinets
of curiosities belonging to various close-fisted English collectors, an
entire edition of the correspondence could only be effected by a most
disproportionate outlay of time and expense.

When revising the text of the Letters, it seemed to me needless perpetually
to impair the pleasure of the reader by retaining the mistakes in
orthography; but enough of the style of writing of that day is adhered to,
to prevent its peculiar charm being entirely destroyed. Distorted and
incorrect as Beethoven's mode of expression sometimes is, I have not
presumed to alter his grammar, or rather syntax, in the smallest degree:
who would presume to do so with an individuality which, even amid startling
clumsiness of style, displays those inherent intellectual powers that often
did violence to language as well as to his fellow-men? Cyclopean masses of
rock are here hurled with Cyclopean force; but hard and massive as they
are, the man is not to be envied whose heart is not touched by these
glowing fragments, flung apparently at random right and left, like meteors,
by a mighty intellectual being, however perverse the treatment language may
have received from him.

The great peculiarity, however, in this strange mode of expression is, that
even such incongruous language faithfully reflects the mind of the man
whose nature was of prophetic depth and heroic force; and who that knows
anything of the creative genius of a Beethoven can deny him these

The antique dignity pervading the whole man, the ethical contemplation of
life forming the basis of his nature, prevented even a momentary wish on my
part to efface a single word of the oft-recurring expressions so painfully
harsh, bordering on the unaesthetic, and even on the repulsive, provoked by
his wrath against the meanness of men. In the last part of these genuine
documents, we learn with a feeling of sadness, and with almost a tragic
sensation, how low was the standard of moral worth, or rather how great was
the positive unworthiness, of the intimate society surrounding the master,
and with what difficulty he could maintain the purity of the nobler part of
his being in such an atmosphere. The manner, indeed, in which he strives to
do so, fluctuating between explosions of harshness and almost weak
yieldingness, while striving to master the base thoughts and conduct of
these men, though never entirely succeeding in doing so, is often more a
diverting than an offensive spectacle. In my opinion, nevertheless, even
this less pleasing aspect of the Letters ought not to be in the slightest
degree softened (which it has hitherto been, owing to false views of
propriety and morality), for it is no moral deformity here displayed.
Indeed, even when the irritable master has recourse to expressions
repugnant to our sense of conventionality, and which may well be called
harsh and rough, still the wrath that seizes on our hero is a just and
righteous wrath, and we disregard it, just as in Nature, whose grandeur
constantly elevates us above the inevitable stains of an earthly soil. The
coarseness and ill-breeding, which would claim toleration because this
great man now and then showed such feelings, must beware of doing so, being
certain to make shipwreck when coming in contact with the massive rock of
true morality on which, with all his faults and deficiencies, Beethoven's
being was surely grounded. Often, indeed, when absorbed in the
unsophisticated and genuine utterances of this great man, it seems as if
these peculiarities and strange asperities were the results of some
mysterious law of Nature, so that we are inclined to adopt the paradox by
which a wit once described the singular groundwork of our nature,--"The
faults of man are the night in which he rests from his virtues."

Indeed, I think that the lofty morality of such natures is not fully
evident until we are obliged to confess with regret, that even the great
ones of the earth must pay their tribute to humanity, and really do pay it
(which is the distinction between them and base and petty characters),
without being ever entirely hurled from their pedestal of dignity and
virtue. The soul of that man cannot fail to be elevated, who can seize the
real spirit of the scattered pages that a happy chance has preserved for
us. If not fettered by petty feelings, he will quickly surmount the casual
obstacles and stumbling-blocks which the first perusal of these Letters may
seem to present, and quickly feel himself transported at a single stride
into a stream, where a strange roaring and rushing is heard, but above
which loftier tones resound with magic and exciting power. For a peculiar
life breathes in these lines; an under-current runs through their
apparently unconnected import, uniting them as with an electric chain, and
with firmer links than any mere coherence of subjects could have effected.
I experienced this myself, to the most remarkable degree, when I first made
the attempt to arrange, in accordance with their period and substance, the
hundreds of individual pages bearing neither date nor address, and I was
soon convinced that a connecting text (such as Mozart's Letters have, and
ought to have) would be here entirely superfluous, as even the best
biographical commentary would be very dry work, interrupting the electric
current of the whole, and thus destroying its peculiar effect.

And now, what is this spirit which, for an intelligent mind, binds together
these scattered fragments into a whole, and what is its actual power? I
cannot tell; but I feel to this day just as I felt to the innermost depths
of my heart in the days of my youth when I first heard a symphony of
Beethoven's,--that a spirit breathes from it bearing us aloft with giant
power out of the oppressive atmosphere of sense, stirring to its inmost
recesses the heart of man, bringing him to the full consciousness of his
loftier being, and of the undying within him. And even more distinctly than
when a new world was thus disclosed to his youthful feelings is the _man_
fully conscious that not only was this a new world to him, but a new world
of feeling in itself, revealing to the spirit phases of its own, which,
till Beethoven appeared, had never before been fathomed. Call it by what
name you will, when one of the great works of the sublime master is heard,
whether indicative of proud self-consciousness, freedom, spring, love,
storm, or battle, it grasps the soul with singular force, and enlarges the
laboring breast. Whether a man understands music or not, every one who has
a heart beating within his breast will feel with enchantment that here is
concentrated the utmost promised to us by the most imaginative of our
poets, in bright visions of happiness and freedom. Even the only great hero
of action, who in those memorable days is worthy to stand beside the great
master of harmony, having diffused among mankind new and priceless earthly
treasures, sinks in the scale when we compare these with the celestial
treasures of a purified and deeper feeling, and a more free, enlarged, and
sublime view of the world, struggling gradually and distinctly upwards out
of the mere frivolity of an art devoid of words to express itself, and
impressing its stamp on the spirit of the age. They convey, too, the
knowledge of this brightest victory of genuine German intellect to those
for whom the sweet Muse of Music is as a book with seven seals, and reveal,
likewise, a more profound sense of Beethoven's being to many who already,
through the sweet tones they have imbibed, enjoy some dawning conviction of
the master's grandeur, and who now more and more eagerly lend a listening
ear to the intellectual clearly worded strains so skilfully interwoven,
thus soon to arrive at the full and blissful comprehension of those grand
outpourings of the spirit, and finally to add another bright delight to the
enjoyment of those who already know and love Beethoven. All these may be
regarded as the objects I had in view when I undertook to edit his Letters,
which have also bestowed on myself the best recompense of my labors, in the
humble conviction that by this means I may have vividly reawakened in the
remembrance of many the mighty mission which our age is called on to
perform for the development of our race, even in the realm of
harmony,--more especially in our Father-land.


March, 1865.




1. To the Elector of Cologne, Frederick Maximilian.
2. To Dr. Schade, Augsburg
3. To the Elector Maximilian Francis
4. To Eleonore von Breuning, Bonn
5. To the Same
6. To Herr Schenk
7. To Dr. Wegeler, Vienna
8. To the Same
9. Lines written in the Album of L. von Breuning
10. To Baron Zmeskall von Domanowecz
11. Ukase to Zmeskall, Schuppanzigh, and Lichnowsky
12. To Pastor Amenda, Courland
13. To the Same
14. To Wegeler
15. To Countess Giulietta Guicciardi
16. To Matthisson
17. To Frau Frank, Vienna
18. To Wegeler
19. To Kapellmeister Hofmeister, Leipzig
20. To the Same
21. To the Same
22. To the Same
23. Dedication to Dr. Schmidt
24. To Ferdinand Ries
25. To Herr Hofmeister, Leipzig
26. To Carl and Johann Beethoven
27. Notice
28. To Ferdinand Ries
29. To Herr Hofmeister, Leipzig
30. Caution
31. To Ries
32. To the Same
33. To the Same
34. To the Same
35. To the Composer Leidesdorf, Vienna
36. To Ries
37. To the Same
38. To the Same
39. To Messrs. Artaria & Co.
40. To Princess Liechtenstein
41. To Herr Meyer
42. Testimonial for C. Czerny
43. To Herr Roeckel
44. To Herr Collin, Court Secretary and Poet
45. To Herr Gleichenstein
46. To the Directors of the Court Theatre
47. To Count Franz von Oppersdorf
48. Notice of a Memorial to the Archduke Rudolph, Prince Kinsky,
and Prince Lobkowitz
49. Memorial to the Same
50. To Zmeskall
51. To Ferdinand Ries
52. To Zmeskall
53. To the Same
54. To the Same
55. To the Same
56. To the Same
57. To the Same
58. To the Same
59. To Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall
60. To the Same
61. To Baroness von Drossdick
62. To Mdlle. de Gerardi
63. To Zmeskall
64. To Wegeler
65. To Zmeskall
66. To Bettina Brentano
67. To the Same
68. To Zmeskall
69. To the Same
70. To the Archduke Rudolph
71. To a Dear Friend
72. To the Dramatic Poet Treitschke
73. To Zmeskall
74. To the Same
75. To the Same
76. To the Same
77. To the Same
78. To the Same
79. To the Same
80. To Kammerprocurator Varenna, Gratz
81. To Zmeskall
82. To the Same
83. To Varenna, Gratz
84. To Zmeskall
85. To Varenna
86. To Archduke Rudolph
87. To the Same
88. To Varenna, Gratz
89. To Joseph Freiherr von Schweiger
90. To Varenna, Gratz
91. Lines written in the Album of Mdme. Auguste Sebald
92. To Archduke Rudolph
93. To Bettina von Arnim
94. To Princess Kinsky
95. To Archduke Rudolph
96. To the Same
97. To the Same
98. To Princess Kinsky
99. To the Same
100. To Zmeskall
101. To Herr Joseph Varenna, Gratz
102. To the Same
103. To Zmeskall
104. To the Same
105. To the Same
106. To the Same
107. To the Same
108. To the Same
109. To the Same
110. To Archduke Rudolph
111. To the Same
112. To the Same
113. To Freiherr Josef von Schweiger
114. To Herr von Baumeister
115. To Zmeskall
116. Letter of Thanks
117. To the Archduke Rudolph
118. To the Same
119. To the Same
120. To Treitschke
121. To the Same
122. To the Same
123. To Count Lichnowsky.
124. To the Same
125. To the Archduke Rudolph
126. To the Same
127. Deposition
128. To Dr. Kauka, Prague.
129. Address and Appeal to London Artists
130. To Dr. Kauka
131. To Count Moritz Lichnowsky
132. To the Archduke Rudolph
133. To the Same
134. To the Same
135. To the Same
136. To the Same
137. To the Same
138. To the Same
139. To the Same
140. To Dr. Kauka
141. To the Same
142. To the Same
143. To the Members of the Landrecht
144. To Baron von Pasqualati
145. To Dr. Kauka
146. To the Archduke Rudolph



147. Music written in Spohr's Album
148. To Dr. Kauka
149. To the Same
150. To the Same
151. To Mr. Salomon, London
152. To the Archduke Rudolph
153. To the Same
154. To the Same
155. To the Same
156. To the Same
157. To the Same
158. To Mr. Birchall, Music Publisher, London
159. To Zmeskall
160. To the Archduke Rudolph
161. To Messrs. Birchall, London
162. To Herr Ries
163. To Zmeskall
164. To Mdlle. Milder-Hauptmann
165. To Ries
166. To Mr. Birchall, London
167. To Czerny
168. To the Same
169. To Ries, London
170. To Giannatasio del Rio, Vienna
171. To the Same
172. To the Same
173. To the Same
174. To Ferdinand Ries, London
175. To the Same
176. Power of Attorney
177. To Ferdinand Ries
178. To Giannatasio del Rio
179. To the Same
180. To the Archduke Rudolph
181. To Mr. Birchall London
182. To the Same
183. To Giannatasio del Rio
184. To the Same
185. To Zmeskall
186. To Dr. Kauka
187. Query
188. To Giannatasio del Rio
189. To the Same
190. To Wegeler
191. To Mr. Birchall, London
192. To Zmeskall
193. To the Archduke Rudolph
194. To Freiherr von Schweiger
195. To Giannatasio del Rio
196. To the Same
197. To the Same
198. To the Same
199. To Herr Tschischka
200. To Mr. Birchall
201. To Zmeskall
202. To Frau von Streicher
203. To the Same
204. To the Same
205. To the Same
206. To the Same
207. To the Archduke Rudolph
208. To Giannatasio del Rio
209. To the Same
210. To the Same
211. To Hofrath von Mosel
212. To S.A. Steiner, Music Publisher, Vienna
213. To the Same
214. To the Same
215. To Zmeskall


1783 TO 1815.






Music from my fourth year has ever been my favorite pursuit. Thus early
introduced to the sweet Muse, who attuned my soul to pure harmony, I loved
her, and sometimes ventured to think that I was beloved by her in return. I
have now attained my eleventh year, and my Muse often whispered to me in
hours of inspiration,--Try to write down the harmonies in your soul. Only
eleven years old! thought I; does the character of an author befit me? and
what would more mature artists say? I felt some trepidation; but my Muse
willed it--so I obeyed, and wrote.

May I now, therefore, Illustrious Prince, presume to lay the first-fruits
of my juvenile labors at the foot of your throne? and may I hope that you
will condescend to cast an encouraging and kindly glance on them? You will;
for Art and Science have ever found in you a judicious protector and a
generous patron, and rising talent has always prospered under your
fostering and fatherly care. Encouraged by this cheering conviction, I
venture to approach you with these my youthful efforts. Accept them as the
pure offering of childlike reverence, and graciously vouchsafe to regard
with indulgence them and their youthful composer,


[Footnote 1: The dedication affixed to this work, "Three Sonatas for the
Piano, dedicated to my illustrious master, Maximilian Friedrich, Archbishop
and Elector of Cologne, by Ludwig van Beethoven in his eleventh year," is
probably not written by the boy himself, but is given here as an amusing
contrast to his subsequent ideas with regard to the homage due to rank.]



Bonn, 1787. Autumn.


I can easily imagine what you must think of me, and I cannot deny that you
have too good grounds for an unfavorable opinion. I shall not, however,
attempt to justify myself, until I have explained to you the reasons why my
apologies should be accepted. I must tell you that from the time I left
Augsburg[1] my cheerfulness, as well as my health, began to decline; the
nearer I came to my native city, the more frequent were the letters from my
father, urging me to travel with all possible speed, as my mother's health
was in a most precarious condition. I therefore hurried forwards as fast as
I could, although myself far from well. My longing once more to see my
dying mother overcame every obstacle, and assisted me in surmounting the
greatest difficulties. I found my mother indeed still alive, but in the
most deplorable state; her disease was consumption, and about seven weeks
ago, after much pain and suffering, she died [July 17]. She was indeed a
kind, loving mother to me, and my best friend. Ah! who was happier than I,
when I could still utter the sweet name of mother, and it was heard? But to
whom can I now say it? Only to the silent form resembling her, evoked by
the power of imagination. I have passed very few pleasant hours since my
arrival here, having during the whole time been suffering from asthma,
which may, I fear, eventually turn to consumption; to this is added
melancholy,--almost as great an evil as my malady itself. Imagine yourself
in my place, and then I shall hope to receive your forgiveness for my long
silence. You showed me extreme kindness and friendship by lending me three
Carolins in Augsburg, but I must entreat your indulgence for a time. My
journey cost me a great deal, and I have not the smallest hopes of earning
anything here. Fate is not propitious to me in Bonn. Pardon my intruding on
you so long with my affairs, but all that I have said was necessary for my
own justification.

I do entreat you not to deprive me of your valuable friendship; nothing do
I wish so much as in any degree to become worthy of your regard. I am, with
all esteem, your obedient servant and friend,


_Cologne Court Organist._

[Footnote 1: On his return from Vienna, whither Max Franz had sent him for
the further cultivation of his talents.]





Some years ago your Highness was pleased to grant a pension to my father,
the Court tenor Van Beethoven, and further graciously to decree that 100 R.
Thalers of his salary should be allotted to me, for the purpose of
maintaining, clothing, and educating my two younger brothers, and also
defraying the debts incurred by our father. It was my intention to present
this decree to your Highness's treasurer, but my father earnestly implored
me to desist from doing so, that he might not be thus publicly proclaimed
incapable himself of supporting his family, adding that he would engage to
pay me the 25 R.T. quarterly, which he punctually did. After his death,
however (in December last), wishing to reap the benefit of your Highness's
gracious boon, by presenting the decree, I was startled to find that my
father had destroyed it.

I therefore, with all dutiful respect, entreat your Highness to renew this
decree, and to order the paymaster of your Highness's treasury to grant me
the last quarter of this benevolent addition to my salary (due the
beginning of February). I have the honor to remain,

Your Highness's most obedient and faithful servant,


_Court Organist._

[Footnote 1: An electoral decree was issued in compliance with this request
on May 3, 1793.]



Vienna, Nov. 2, 1793.


A year of my stay in this capital has nearly elapsed before you receive a
letter from me, and yet the most vivid remembrance of you is ever present
with me. I have often conversed in thought with you and your dear family,
though not always in the happy mood I could have wished, for that fatal
misunderstanding still hovered before me, and my conduct at that time is
now hateful in my sight. But so it was, and how much would I give to have
the power wholly to obliterate from my life a mode of acting so degrading
to myself, and so contrary to the usual tenor of my character!

Many circumstances, indeed, contributed to estrange us, and I suspect that
those tale-bearers who repeated alternately to you and to me our mutual
expressions were the chief obstacles to any good understanding between us.
Each believed that what was said proceeded from deliberate conviction,
whereas it arose only from anger, fanned by others; so we were both
mistaken. Your good and noble disposition, my dear friend, is sufficient
security that you have long since forgiven me. We are told that the best
proof of sincere contrition is to acknowledge our faults; and this is what
I wish to do. Let us now draw a veil over the whole affair, learning one
lesson from it,--that when friends are at variance, it is always better to
employ no mediator, but to communicate directly with each other.

With this you will receive a dedication from me [the variations on "Se vuol
ballare"]. My sole wish is that the work were greater and more worthy of
you. I was applied to here to publish this little work, and I take
advantage of the opportunity, my beloved Eleonore, to give you a proof of
my regard and friendship for yourself, and also a token of my enduring
remembrance of your family. Pray then accept this trifle, and do not forget
that it is offered by a devoted friend. Oh! if it only gives you pleasure,
my wishes will be fulfilled. May it in some degree recall the time when I
passed so many happy hours in your house! Perhaps it may serve to remind
you of me till I return, though this is indeed a distant prospect. Oh! how
we shall then rejoice together, my dear Eleonore! You will, I trust, find
your friend a happier man, all former forbidding, careworn furrows smoothed
away by time and better fortune.

When you see B. Koch [subsequently Countess Belderbusch], pray say that it
is unkind in her never once to have written to me. I wrote to her twice,
and three times to Malchus (afterwards Westphalian Minister of Finance),
but no answer. Tell her that if she does not choose to write herself, I beg
that she will at least urge Malchus to do so. At the close of my letter I
venture to make one more request--I am anxious to be so fortunate as again
to possess an Angola waistcoat knitted by your own hand, my dear friend.
Forgive my indiscreet request; it proceeds from my great love for all that
comes from you; and I may privately admit that a little vanity is connected
with it, namely, that I may say I possess something from the best and most
admired young lady in Bonn. I still have the one you were so good as to
give me in Bonn; but change of fashion has made it look so antiquated, that
I can only treasure it in my wardrobe as your gift, and thus still very
dear to me. You would make me very happy by soon writing me a kind letter.
If mine cause you any pleasure, I promise you to do as you wish, and write
as often as it lies in my power; indeed everything is acceptable to me that
can serve to show you how truly I am your admiring and sincere friend,


P.S. The variations are rather difficult to play, especially the shake in
the _Coda_; but do not be alarmed at this, being so contrived that you only
require to play the shake, and leave out the other notes, which also occur
in the violin part. I never would have written it in this way, had I not
occasionally observed that there was a certain individual in Vienna who,
when I extemporized the previous evening, not unfrequently wrote down next
day many of the peculiarities of my music, adopting them as his own [for
instance, the Abbe Gelinek]. Concluding, therefore, that some of these
things would soon appear, I resolved to anticipate this. Another reason
also was to puzzle some of the pianoforte teachers here, many of whom are
my mortal foes; so I wished to revenge myself on them in this way, knowing
that they would occasionally be asked to play the variations, when these
gentlemen would not appear to much advantage.




The beautiful neckcloth, embroidered by your own hand, was the greatest
possible surprise to me; yet, welcome as the gift was, it awakened within
me feelings of sadness. Its effect was to recall former days, and to put me
to shame by your noble conduct to me. I, indeed, little thought that you
still considered me worthy of your remembrance.

Oh! if you could have witnessed my emotions yesterday when this incident
occurred, you would not think that I exaggerate in saying that such a token
of your recollection brought tears to my eyes, and made me feel very sad.
Little as I may deserve favor in your eyes, believe me, my dear _friend_,
(let me still call you so,) I have suffered, and still suffer severely from
the privation of your friendship. Never can I forget you and your dear
mother. You were so kind to me that your loss neither can nor will be
easily replaced. I know what I have forfeited, and what you were to me, but
in order to fill up this blank I must recur to scenes equally painful for
you to hear and for me to detail.

As a slight requital of your kind _souvenir_, I take the liberty to send
you some variations, and a Rondo with violin accompaniment. I have a great
deal to do, or I would long since have transcribed the Sonata I promised
you. It is as yet a mere sketch in manuscript, and to copy it would be a
difficult task even for the clever and practised Paraquin [counter-bass in
the Electoral orchestra]. You can have the Rondo copied, and return the
score. What I now send is the only one of my works at all suitable for you;
besides, as you are going to Kerpen [where an uncle of the family lived], I
thought these trifles might cause you pleasure.

Farewell, my friend; for it is impossible for me to give you any other
name. However indifferent I may be to you, believe me, I shall ever
continue to revere you and your mother as I have always done. If I can in
any way contribute to the fulfilment of a wish of yours, do not fail to let
me know, for I have no other means of testifying my gratitude for past

I wish you an agreeable journey, and that your dear mother may return
entirely restored to health! Think sometimes of your affectionate friend,




June, 1794.


I did not know that I was to set off to-day to Eisenstadt. I should like to
have talked to you again. In the mean time rest assured of my gratitude for
your obliging services. I shall endeavor, so far as it lies in my power, to
requite them. I hope soon to see you, and once more to enjoy the pleasure
of your society. Farewell, and do not entirely forget your


[Footnote 1: Schenk, afterwards celebrated as the composer of the "Dorf
Barbier," was for some time Beethoven's teacher in composition. This note
appears to have been written in June, 1794, and first printed in the
"Freischuetz," No. 183, about 1836, at the time of Schenk's death, when his
connection with Beethoven was mentioned.]



... In what an odious light have you exhibited me to myself! Oh! I
acknowledge it, I do not deserve your friendship. It was no intentional or
deliberate malice that induced me to act towards you as I did, but
inexcusable thoughtlessness alone.

I say no more. I am coming to throw myself into your arms, and to entreat
you to restore me my lost friend; and you will give him back to me, to your
penitent, loving, and ever-grateful


[Footnote 1: Dr. Wegeler, in answer to my request that he would send me the
entire letter, replied that "the passages omitted in the letter consisted
chiefly in eulogiums of his father, and enthusiastic expressions of
friendship, which did not seem to him to be of any value; but besides this,
the same reasons that induced his father to give only a portion of the
letter were imperative with him also." I do not wish to contest the point
with the possessor of the letter; still I may remark that all the
utterances and letters of a great man belong to the world at large, and
that in a case like the present, the conscientious biographer, who strives
faithfully to portray such a man, is alone entitled to decide what portion
of these communications is fitted for publication, and what is not. Any
considerations of a personal character seem to me very trivial.]



Vienna, May 1797.

God speed you, my dear friend! I owe you a letter which you shall shortly
have, and my newest music besides, _I am going on well; indeed, I may say
every day better._ Greet those to whom it will give pleasure from me.
Farewell, and do not forget your




Vienna, Oct. 1, 1797.

Truth for the wise,
Beauty for a feeling heart,
And both for each other.


Never can I forget the time I passed with you, not only in Bonn, but here.
Continue your friendship towards me, for you shall always find me the same
true friend,





[Music: Alto, Tenor, Bass clefs, C Major, 4/4 time, Grave.
ALTO. Ba-ron.
TENORE. Ba-ron.
BASSO. Ba-ron. Ba-ron. Ba-ron.]


Desire the guitar-player to come to me to-day. Amenda (instead of an
_amende_ [fine], which he sometimes deserves for not observing his rests
properly) must persuade this popular guitarist to visit me, and if possible
to come at five o'clock this evening; if not then, at five or six o'clock
to-morrow morning; but he must not waken me if I chance to be still asleep.
_Adieu, mon ami a bon marche._ Perhaps we may meet at the "Swan"?

[Footnote 1: As it appears from the following letters that Amenda was again
at home in 1800, the date of this note is thus ascertained. It is
undoubtedly addressed to Baron Zmeskall von Domanowecz, Royal Court
Secretary, a good violoncello-player, and one of Beethoven's earliest
friends in Vienna. The "guitarist" was probably the celebrated Giuliani,
who lived in Vienna.]


The musical Count is from this day forth _cashiered_ with infamy. The first
violin [Schuppanzigh] ruthlessly transported to _Siberia_. The Baron [see
No. 10] for a whole month _strictly interdicted from asking questions_; no
longer to be so hasty, and to devote himself exclusively to his _ipse


[Footnote 1: Written in gigantic characters in pencil on a large sheet of
paper. The "musical Count" is probably Count Moritz Lichnowsky, brother of
Prince Carl Lichnowsky, in whose house were held those musical performances
in which Beethoven's works were first produced. Even at that time he
behaved in a very dictatorial manner to those gentlemen when his
compositions were badly executed. Thence the name given him by Haydn of
"The Great Mogul."]



Does Amenda think that I can ever forget him, because I do not write? in
fact, never have written to him?--as if the memory of our friends could
only thus be preserved! The _best man I ever knew_ has a thousand times
recurred to my thoughts! Two persons alone once possessed my whole love,
one of whom still lives, and you are now the third. How can my remembrance
of you ever fade? You will shortly receive a long letter about my present
circumstances and all that can interest you. Farewell, beloved, good, and
noble friend! Ever continue your love and friendship towards me, just as I
shall ever be your faithful






I received and read your last letter with deep emotion, and with mingled
pain and pleasure. To what can I compare your fidelity and devotion to me?
Ah! it is indeed delightful that you still continue to love me so well. I
know how to prize you, and to distinguish you from all others; you are not
like my Vienna friends. No! you are one of those whom the soil of my
fatherland is wont to bring forth; how often I wish that you were with me,
for your Beethoven is very unhappy. You must know that one of my most
precious faculties, that of hearing, is become very defective; even while
you were still with me I felt indications of this, though I said nothing;
but it is now much worse. Whether I shall ever be cured remains yet to be
seen; it is supposed to proceed from the state of my digestive organs, but
I am almost entirely recovered in that respect. I hope indeed that my
hearing may improve, but I scarcely think so, for attacks of this kind are
the most incurable of all. How sad my life must now be!--forced to shun all
that is most dear and precious to me, and to live with such miserable
egotists as ----, &c. I can with truth say that of all my friends
Lichnowsky [Prince Carl] is the most genuine. He last year settled 600
florins on me, which, together with the good sale of my works, enables me
to live free from care as to my maintenance. All that I now write I can
dispose of five times over, and be well paid into the bargain. I have been
writing a good deal latterly, and as I hear that you have ordered some
pianos from ----, I will send you some of my compositions in the
packing-case of one of these instruments, by which means they will not cost
you so much.

To my great comfort, a person has returned here with whom I can enjoy the
pleasures of society and disinterested friendship,--one of the friends of
my youth [Stephan von Breuning]. I have often spoken to him of you, and
told him that since I left my fatherland, you are one of those to whom my
heart specially clings. Z. [Zmeskall?] does not seem quite to please him;
he is, and always will be, too weak for true friendship, and I look on him
and ---- as mere instruments on which I play as I please, but never can
they bear noble testimony to my inner and outward energies, or feel true
sympathy with me; I value them only in so far as their services deserve.
Oh! how happy should I now be, had I my full sense of hearing; I would then
hasten to you; whereas, as it is, I must withdraw from everything. My best
years will thus pass away, without effecting what my talents and powers
might have enabled me to perform. How melancholy is the resignation in
which I must take refuge! I had determined to rise superior to all this,
but how is it possible? If in the course of six months my malady be
pronounced incurable then, Amenda! I shall appeal to you to leave all else
and come to me, when I intend to travel (my affliction is less distressing
when playing and composing, and most so in intercourse with others), and
you must be my companion. I have a conviction that good fortune will not
forsake me, for to what may I not at present aspire? Since you were here I
have written everything except operas and church music. You will not, I
know, refuse my petition; you will help your friend to bear his burden and
his calamity. I have also very much perfected my pianoforte playing, and I
hope that a journey of this kind may possibly contribute to your own
success in life, and you would thenceforth always remain with me. I duly
received all your letters, and though I did not reply to them, you were
constantly present with me, and my heart beats as tenderly as ever for you.
I beg you will keep the fact of my deafness a profound secret, and not
confide it to any human being. Write to me frequently; your letters,
however short, console and cheer me; so I shall soon hope to hear from you.

Do not give your quartet to any one [in F, Op. 18, No. 1], as I have
altered it very much, having only now succeeded in writing quartets
properly; this you will at once perceive when you receive it. Now,
farewell, my dear kind friend! If by any chance I can serve you here, I
need not say that you have only to command me.

Your faithful and truly attached




Vienna, June 29, 1800.


How much I thank you for your remembrance of me, little as I deserve it, or
have sought to deserve it; and yet you are so kind that you allow nothing,
not even my unpardonable neglect, to discourage you, always remaining the
same true, good, and faithful friend. That I can ever forget you or yours,
once so dear and precious to me, do not for a moment believe. There are
times when I find myself longing to see you again, and wishing that I could
go to stay with you. My father-land, that lovely region where I first saw
the light, is still as distinct and beauteous in my eyes as when I quitted
you; in short, I shall esteem the time when I once more see you, and again
greet Father Rhine, as one of the happiest periods of my life. When this
may be I cannot yet tell; but at all events I may say that you shall not
see me again till I have become eminent, not only as an artist, but better
and more perfect as a man; and if the condition of our father-land be then
more prosperous, my art shall be entirely devoted to the benefit of the
poor. Oh, blissful moment!--how happy do I esteem myself that I can
expedite it and bring it to pass!

You desire to know something of my position; well! it is by no means bad.
However incredible it may appear, I must tell you that Lichnowsky has been,
and still is, my warmest friend (slight dissensions occurred occasionally
between us, and yet they only served to strengthen our friendship). He
settled on me last year the sum of 600 florins, for which I am to draw on
him till I can procure some suitable situation. My compositions are very
profitable, and I may really say that I have almost more commissions than
it is possible for me to execute. I can have six or seven publishers or
more for every piece, if I choose; they no longer bargain with me--I
demand, and they pay--so you see this is a very good thing. For instance, I
have a friend in distress, and my purse does not admit of my assisting him
at once; but I have only to sit down and write, and in a short time he is
relieved. I am also become more economical than formerly. If I finally
settle here, I don't doubt I shall be able to secure a particular day every
year for a concert, of which I have already given several. That malicious
demon, however, bad health, has been a stumbling-block in my path; my
hearing during the last three years has become gradually worse. The chief
cause of this infirmity proceeds from the state of my digestive organs,
which, as you know, were formerly bad enough, but have latterly become much
worse, and being constantly afflicted with diarrhoea, has brought on
extreme weakness. Frank [Director of the General Hospital] strove to
restore the tone of my digestion by tonics, and my hearing by oil of
almonds; but alas! these did me no good whatever; my hearing became worse,
and my digestion continued in its former plight. This went on till the
autumn of last year, when I was often reduced to utter despair. Then some
medical _asinus_ recommended me cold baths, but a more judicious doctor the
tepid ones of the Danube, which did wonders for me; my digestion improved,
but my hearing remained the same, or in fact rather got worse. I did indeed
pass a miserable winter; I suffered from most dreadful spasms, and sank
back into my former condition. Thus it went on till about a month ago, when
I consulted Vering [an army surgeon], under the belief that my maladies
required surgical advice; besides, I had every confidence in him. He
succeeded in almost entirely checking the violent diarrhoea, and ordered me
the tepid baths of the Danube, into which I pour some strengthening
mixture. He gave me no medicine, except some digestive pills four days ago,
and a lotion for my ears. I certainly do feel better and stronger, but my
ears are buzzing and ringing perpetually, day and night. I can with truth
say that my life is very wretched; for nearly two years past I have avoided
all society, because I find it impossible to say to people, _I am deaf!_ In
any other profession this might be more tolerable, but in mine such a
condition is truly frightful. Besides, what would my enemies say to
this?--and they are not few in number.

To give you some idea of my extraordinary deafness, I must tell you that in
the theatre I am obliged to lean close up against the orchestra in order to
understand the actors, and when a little way off I hear none of the high
notes of instruments or singers. It is most astonishing that in
conversation some people never seem to observe this; being subject to fits
of absence, they attribute it to that cause. I often can scarcely hear a
person if speaking low; I can distinguish the tones, but not the words, and
yet I feel it intolerable if any one shouts to me. Heaven alone knows how
it is to end! Vering declares that I shall certainly improve, even if I be
not entirely restored. How often have I cursed my existence! Plutarch led
me to resignation. I shall strive if possible to set Fate at defiance,
although there must be moments in my life when I cannot fail to be the most
unhappy of God's creatures. I entreat you to say nothing of my affliction
to any one, not even to Lorchen [see Nos. 4 and 5]. I confide the secret to
you alone, and entreat you some day to correspond with Vering on the
subject. If I continue in the same state, I shall come to you in the
ensuing spring, when you must engage a house for me somewhere in the
country, amid beautiful scenery, and I shall then become a rustic for a
year, which may perhaps effect a change. Resignation!--what a miserable
refuge! and yet it is my sole remaining one. You will forgive my thus
appealing to your kindly sympathies at a time when your own position is sad
enough. Stephan Breuning is here, and we are together almost every day; it
does me so much good to revive old feelings! He has really become a capital
good fellow, not devoid of talent, and his heart, like that of us all,
pretty much in the right place. [See No. 13.]

I have very charming rooms at present, adjoining the Bastei [the ramparts],
and peculiarly valuable to me on account of my health [at Baron
Pasqualati's]. I do really think I shall be able to arrange that Breuning
shall come to me. You shall have your Antiochus [a picture], and plenty of
my music besides--if, indeed, it will not cost you too much. Your love of
art does honestly rejoice me. Only say how it is to be done, and I will
send you all my works, which now amount to a considerable number, and are
daily increasing. I beg you will let me have my grandfather's portrait as
soon as possible by the post, in return for which I send you that of his
grandson, your loving and attached Beethoven. It has been brought out here
by Artaria, who, as well as many other publishers, has often urged this on
me. I intend soon to write to Stoffeln [Christoph von Breuning], and
plainly admonish him about his surly humor. I mean to sound in his ears our
old friendship, and to insist on his promising me not to annoy you further
in your sad circumstances. I will also write to the amiable Lorchen. Never
have I forgotten one of you, my kind friends, though you did not hear from
me; but you know well that writing never was my _forte_, even my best
friends having received no letters from me for years. I live wholly in my
music, and scarcely is one work finished when another is begun; indeed, I
am now often at work on three or four things at the same time. Do write to
me frequently, and I will strive to find time to write to you also. Give my
remembrances to all, especially to the kind Frau Hofraethin [von Breuning],
and say to her that I am still subject to an occasional _raptus_. As for
K----, I am not at all surprised at the change in her: Fortune rolls like a
ball, and does not always stop before the best and noblest. As to Ries
[Court musician in Bonn], to whom pray cordially remember me, I must say
one word. I will write to you more particularly about his son [Ferdinand],
although I believe that he would be more likely to succeed in Paris than in
Vienna, which is already overstocked, and where even those of the highest
merit find it a hard matter to maintain themselves. By next autumn or
winter, I shall be able to see what can be done for him, because then all
the world returns to town. Farewell, my kind, faithful Wegeler! Rest
assured of the love and friendship of your




Morning, July 6, 1800.


Only a few words to-day, written with a pencil (your own). My residence
cannot be settled till to-morrow. What a tiresome loss of time! Why this
deep grief when necessity compels?--can our love exist without sacrifices,
and by refraining from desiring all things? Can you alter the fact that you
are not wholly mine, nor I wholly yours? Ah! contemplate the beauties of
Nature, and reconcile your spirit to the inevitable. Love demands all, and
has a right to do so, and thus it is _I feel towards you_ and _you towards
me_; but you do not sufficiently remember that I must live both _for you_
and _for myself_. Were we wholly united, you would feel this sorrow as
little as I should. My journey was terrible. I did not arrive here till
four o'clock yesterday morning, as no horses were to be had. The drivers
chose another route; but what a dreadful one it was! At the last stage I
was warned not to travel through the night, and to beware of a certain
wood, but this only incited me to go forward, and I was wrong. The carriage
broke down, owing to the execrable roads, mere deep rough country lanes,
and had it not been for the postilions I must have been left by the
wayside. Esterhazy, travelling the usual road, had the same fate with eight
horses, whereas I had only four. Still I felt a certain degree of pleasure,
which I invariably do when I have happily surmounted any difficulty. But I
must now pass from the outer to the inner man. We shall, I trust, soon meet
again; to-day I cannot impart to you all the reflections I have made,
during the last few days, on my life; were our hearts closely united
forever, none of these would occur to me. My heart is overflowing with all
I have to say to you. Ah! there are moments when I find that speech is
actually nothing. Take courage! Continue to be ever my true and only love,
my all! as I am yours. The gods must ordain what is further to be and shall

Your faithful


Monday Evening, July 6.

You grieve! dearest of all beings! I have just heard that the letters must
be sent off very early. Mondays and Thursdays are the only days when the
post goes to K. from here. You grieve! Ah! where I am, there you are ever
with me; how earnestly shall I strive to pass my life with you, and what a
life will it be!!! Whereas now!! without you!! and persecuted by the
kindness of others, which I neither deserve nor try to deserve! The
servility of man towards his fellow-man pains me, and when I regard myself
as a component part of the universe, what am I, what is he who is called
the greatest?--and yet herein are displayed the godlike feelings of
humanity!--I weep in thinking that you will receive no intelligence from me
till probably Saturday. However dearly you may love me, I love you more
fondly still. Never conceal your feelings from me. Good-night! As a patient
at these baths, I must now go to rest [a few words are here effaced by
Beethoven himself]. Oh, heavens! so near, and yet so far! Is not our love a
truly celestial mansion, but firm as the vault of heaven itself?

July 7.


Even before I rise, my thoughts throng to you, my immortal
beloved!--sometimes full of joy, and yet again sad, waiting to see whether
Fate will hear us. I must live either wholly with you, or not at all.
Indeed I have resolved to wander far from you [see No. 13] till the moment
arrives when I can fly into your arms, and feel that they are my home, and
send forth my soul in unison with yours into the realm of spirits. Alas! it
must be so! You will take courage, for you know my fidelity. Never can
another possess my heart--never, never! Oh, heavens! Why must I fly from
her I so fondly love? and yet my existence in W. was as miserable as here.
Your love made me the most happy and yet the most unhappy of men. At my
age, life requires a uniform equality; can this be found in our mutual
relations? My angel! I have this moment heard that the post goes every day,
so I must conclude, that you may get this letter the sooner. Be calm! for
we can only attain our object of living together by the calm contemplation
of our existence. Continue to love me. Yesterday, to-day, what longings for
you, what tears for you! for you! for you! my life! my all! Farewell! Oh!
love me forever, and never doubt the faithful heart of your lover, L.

Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever each other's.

[Footnote 1: These letters to his "immortal beloved," to whom the C sharp
minor Sonata is dedicated, appear here for the first time in their
integrity, in accordance with the originals written in pencil on fine
notepaper, and given in Schindler's _Beethoven's Nachlass_. There has been
much discussion about the date. It is certified, in the first place, in the
church register which Alex. Thayer saw in Vienna, that Giulietta was
married to Count Gallenberg in 1801; and in the next place, the 6th of July
falls on a Monday in 1800. The other reasons which induce me decidedly to
fix this latter year as the date of the letter, I mean to give at full
length in the second volume of _Beethoven's Biography_. I may also state
that Beethoven was at baths in Hungary at that time. Whether the K---- in
the second letter means Komorn, I cannot tell.]



Vienna, August 4, 1800.


You will receive with this one of my compositions published some years
since, and yet, to my shame, you probably have never heard of it. I cannot
attempt to excuse myself, or to explain why I dedicated a work to you which
came direct from my heart, but never acquainted you with its existence,
unless indeed in this way, that at first I did not know where you lived,
and partly also from diffidence, which led me to think I might have been
premature in dedicating a work to you before ascertaining that you approved
of it. Indeed, even now I send you "Adelaide" with a feeling of timidity.
You know yourself what changes the lapse of some years brings forth in an
artist who continues to make progress; the greater the advances we make in
art, the less are we satisfied with our works of an earlier date. My most
ardent wish will be fulfilled if you are not dissatisfied with the manner
in which I have set your heavenly "Adelaide" to music, and are incited by
it soon to compose a similar poem; and if you do not consider my request
too indiscreet, I would ask you to send it to me forthwith, that I may
exert all my energies to approach your lovely poetry in merit. Pray regard
the dedication as a token of the pleasure which your "Adelaide" conferred
on me, as well as of the appreciation and intense delight your poetry
always has inspired, and _always will inspire in me_.

When playing "Adelaide," sometimes recall

Your sincere admirer,




October, 1800.


At the second announcement of our concert, you must remind your husband
that the public should be made acquainted with the names of those whose
talents are to contribute to this concert. Such is the custom here; and
indeed, were it not so, what is there to attract a larger audience? which
is after all our chief object. Punto [the celebrated horn-player, for whom
Beethoven wrote Sonata 17] is not a little indignant about the omission,
and I must say he has reason to be so; but even before seeing him it was my
intention to have reminded you of this, for I can only explain the mistake
by great haste or great forgetfulness. Be so good, then, dear lady, as to
attend to my hint; otherwise you will certainly expose yourself to _many
annoyances_. Being at last convinced in my own mind, and by others, that I
shall not be quite superfluous in this concert, I know that not only I, but
also Punto, Simoni [a tenorist], and Galvani will demand that the public
should be apprised of our zeal for this charitable object; otherwise we
must all conclude that we are not wanted.





Vienna, Nov. 16, 1800.


I thank you for this fresh proof of your interest in me, especially as I so
little deserve it. You wish to know how I am, and what remedies I use.
Unwilling as I always feel to discuss this subject, still I feel less
reluctant to do so with you than with any other person. For some months
past Vering has ordered me to apply blisters on both arms, of a particular
kind of bark, with which you are probably acquainted,--a disagreeable
remedy, independent of the pain, as it deprives me of the free use of my
arms for a couple of days at a time, till the blisters have drawn
sufficiently. The ringing and buzzing in my ears have certainly rather
decreased, particularly in the left ear, in which the malady first
commenced, but my hearing is not at all improved; in fact I fear that it is
become rather worse. My health is better, and after using the tepid baths
for a time, I feel pretty well for eight or ten days. I seldom take tonics,
but I have begun applications of herbs, according to your advice. Vering
will not hear of plunge baths, but I am much dissatisfied with him; he is
neither so attentive nor so indulgent as he ought to be to such a malady;
if I did not go to him, which is no easy matter, I should never see him at
all. What is your opinion of Schmidt [an army surgeon]? I am unwilling to
make any change, but it seems to me that Vering is too much of a
practitioner to acquire new ideas by reading. On this point Schmidt appears
to be a very different man, and would probably be less negligent with
regard to my case. I hear wonders of galvanism; what do you say to it? A
physician told me that he knew a deaf and dumb child whose hearing was
restored by it (in Berlin), and likewise a man who had been deaf for seven
years, and recovered his hearing. I am told that your friend Schmidt is at
this moment making experiments on the subject.

I am now leading a somewhat more agreeable life, as of late I have been
associating more with other people. You could scarcely believe what a sad
and dreary life mine has been for the last two years; my defective hearing
everywhere pursuing me like a spectre, making me fly from every one, and
appear a misanthrope; and yet no one is in reality less so! This change has
been wrought by a lovely fascinating girl [undoubtedly Giulietta], who
loves me and whom I love. I have once more had some blissful moments during
the last two years, and it is the first time I ever felt that marriage
could make me happy. Unluckily, she is not in my rank of life, and indeed
at this moment I can marry no one; I must first bestir myself actively in
the world. Had it not been for my deafness, I would have travelled half
round the globe ere now, and this I must still do. For me there is no
pleasure so great as to promote and to pursue my art.

Do not suppose that I could be happy with you. What indeed could make me
happier? Your very solicitude would distress me; I should read your
compassion every moment in your countenance, which would make me only still
more unhappy. What were my thoughts amid the glorious scenery of my
father-land? The hope alone of a happier future, which would have been mine
but for this affliction! Oh! I could span the world were I only free from
this! I feel that my youth is only now commencing. Have I not always been
an infirm creature? For some time past my bodily strength has been
increasing, and it is the same with my mental powers. I feel, though I
cannot describe it, that I daily approach the object I have in view, in
which alone can your Beethoven live. No rest for him!--I know of none but
in sleep, and I do grudge being obliged to sacrifice more time to it than
formerly.[1] Were I only half cured of my malady, then I would come to you,
and, as a more perfect and mature man, renew our old friendship.

You should then see me as happy as I am ever destined to be here below--not
unhappy. No! that I could not endure; I will boldly meet my fate, never
shall it succeed in crushing me. Oh! it is so glorious to live one's life a
thousand times over! I feel that I am no longer made for a quiet existence.
You will write to me as soon as possible? Pray try to prevail on Steffen
[von Breuning] to seek an appointment from the Teutonic Order somewhere.
Life here is too harassing for his health; besides, he is so isolated that
I do not see how he is ever to get on. You know the kind of existence here.
I do not take it upon myself to say that society would dispel his
lassitude, but he cannot be persuaded to go anywhere. A short time since, I
had some music in my house, but our friend Steffen stayed away. Do
recommend him to be more calm and self-possessed, which I have in vain
tried to effect; otherwise he can neither enjoy health nor happiness. Tell
me in your next letter whether you care about my sending you a large
selection of music; you can indeed dispose of what you do not want, and
thus repay the expense of the carriage, and have my portrait into the
bargain. Say all that is kind and amiable from me to Lorchen, and also to
mamma and Christoph. You still have some regard for me? Always rely on the
love as well as the friendship of your


[Footnote 1: "Too much sleep is hurtful" is marked by a thick score in the
Odyssey (45, 393) by Beethoven's hand. See Schindler's _Beethoven's



Vienna, Dec. 15, 1800.


I have often intended to answer your proposals, but am frightfully lazy
about all correspondence; so it is usually a good while before I can make
up my mind to write dry letters instead of music. I have, however, at last
forced myself to answer your application. _Pro primo_, I must tell you how
much I regret that you, my much-loved brother in the science of music, did
not give me some hint, so that I might have offered you my quartets, as
well as many other things that I have now disposed of. But if you are as
conscientious, my dear brother, as many other publishers, who grind to
death us poor composers, you will know pretty well how to derive ample
profit when the works appear. I now briefly state what you can have from
me. 1st. A Septet, _per il violino, viola, violoncello, contra-basso,
clarinetto, corno, fagotto;--tutti obbligati_ (I can write nothing that is
not _obbligato_, having come into the world with an _obbligato_
accompaniment!) This Septet pleases very much. For more general use it
might be arranged for one more _violino, viola_, and _violoncello_, instead
of the three wind-instruments, _fagotto, clarinetto_, and _corno_.[2] 2d. A
Grand Symphony with full orchestra [the 1st]. 3rd. A pianoforte Concerto
[Op. 19], which I by no means assert to be one of my best, any more than
the one Mollo is to publish here [Op. 15], (this is for the benefit of the
Leipzig critics!) because _I reserve the best for myself_ till I set off on
my travels; still the work will not disgrace you to publish. 4th. A Grand
Solo Sonata [Op. 22]. These are all I can part with at this moment; a
little later you can have a quintet for stringed instruments, and probably
some quartets also, and other pieces that I have not at present beside me.
In your answer you can yourself fix the prices; and as you are neither an
_Italian_ nor a _Jew_, nor am I either, we shall no doubt quickly agree.
Farewell, and rest assured,

My dear brother in art, of the esteem of your


[Footnote 1: The letters to Hofmeister, formerly of Vienna, who conducted
the correspondence with Beethoven in the name of the firm of "Hofmeister &
Kuehnel, Bureau de Musique," are given here as they first appeared in 1837
in the _Neue Zeitschrift fuer Musik_. On applying to the present
representative of that firm, I was told that those who now possess these
letters decline giving them out of their own hands, and that no copyist can
be found able to decipher or transcribe them correctly.]

[Footnote 2: This last phrase is not in the copy before me, but in Marx's
_Biography_, who appears to have seen the original.]



Vienna, Jan. 15 (or thereabouts), 1801.

I read your letter, dear brother and friend, with much pleasure, and I
thank you for your good opinion of me and of my works, and hope I may
continue to deserve it. I also beg you to present all due thanks to Herr K.
[Kuehnel] for his politeness and friendship towards me. I, on my part,
rejoice in your undertakings, and am glad that when works of art do turn
out profitable, they fall to the share of true artists, rather than to that
of mere tradesmen.

Your intention to publish Sebastian Bach's works really gladdens my heart,
which beats with devotion for the lofty and grand productions of this our
father of the science of harmony, and I trust I shall soon see them appear.
I hope when golden peace is proclaimed, and your subscription list opened,
to procure you many subscribers here.[1]

With regard to our own transactions, as you wish to know my proposals, they
are as follows. I offer you at present the following works:--The Septet
(which I already wrote to you about), 20 ducats; Symphony, 20 ducats;
Concerto, 10 ducats; Grand Solo Sonata, _allegro, adagio, minuetto, rondo_,
20 ducats. This Sonata [Op. 22] is well up to the mark, my dear brother!

Now for explanations. You may perhaps be surprised that I make no
difference of price between the sonata, septet, and symphony. I do so
because I find that a septet or a symphony has not so great a sale as a
sonata, though a symphony ought unquestionably to be of the most value.
(N.B. The septet consists of a short introductory _adagio_, an _allegro,
adagio, minuetto, andante_, with variations, _minuetto_, and another short
_adagio_ preceding a _presto_.) I only ask ten ducats for the concerto,
for, as I already wrote to you, I do not consider it one of my best. I
cannot think that, taken as a whole, you will consider these prices
exorbitant; at least, I have endeavored to make them as moderate as
possible for you.

With regard to the banker's draft, as you give me my choice, I beg you will
make it payable by Germueller or Schueller. The entire sum for the four works
will amount to 70 ducats; I understand no currency but Vienna ducats, so
how many dollars in gold they make in your money is no affair of mine, for
really I am a very bad man of business and accountant. Now this
_troublesome_ business is concluded;--I call it so, heartily wishing that
it could be otherwise here below! There ought to be only one grand _depot_
of art in the world, to which the artist might repair with his works, and
on presenting them receive what he required; but as it now is, one must be
half a tradesman besides--and how is this to be endured? Good heavens! I
may well call it _troublesome_!

As for the Leipzig oxen,[2] let them talk!--they certainly will make no man
immortal by their prating, and as little can they deprive of immortality
those whom Apollo destines to attain it.

Now may Heaven preserve you and your colleagues! I have been unwell for
some time; so it is rather difficult for me at present to write even music,
much more letters. I trust we shall have frequent opportunities to assure
each other how truly you are my friend, and I yours.

I hope for a speedy answer. Adieu!


[Footnote 1: I have at this moment in my hands this edition of Bach, bound
in one thick volume, together with the first part of Naegeli's edition of
the _Wohltemperirtes Clavier_, also three books of exercises (D, G, and C
minor), the _Toccata in D Minor_, and _Twice Fifteen Inventions_.]

[Footnote 2: It is thus that Schindler supplies the gap. It is probably an
allusion to the _Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung_, founded about three
years previously.]



Vienna, April 22, 1801.

You have indeed too good cause to complain not a little of me. My excuse is
that I have been ill, and in addition had so much to do, that I could
scarcely even think of what I was to send you. Moreover, the only thing in
me that resembles a genius is, that my papers are never in very good order,
and yet no one but myself can succeed in arranging them. For instance, in
the score of the concerto, the piano part, according to my usual custom,
was not yet written down; so, owing to my hurry, you will receive it in my
own very illegible writing. In order that the works may follow as nearly as
possible in their proper order, I have marked the numbers to be placed on
each, as follows:--

Solo Sonata, Op. 22.
Symphony, Op. 21.
Septet, Op. 20.
Concerto, Op. 19.

I will send you their various titles shortly.

Put me down as a subscriber to Sebastian Bach's works [see Letter 20], and
also Prince Lichnowsky. The arrangement of Mozart's Sonatas as quartets
will do you much credit, and no doubt be profitable also. I wish I could
contribute more to the promotion of such an undertaking, but I am an
irregular man, and too apt, even with the best intentions, to forget
everything; I have, however, mentioned the matter to various people, and I
everywhere find them well disposed towards it. It would be a good thing if
you would arrange the septet you are about to publish as a quintet, with a
flute part, for instance; this would be an advantage to amateurs of the
flute, who have already importuned me on the subject, and who would swarm
round it like insects and banquet on it.

Now to tell you something of myself. I have written a ballet
["Prometheus"], in which the ballet-master has not done his part so well as
might be. The F---- von L---- has also bestowed on us a production which by
no means corresponds with the ideas of his genius conveyed by the newspaper
reports. F---- seems to have taken Herr M---- (Wenzel Mueller?) as his ideal
at the Kusperle, yet without even rising to his level. Such are the fine
prospects before us poor people who strive to struggle upwards! My dear
friend, pray lose no time in bringing the work before the notice of the
public, and write to me soon, that I may know whether by my delay I have
entirely forfeited your confidence for the future. Say all that is civil
and kind to your partner, Kuehnel. Everything shall henceforth be sent
finished, and in quick succession. So now farewell, and continue your
regards for

Your friend and brother,




Vienna, June, 1801.

I am rather surprised at the communication you have desired your business
agent here to make to me; I may well feel offended at your believing me
capable of so mean a trick. It would have been a very different thing had I
sold my works to rapacious shopkeepers, and then secretly made another good
speculation; but, from _one artist to another_, it is rather a strong
measure to suspect me of such a proceeding! The whole thing seems to be
either a device to put me to the test, or a mere suspicion. In any event I
may tell you that before you received the septet from me I had sent it to
Mr. Salomon in London (to be played at his own concert, which I did solely
from friendship), with the express injunction to beware of its getting into
other hands, as it was my intention to have it engraved in Germany, and, if
you choose, you can apply to him for the confirmation of this. But to give
you a further proof of my integrity, "I herewith give you the faithful
assurance that I have neither sold the septet, the symphony, the concerto,
nor the sonata to any one but to Messrs. Hofmeister and Kuehnel, and that
they may consider them to be their own exclusive property. And to this I
pledge my honor." You may make what use you please of this guarantee.

Moreover, I believe Salomon to be as incapable of the baseness of engraving
the septet as I am of selling it to him. I was so scrupulous in the matter,
that when applied to by various publishers to sanction a pianoforte
arrangement of the septet, I at once declined, though I do not even know
whether you proposed making use of it in this way. Here follow the
long-promised titles of the works. There will no doubt be a good deal to
alter and to amend in them; but this I leave to you. I shall soon expect a
letter from you, and, I hope, the works likewise, which I wish to see
engraved, as others have appeared, and are about to appear, in connection
with these numbers. I look on your statement as founded on mere rumors,
which you have believed with too much facility, or based entirely on
supposition, induced by having perchance heard that I had sent the work to
Salomon; I cannot, therefore, but feel some coolness towards such a
credulous friend, though I still subscribe myself

Your friend,






Je sens parfaitement bien, que la Celebrite de Votre nom ainsi que l'amitie
dont Vous m'honorez, exigeroient de moi la dedicace d'un bien plus
important ouvrage. La seule chose qui a pu me determiner a Vous offrir
celui-ci de preference, c'est qu'il me paroit d'une execution plus facile
et par la meme plus propre a contribuer a la Satisfaction dont Vous
jouissez dans l'aimable Cercle de Votre Famille.--C'est surtout, lorsque
les heureux talents d'une fille cherie se seront developpes davantage, que
je me flatte de voir ce but atteint. Heureux si j'y ai reussi et si dans
cette faible marque de ma haute estime et de ma gratitude Vous reconnoissez
toute la vivacite et la cordialite de mes sentiments.


[Footnote 1: Grand Trio, Op. 38.]





I send you herewith the four parts corrected by me; please compare the
others already written out with these. I also enclose a letter to Count
Browne. I have told him that he must make an advance to you of fifty
ducats, to enable you to get your outfit. This is absolutely necessary, so
it cannot offend him; for after being equipped, you are to go with him to
Baden on the Monday of the ensuing week. I must, however, reproach you for
not having had recourse to me long ago. Am I not your true friend? Why did
you conceal your necessities from me? No friend of mine shall ever be in
need, so long as I have anything myself. I would already have sent you a
small sum, did I not rely on Browne; if he fails us, then apply at once to


[Footnote 1: Ries names 1801 as the date of this letter, and it was no
doubt during that summer that Count Browne was in Baden. Ries's father had
assisted the Beethoven family in every way in his power at the time of the
mother's death.]



Vienna, April 8, 1802.

Do you mean to go post-haste to the devil, gentlemen, by proposing that I
should write _such_ a _sonata_? During the revolutionary fever, a thing of
the kind might have been appropriate, but now, when everything is falling
again into the beaten track, and Bonaparte has concluded a _Concordat_ with
the Pope--such a sonata as this? If it were a _missa pro Sancta Maria a tre
voci_, or a _vesper_, &c., then I would at once take up my pen and write a
_Credo in unum_, in gigantic semibreves. But, good heavens! such a sonata,
in this fresh dawning Christian epoch. No, no!--it won't do, and I will
have none of it.

Now for my answer in quickest _tempo_. The lady can have a sonata from me,
and I am willing to adopt the general outlines of her plan in an
_aesthetical_ point of view, without adhering to the keys named. The price
to be five ducats; for this sum she can keep the work a year for her own
amusement, without either of us being entitled to publish it. After the
lapse of a year, the sonata to revert to me--that is, I can and will then
publish it, when, if she considers it any distinction, she may request me
to dedicate it to her.

I now, gentlemen, commend you to the grace of God. My Sonata [Op. 22] is
well engraved, but you have been a fine time about it! I hope you will
usher my Septet into the world a little quicker, as the P---- is waiting
for it, and you know the Empress has it; and when there are in this
imperial city people like ----, I cannot be answerable for the result; so
lose no time!

Herr ---- [Mollo?] has lately published my Quartets [Op. 18] full of faults
and _errata_, both large and small, which swarm in them like fish in the
sea; that is, they are innumerable. _Questo e un piacere per un
autore_--this is what I call engraving [_stechen_, stinging] with a
vengeance.[1] In truth, my skin is a mass of punctures and scratches from
this fine edition of my Quartets! Now farewell, and think of me as I do of
you. Till death, your faithful


[Footnote 1: In reference to the musical piracy at that time very prevalent
in Austria.]



Heiligenstadt, Oct. 6, 1802.

Oh! ye who think or declare me to be hostile, morose, and misanthropical,
how unjust you are, and how little you know the secret cause of what
appears thus to you! My heart and mind were ever from childhood prone to
the most tender feelings of affection, and I was always disposed to
accomplish something great. But you must remember that six years ago I was
attacked by an incurable malady, aggravated by unskilful physicians,
deluded from year to year, too, by the hope of relief, and at length forced
to the conviction of a _lasting affliction_ (the cure of which may go on
for years, and perhaps after all prove impracticable).

Born with a passionate and excitable temperament, keenly susceptible to the
pleasures of society, I was yet obliged early in life to isolate myself,
and to pass my existence in solitude. If I at any time resolved to surmount
all this, oh! how cruelly was I again repelled by the experience, sadder
than ever, of my defective hearing!--and yet I found it impossible to say
to others: Speak louder; shout! for I am deaf! Alas! how could I proclaim
the deficiency of a sense which ought to have been more perfect with me
than with other men,--a sense which I once possessed in the highest
perfection, to an extent, indeed, that few of my profession ever enjoyed!
Alas, I cannot do this! Forgive me therefore when you see me withdraw from
you with whom I would so gladly mingle. My misfortune is doubly severe from
causing me to be misunderstood. No longer can I enjoy recreation in social
intercourse, refined conversation, or mutual outpourings of thought.
Completely isolated, I only enter society when compelled to do so. I must
live like an exile. In company I am assailed by the most painful
apprehensions, from the dread of being exposed to the risk of my condition
being observed. It was the same during the last six months I spent in the
country. My intelligent physician recommended me to spare my hearing as
much as possible, which was quite in accordance with my present
disposition, though sometimes, tempted by my natural inclination for
society, I allowed myself to be beguiled into it. But what humiliation when
any one beside me heard a flute in the far distance, while I heard
_nothing_, or when others heard _a shepherd singing_, and I still heard
_nothing_! Such things brought me to the verge of desperation, and wellnigh
caused me to put an end to my life. _Art! art_ alone, deterred me. Ah! how
could I possibly quit the world before bringing forth all that I felt it
was my vocation to produce?[2] And thus I spared this miserable life--so
utterly miserable that any sudden change may reduce me at any moment from
my best condition into the worst. It is decreed that I must now choose
_Patience_ for my guide! This I have done. I hope the resolve will not fail
me, steadfastly to persevere till it may please the inexorable Fates to cut
the thread of my life. Perhaps I may get better, perhaps not. I am prepared
for either. Constrained to become a philosopher in my twenty-eighth
year![3] This is no slight trial, and more severe on an artist than on any
one else. God looks into my heart, He searches it, and knows that love for
man and feelings of benevolence have their abode there! Oh! ye who may one
day read this, think that you have done me injustice, and let any one
similarly afflicted be consoled, by finding one like himself, who, in
defiance of all the obstacles of Nature, has done all in his power to be
included in the ranks of estimable artists and men. My brothers Carl and
Johann, as soon as I am no more, if Professor Schmidt [see Nos. 18 and 23]
be still alive, beg him in my name to describe my malady, and to add these
pages to the analysis of my disease, that at least, so far as possible, the
world may be reconciled to me after my death. I also hereby declare you
both heirs of my small fortune (if so it may be called). Share it fairly,
agree together and assist each other. You know that anything you did to
give me pain has been long forgiven. I thank you, my brother Carl in
particular, for the attachment you have shown me of late. My wish is that
you may enjoy a happier life, and one more free from care, than mine has
been. Recommend _Virtue_ to your children; that alone, and not wealth, can
ensure happiness. I speak from experience. It was _Virtue_ alone which
sustained me in my misery; I have to thank her and Art for not having ended
my life by suicide. Farewell! Love each other. I gratefully thank all my
friends, especially Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmidt. I wish one of
you to keep Prince L----'s instruments; but I trust this will give rise to
no dissension between you. If you think it more beneficial, however, you
have only to dispose of them. How much I shall rejoice if I can serve you
even in the grave! So be it then! I joyfully hasten to meet Death. If he
comes before I have had the opportunity of developing all my artistic
powers, then, notwithstanding my cruel fate, he will come too early for me,
and I should wish for him at a more distant period; but even then I shall
be content, for his advent will release me from a state of endless
suffering. Come when he may, I shall meet him with courage. Farewell! Do
not quite forget me, even in death; I deserve this from you, because during
my life I so often thought of you, and wished to make you happy. Amen!


(_Written on the Outside._)

Thus, then, I take leave of you, and with sadness too. The fond hope I
brought with me here, of being to a certain degree cured, now utterly
forsakes me. As autumn leaves fall and wither, so are my hopes blighted.
Almost as I came, I depart. Even the lofty courage that so often animated
me in the lovely days of summer is gone forever. O Providence! vouchsafe me
one day of pure felicity! How long have I been estranged from the glad echo
of true joy! When! O my God! when shall I again feel it in the temple of
Nature and of man?--never? Ah! that would be too hard!


To be read and fulfilled after my death by my brothers Carl and Johann.

[Footnote 1: This beautiful letter I regret not to have seen in the
original, it being in the possession of the violin _virtuoso_ Ernst, in
London. I have adhered to the version given in the Leipzig _Allgemeine
Musikalische Zeitung_, Oct. 1827.]

[Footnote 2: A large portion of the _Eroica_ was written in the course of
this summer, but not completed till August, 1804.]

[Footnote 3: Beethoven did not at that time know in what year he was born.
See the subsequent letter of May 2, 1810. He was then far advanced in his
thirty-third year.]



November, 1802.

I owe it to the public and to myself to state that the two quintets in C
and E flat major--one of these (arranged from a symphony of mine) published
by Herr Mollo in Vienna, and the other (taken from my Septet, Op. 20) by
Herr Hofmeister in Leipzig--are not original quintets, but only versions of
the aforesaid works given by the publishers. Arrangements in these days (so
fruitful in--arrangements) an author will find it vain to contend against;
but we may at least justly demand that the fact should be mentioned in the
title-page, neither to injure the reputation of the author nor to deceive
the public. This notice is given to prevent anything of the kind in future.
I also beg to announce that shortly a new original quintet of my
composition, in C major, Op. 29, will appear at Breitkopf & Haertel's in




Summer of 1803.

You no doubt are aware that I am here. Go to Stein, and ask if he can send
me an instrument, on hire. I am afraid of bringing mine here. Come to me
this evening about seven o'clock. I lodge in Oberdoebling, on the left side
of the street, No. 4, going down the hill towards Heiligenstadt.



Vienna, Sept. 22, 1803.

I hereby declare all the works you have ordered to be your property. The
list of these shall be made out and sent to you with my signature, as the
proof of their being your own. I also agree to accept the sum of fifty
ducats for them. Are you satisfied?

Perhaps, instead of the variations with violoncello and violin,[1] I may
send you variations for the piano, arranged as a duet on a song of mine;
but Goethe's poetry must also be engraved, as I wrote these variations in
an album, and consider them better than the others. Are you satisfied?

The arrangements are not by me, though I have revised and much improved
various passages; but I do not wish you to say that I have arranged them,
for it would be false, and I have neither time nor patience to do so. Are
you satisfied?

Now farewell! I sincerely wish that all may go well with you. I would
gladly make you a present of all my works, if I could do so and still get
on in the world; but--remember most people are provided for, and know what
they have to live on, while, good heavens! where can an appointment be
found at the Imperial Court for such a _parvum talentum com ego_?

Your friend,


[Footnote 1: These are the six variations in D, on the air _Ich denke Dein_
written in 1800 in the album of the Countesses Josephine Deym and Therese
of Brunswick.]



November, 1803.

Herr Carl Zulehner, a piratical engraver in Mayence, has announced an
edition of my collected works for the pianoforte and also stringed
instruments. I consider it my duty publicly to inform all friends of music
that I have no share whatever in this edition.

I would never have in any way authorized any collection of my works (which,
moreover, I consider premature) without previously consulting the
publishers of single pieces, and ensuring that correctness in which
editions of my individual works are so deficient. I must also observe that
this illegal edition cannot be complete, as several new works of mine are
shortly to appear in Paris, and these Herr Zulehner, being a French
subject, dare not pirate. I intend to take another opportunity of
enumerating the details of the collection of my works to be brought out
under my own auspices and careful revision.





Be so good as to make out a list of the mistakes and send it at once to
Simrock, and say that the work must appear as soon as possible. I will send
him the Sonata [Op. 47] and the Concerto the day after to-morrow.


[Footnote 1: Ries relates that the three following notes refer to the
pianoforte Sonata, Op. 31, No. 1, carefully engraved by Naegeli in Zurich,
which Beethoven consequently sent forthwith to Simrock in Bonn, desiring
him to bring out "_une edition tres-correcte_" of the work. He also states
that Beethoven was residing in Heiligenstadt at the time the work was first
sent [see No. 26]. In Nottebohm's _Skizzenbuch von Beethoven_, he says (p.
43) that the first notice of the appearance of this sonata was on May 21st,
1803; but Simrock writes to me that the date of the document making over
the sonata to him is 1804.]



I must again ask you to undertake the disagreeable task of making a fair
copy of the errors in the Zurich Sonata. I have got your list of _errata_
"_auf der Wieden_."




The signs are wrongly marked, and many of the notes misplaced; so be
careful! or your labor will be vain. _Ch' a detto l' amato bene?_




May I beg you to be so obliging as to copy this _andante_ [in the Kreuzer
Sonata] for me, however indifferently? I must send it off to-morrow, and as
Heaven alone knows what its fate may then be, I wish to get it transcribed.
But I must have it back to-morrow about one o'clock. The cause of my
troubling you is that one of my copyists is already very much occupied with
various things of importance, and the other is ill.




Let the bearer of this, Herr Ries, have some easy duets, and, better still,
let him have them for nothing. Conduct yourself in accordance with the
reformed doctrines. Farewell!



[Footnote 1: Date unknown. Leidesdorf was also a music-seller.]



Baden, July 14, 1804.


If you can find me better lodgings, I shall be very glad. Tell my brothers
not to engage these at once; I have a great desire to get one in a
spacious, quiet square or on the Bastei. It it really inexcusable in my
brother not to have provided wine, as it is so beneficial and necessary to
me. I shall take care to be present at the rehearsal on Wednesday. I am not
pleased to hear that it is to be at Schuppanzigh's. He may well be grateful
to me if my impertinences make him thinner! Farewell, dear Ries! We have
bad weather here, and I am not safe from visitors; so I must take flight in
order to be alone.

Your true friend,




Baden, July, 1804.


As Breuning [see Nos. 13, 14, and 18] by his conduct has not scrupled to
display my character to you and the house-steward as that of a mean, petty,
base man, I beg you will convey my reply at once in person to Breuning. I
answer only one point, the first in his letter, and I do so solely because
it is the only mode of justifying myself in your eyes. Say also to him that
I had no intention of reproaching him on account of the delay of the notice


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