Correspondence of Wagner and Liszt, Volume 1
Francis Hueffer (translator)

Part 3 out of 6

to have another and more appropriate notice of my "Lohengrin"
inserted in the A.A.Z. It has, as I said before, the largest

How glad, on the other hand, was I to see your indications and
hints worked up into an intelligent sketch by a Frenchman who is
so much further removed from me. This has been done by Nerval, in
the feuilleton of the Presse. Many mistakes occur, but that does
not matter. The man has formed for himself from your utterances a
picture of me which at least indicates clearly and distinctly my
intention. The most terrible of all things is a German aesthetic

But to return once more to you. I should like almost for your
sake to gain a widespread reputation. You blow up a hundred
mines, and wherever I look I come upon you and your more than
friendly care for me; it is touching, and almost without example.
Remember me very kindly to Herr Raff, and thank him most
cordially in my name. Some of my friends thought it would have
been better if he had spoken of my "faults as a man" rather than
of my "faults as a subject;" but that, surely, does not matter,
and every one must have understood it in that sense. A better
intention to serve me I can look for in none except you.

To Genast I wrote a few days ago. This nasty bargaining about
twopence-halfpenny in the matter of cuts is repulsive to me; but
Genast remains a fine, brave fellow.

Behold, my paper is at an end, and I have done nothing but
gabble. I have many and more important things to write to you
about. Lord, forgive me! I am not in a mood for it today. I shall
soon write again. My best greetings to Zigesar. Truly this warm,
true heart does me much good. Farewell for today, noblest and
best of men.




October 2nd, 1850



You make me blush! without a blush I can scarcely read what you
are going to tell the world of me; and now you want me to
interpret it. Only if you earnestly desire it will I grant your
prayer, a prayer which flatters me too much to call it a
"prayer." Would that I could be of use to you! My last letter
must have appeared dissonant to you. I do not know what moved me
to speak bitterly of newspaper notices. One reason, however, I
may tell you: many things have determined me at last to speak in
a literary way once more. I am occupied with a work the title of
which is to be "The Essence of Opera." In it I mean to speak
clearly and definitely about opera as a type of art, and to
indicate as plainly as possible what should be done to it in
order to develop the hidden germs to full bloom. I should have
liked to dedicate this book to you, because in it I announce the
salvation and justification of the musician qua musician. I
should do this if I did not think it better not to drag you into
this address to the musical world. In that manner I shall
preserve greater liberty to you. The book therefore shall be a
surprise to you. As in this book I intend to explain my view of
the essence of the musical drama, I can find nothing more
annoying than to see the most contradictory opinions of me spread
amongst the public by witty litterateurs. The world must take me
for a muddle-headed and false priest if I preach the drama in
words while it is said of my works that musical confusion and
noise reign in them. But enough of this.

Your letter to B.'s mother was another noble thing of yours. Best

I once more go to battle with my deadly enemy the winter. I must
think a great deal of the preservation of my health, and before
the spring I cannot work at "Siegfried" with a will, but in the
summer it shall be ready. Let me soon hear something of your

One word more in confidence: at the end of this month I shall
have spent all my money; Zigesar has sent me less than you made
me hope. Towards the new year I again hope for some assistance
from Frau R. in D., but that also is uncertain. Can you--but how
shall I express it? If you have to do something beneath your or
my dignity, you cannot; that I know. The rest will be all right.
God bless you. I think the devil will not get hold of me just

Farewell, best of men. Send me your scores. Farewell, and remain
kind to me.



ZURICH, October 8th, 1850




Your kind letter has, as you may imagine, made a great
impression. I see, to my genuine joy, that I may count you
amongst the small number of the friends who by the weight of
their sympathy richly compensate me for the absence of popular
acclamation. That you have remained faithful to me is more
important to me than perhaps you know yourself. Accept my cordial
thanks for the friendship you have preserved for me.

You ask me about my "Wiland." I have more designs than I have the
power to execute. Therefore I want a helper, yea more than a
helper, an artistic bosom friend, who works in the same spirit,
and, I hope, better than I could work myself. I request you to
persuade Liszt to undertake the musical execution of "Wiland" in
my stead. The poem in its present condition, such as herewith I
send it to you, is the result of sorrowful and deeply emotional
enthusiasm, which has stirred me up to imaginings on which as an
artist I may, I think, congratulate myself. But it takes me back
to a time to which I do not want to be taken back. I cannot
finish the poem now, either in words or music. If later on I
could gain sufficient repose for the purpose, I should be afraid
of having cooled towards it. In consequence I have lately become
accustomed to the thought of giving up the poem altogether.

But if this "Wiland," when Liszt makes its first acquaintance,
should inspire him as I was once inspired by it, I ask him to
consider it as his property. The design is quite complete; all
that remains to be done is simple versification, which every
fairly skilful writer of verse might execute: Liszt will easily
find one. In the more important places, I have written the verses
myself. To do more is at present impossible to me; even the
copying out gave me much trouble.

I hope, dear madam, you will not think my poem unworthy of your
warm recommendation to the friend whom, as you tell me to my
great joy, you will soon make happy by calling your own.

With sincere thanks for your kindness, and with cordial esteem, I
remain, dear madam, Your obedient servant,


ZURICH, October 8th, 1850



I really do not know how to thank you; for the only equivalent I
could offer you would evidently be to send you a masterpiece in
exchange; and this kind of return is difficult to make even with
the best intention in the world. Allow me to look upon your
manuscript of Wiland as a sacred trust, which I shall hold at
your disposal till the time you reclaim it. My very numerous
engagements will prevent me from occupying myself with it for a
year or eighteen months; and if after that time you still think
that I am capable of undertaking the composition, we can easily
arrange the matter either verbally or by letter. Today I send you
by post a fair copy of my article on "Lohengrin." As this is the
only one I possess, I must ask you kindly to return it to me at
Eilsen (Buckeburg), where I shall spend the months of November
and December. I foresee the difficulties I shall have to
encounter in publishing through the Paris press an article so
extensive and so sincerely in praise of a German opera by a
German composer, in whose success no one has an interest, rather
the reverse. Nevertheless I do not absolutely despair of having
it inserted some day in some review, and consequently want the

If in the meantime you think my article worthy of publication in
Germany, I repeat the request already made that you undertake to
translate it freely, and improve it by completing it.

In the quotations it would naturally be better to reproduce
exactly the verses of your poem, and perhaps one might make the
comprehension of your work easier by adding two plates of music
type showing the five or six principal themes,

[Figure: musical example]

and two or three details of orchestration.

However, as regards both the translation and the publication, I
attach value to them only in so far as you approve; for this
article has been written solely with the intention of serving, as
far as in me lay, the great and beautiful cause of art with the
French public, such as it is in 1850. If you think that I have
not succeeded, I ask you not to hesitate for a moment in telling
me so frankly. In this, any more than in other things, you will
not find in me any stupid amour-propre, but only the very modest
and sincere desire to suit my words and actions to my sentiments.
I have just received a letter from Seghers, director of the Union
Musicale, Paris, who tells me that your Tannhauser overture will
be performed at the first concert of the Society (November 24th).
You may rely upon his zeal and intelligence in preparing a good

By the way, have you heard of an intended performance of
"Lohengrin" at Dresden? I do not know how far this Dresden
performance would benefit you in actual circumstances, while you
are forcibly prevented from looking after the rehearsals, etc.

Uhlig has probably told you that Tichatschek will study the part
of Lohengrin with him. Soon after my return Herr von Zigesar
intends to give the fourth performance, and for the fifth we
shall have Tichatschek.

I am really much obliged to you for taking interest in my
overtures, and must ask you to forgive me for not having thanked
you before; but the fact is, the greater part of my time is
occupied with other things than me and my works.

Unfortunately I possess only a single copy of "Prometheus" and
"Tasso," and of that I cannot dispose, as it belongs to the
theatre. If, as I am in hopes, next summer I can at last make a
trip to the Rhine, we must meet somewhere, possibly at Basle, and
then I shall unpack my sac de nuit, full of obscure scores.

In the meantime I am very happy to learn that you have not lost
hold of your "Siegfried," which is sure to be una gran bella
cosa, as the Italians say. I thank you for it in advance.

The day after tomorrow I start for Eilsen, where please address
me until further notice. Do not fail to return the manuscript of
my "Lohengrin" article, of which, if necessary, you might have a
copy made at Zurich. I shall want it between the 5th and l0th of

Once more be thanked cordially for your "Wiland," and rest
assured that, with or without the welded wings of genius, I
always remain

Your truly devoted friend,


WEYMAR, October 18th, 1850



Do not be angry with me because I am so late in answering your
last letter. I had to see to the return of the manuscript,
entrusted to me, and this I was unable to do sooner. Your letter
of October 22nd, together with the manuscript, did not reach me
here till November 8th, via Berlin. As you wanted your manuscript
back by November l0th, I must assume that some delay had taken
place which you had not foreseen. I return herewith the French
original, and in a few days I shall send the translation, which
by then will have received its proper form.

Dear friend, your article has impressed me in a grand, elevating,
stirring manner. That I have succeeded in thus acting upon you by
my artistic work, that you are inclined to devote no small part
of your extraordinary gift to opening, not only an external, but
an internal, path to my movement--this fills me with the deepest
and most joyous emotion. I feel as if in us two men had met who
had proceeded from the two most distant points in order to
penetrate to the core of art, and who now, in the joy of their
discovery, fraternally clasped hands. This joy alone enables me
to accept your admiring exclamations without bashfulness; for I
feel that when you praise my gifts and my achievements you
express thereby only your joy at having met me at the core of
art. Be thanked for the pleasure you have thus given me.

I shall say something more about the translation when I send it
to you, which, as I mentioned before, will be in a few days.

I have also read your feuilleton in the Journal des Debats. Your
restless energy in serving me I can only compare with the spirit
in which you do it. Indeed, dear, good Liszt, I owe it to you
that soon I shall be able once more to be entirely an artist. I
look upon this final resumption of my artistic plans to which I
now shall turn as one of the most decisive moments in my life.
Between the musical execution of my "Lohengrin" and that of my
"Siegfried" there lies for me a stormy, but, I feel convinced, a
fruitful, world. I had to abandon the entire life lying behind
me, to bring into full consciousness everything dawning in it, to
conquer any rising reflection by its own means--that is, by the
most thorough entering into its subject--in order to throw myself
once more with clear and cheerful consciousness into the
beautiful unconsciousness of artistic creation. The winter I
shall spend in completing this abandonment. I want to enter a new
world unburdened, free, and happy, bringing nothing with me but a
glad artistic conscience. My work on "The Essence of Opera," the
last fruit of my contemplation, takes larger dimensions than I at
first expected. If I show that music, the woman, becomes co-
parent with the poet, the man, I must take care that this
splendid woman is not given over to the first comer who desires
her, but only to the man who longs for woman with true,
irresistible love. The necessity of this union with the full
power of music desired by the poet himself I was unable to prove
by abstract aesthetic definitions alone, which generally are not
understood and remain without effect. I had to derive that
necessity with tangible distinctness from the state of modern
dramatic poetry, and I hope I shall fully succeed. When I have
finished this book, I intend, provided I can find a publisher, to
bring out my three romantic opera-poems, with a preface
introducing them and explaining their genesis. After that, to
clear off all remains, I should collect the best of my Paris
writings of ten years ago (including my Beethoven novelette) in a
perhaps not unamusing volume; in it those who take an interest in
me might study the beginning of my movement. In this manner I
should get to the spring pleasantly and in an easy frame of mind,
and should then work at my "Siegfried" without interruption and
complete it. Give your blessing to this.

I recently had a letter from a friend in Paris who witnessed
several rehearsals of the "Tannhauser" overture under Seghers's
direction. He has completely satisfied me that the performance is
carefully prepared, and that the understanding of the public will
be aided as much as possible by a programme taken from your
article upon my opera. In spite of this, I am very doubtful
whether in the most favourable case I shall derive any benefit
from it.

My request to you to accept my poem of "Wiland," you apparently
have not quite understood. It is a sincere wish and request. Your
present and imminent occupations might delay the fulfillment of
my wish, which, however, would become impossible only if my
sketch did not inspire you with the desire to complete it. In
that case please be frank with me. If you intend, however late,
to finish "Wiland," I will undertake its proper versification.

For the present, dearest friend, I must take leave of you; I do
so with cordial wishes for your well-being. Commend me to the
Princess in the best way you can, so that she also may keep me in
friendly remembrance.

Farewell, and be greeted from the full heart of Your grateful


ZURICH, November 25th, 1850



Quite against my custom, I have just spent about ten days in bed
fighting with a violent fever. As it is a very long time since I
heard from you, I begin to be somewhat anxious as to the fate of
my "Lohengrin" article, which, before leaving Weymar, I gave to
Raff, asking him to send it to you as soon as he had read it. In
case you have received it, write me a few lines to reassure me
with regard to it, and at the same time tell me frankly, and
without compliments of any kind, whether the analysis has pleased
or displeased you, whether you think it worth publishing, and
what I had better do with it.

My whole correspondence has fallen into the most lamentable
arrears through the sad condition I have lived in for more than a
fortnight. I owe an answer especially to Herr Ritter, who has
made me a most courteous offer, the value of which I quite
appreciate. Be good enough, dear friend, to thank him in my name
(before I can do so myself) for his friendly conduct, for which I
shall prove myself grateful, as far as lies in my power, on all

How far have you got with "Siegfried"? Have you continued your
volume about the opera, and when will it appear?

Send me soon one of those long letters which you write so
beautifully. It will serve excellently well to relieve of his
grief and sorrow.

Your affectionate and devoted friend,


EILSEN, November 26th, 1850

Address Eilsen (Buckeburg) till December 30th. In the first week
of the new year I shall be back in Weymar.



At last I am able to send you the translation of your article. As
you probably cannot understand why it has been delayed so long,
and may perhaps even suspect that I was indifferent to your more
than kind intention, I must tell you first of all how it has

I was so moved by your work that I at once felt one thing
distinctly, viz., that in something so encouraging and deeply
touching I could not myself collaborate. I felt as shy and
bashful as possible when I thought of writing with my own hand
the praise which you dictated to me in your extremely brilliant
article. I hesitated and wavered, and did not know how to begin.
Then my young friend Ritter came to my aid, and asked me to let
him do the translation. I consented, and reserved to myself the
right of revising it afterwards, so as to set forth less my
praise than the animation of your original style. R. and B.
translated it between them, and I looked through it together with
them. R. then went to work again, and the result of these careful
endeavours I now lay before you, asking you to explain to
yourself from these indications why the whole thing has been
delayed so long. Of the actual version I can assure you with a
good conscience that, according to my firm conviction, it is not
unworthy of your original, which it renders adequately in the
sense that one does not suspect a laborious translation, but
might let it pass without hesitation for the German original of a
not unaccomplished German author. I can advise you, therefore,
without scruple to give your signature to this version, and leave
it to you whether you will announce it to be a translation. In
all you have said about the work and its author, the version
contains nothing but an absolutely faithful translation of the
original, every conceivable care having been taken to render its
very brilliant, novel, and thoroughly artistic language as
adequately as its individual flavour and fullness would allow. In
places, however, where you indicate the subject matter and the
material aspect of situations and scenes, the translator has made
bold to use a little more liberty. He considered that in these
respects the German original of the poem was nearer to him than
to the author of the French description. The situations are
therefore treated a little more exhaustively, and the German text
has been immediately drawn upon, as was indeed your own wish.
Perhaps the scenes have now and then been given a little too
fully; but as in print the verses will appear in smaller type, I
hope that this also will upon the whole add to the comprehension
of the dramatic situations. Therefore I live in good hope that
you will not be dissatisfied with the work; and if you still
intend to give me an almost excessive proof of your love of my
artistic being and to supply my friends with an important means
of realizing what they love in my art, I shall feel highly
honoured and pleased by the publication of this version, which I
think had best take the form of an independent pamphlet,
especially because in that way the important musical supplement
suggested by you would be possible.

If I were to tell you what I felt while reading this article
repeatedly and most carefully, I should scarcely be able to find
words. Let this suffice: I feel more than fully rewarded for my
efforts, my sacrifices, and my artistic struggles by recognizing
the impression I have made upon you of all others. To be so fully
understood was my only longing, and to have been understood is
the most blissful satisfaction of that longing.

Truly, dear friend, you have turned the little Weimar into a very
focus of my fame. When I read the numerous, comprehensive, and
often very brilliant articles about "Lohengrin" which now come
from Weimar, and compare them with the jealous enmity with which,
for example, the Dresden critics used constantly to attack me,
working with sad consistency for the systematic confusion of the
public, I look upon Weimar as a blessed asylum where at last I
can breathe freely and ease my troubled heart. Thank Lobe very
cordially in my name; his judgment has surprised and delighted
me. Also tell Biedenfeld and the author of the article in the
"Frankfort Conversationsblatt" that I still hope to thank them by
endeavouring with all my power to justify by new works their
great opinion of me. Greet them kindly, also Raff, and Genast,
and Zigesar, without forgetting the brave artists to whom I owe
so much gratitude.

I am deep in my work on "Opera and Drama;" it is, as I told you,
of the greatest importance to me, and I hope it will not be
without importance to others. But it will be a great, stout
volume. Ah, would it were spring, and that I might be once more a
full-blooded, poetizing musician! I am not very well off; care,
care, nothing but care, is the funereal chant which I have to
sing to every young day.

You also have been in a very pitiable plight. Your serious
indisposition and the depressed mood it left behind were strange
things to you, and have affected me very much. For my comfort I
assume that your illness is quite gone; but was I not right, dear
friend, when I warned you and expressed to you my anxiety for
your health, because I knew what unheard-of exertions you had
made for my sake? Please set my fear at rest soon and comfort me

Finally, I ask you to transmit my sincerest and most cordial
respects to your faithful, highly esteemed friend. May you two
extraordinary people be happy! Farewell, and accept my heartfelt
thanks for your friendship, which is now the richest source of my


R. W.

ZURICH, December 24th, 1850



I have just received a letter from Brussels, sent by desire of
the management of the Royal Theatre there. In consequence of the
brilliant success--so they write--which my opera "Lohengrin" has
recently obtained, and seeing that the subject of the opera
belongs to Belgian history, they contemplate translating the work
into good French, if that should be possible, and producing it
forthwith at the Royal Theatre. They therefore want at once a
copy of the score and of the libretto.

Dear friend, I place the whole matter at your feet. If you wish
that it should come to something, and if you think that it may
come to something, then acquire the further merit of taking this
thing in hand, which, in your position as protector and generally
speaking, you are infinitely more capable of doing than I. You
are sure to know Brussels. If you will undertake this, I should
ask you before all to see about a score. Luttichau claims his
copy as his property, and Zigesar was obliged to have another
copy made. Seeing that Luttichau, as I hear positively from
Dresden, does not intend to give the opera at least just yet, one
might hope that he would give back the score for a time, if you
were to ask him. Of course _I_ cannot apply to him.

To send my own original score so far away, I should not like at
all; it is all the little property I have. To have a copy made
here would exceed my limited means, and would also take too long,
as they are pressing at Brussels. A libretto I shall send them
direct from here.

See what you can and will do, dear friend. If it should succeed,
and some good come of it, I should like to owe it entirely to
you, as you have altogether assumed the paternal responsibility
for this opera with the care attaching to it. I shall ask them at
Brussels to apply to you, as you have full power to act in the
matter. Farewell for today; a thousand blessings in return for
your love

from your sincerely grateful


ZURICH, December 27th, 1850

I have to reply to "M. Charles Hanssens jeune, chef d'orchestre
et directeur du Theatre Royal a Bruxelles."



I have just received your letter addressed Weymar, and hasten to
place my humble services gladly at your disposal as regards the
score of "Lohengrin" and the correspondence with Herr von
Luttichau. Probably his Excellency will not be very willing to
lend the work a second time; but I hope for a favourable result
all the same.

In your place (forgive my friendly impertinence) I should
certainly accept the Brussels offer, but with the one condition--
conditio sine qua non--that they let you revise the translation
and attend the general rehearsals. The performance and the
success will have quite a different chance if you go to Brussels,
and I am afraid that in your absence your "Lohengrin" might be a
little compromised. The actual state of the Brussels theatre I do
not know; some years ago it was somewhat in a muddle and very
little adapted to serious work. Some time will in any case be
required for the translation and rehearsals, but I advise you to
make the condition of your presence at once and firmly. The
traveling expenses are so small that the management can easily
bear them; and if you agree, I shall answer the gentlemen in that
sense as soon as they write to me.

Herr von Zigesar wrote to me urgently some days ago not to delay
my return to Weymar any longer. Unfortunately I shall be detained
here for about another fortnight by the serious illness of
Princess M. About January 20th "Tannhauser" and "Lohengrin" will
again be given, and towards the end of the season Tichatschek
will probably be there and take the part.

By repeated desire, I have determined to publish my article on
the Herder festival, together with the analysis of "Lohengrin,"
in a separate form. If you want to add some further remarks on
it, let it be soon, so that I may be able to make use of them.

I enclose a few lines to Ritter. Kindly excuse me to him, and
allow me to restore to you the possession and absolute disposal
of your property after my return to Weymar. Great as is the
temptation to weld at your "Wiland," I must abide by my
resolution never to write a German opera.

I feel no vocation for it, and I lack the necessary patience to
bother myself with German theatrical affairs. Altogether I think
it more appropriate and easier to risk my first dramatic work on
the Italian stage (which probably may happen in the spring of
next year--1852--in Paris or London), and to stick there if I
should succeed.

Germany is your property, and you her glory. Complete your
"Siegfried" soon. Of power and genius you have plenty; only do
not lose patience. Perhaps we shall soon see you again in
Germany; then you will reap what you have so nobly sown.

Your sincerely devoted


EILSEN, January 3rd, 1851

Have you made much progress with your book on the opera? I am
very curious to see this work.



Have you all forgotten me? I have felt so lonely of late that I
am often afraid. Should you be angry with me about anything?
perhaps about the absurd misunderstanding with B.? He wrote to me
that he had heard that I was annoyed at his great article on
"Lohengrin." I was quite confounded, and thought that some
misapprehension of an expression in one of my letters might have
led you and B. after you to a completely erroneous opinion about
me. Therefore I requested him to ask you in my name to let him
explain to you the passage in my letter, because I was anxious,
not only for his sake, but for yours, to dispel so ugly an error.
Has any unpleasantness resulted from it?

From Brussels I have heard nothing. Could you give me some news,
or are you angry that I have troubled you with this affair?
Anyhow I have no illusions as to Brussels.

My very stout book is ready. Its title is "Oper und Drama." I
have not yet a publisher; and as I must take care to get a little
money for it, I am a little anxious about the matter.

Next month I shall devote to the edition of my three romantic
opera-poems. A longish introduction will explain the origin of
these poems and their position towards music.

At the beginning of spring I hope to commence the composition of
"Siegfried," and to continue the work without interruption.

As to the rest, my pleasure in life is not great. All is quiet
and lonely around me, and I frequently feel as if I were dead and

But how are you? Have you quite recovered? I frequently dream of
Weimar and of you--wild, confused things.

Let us say nothing more about "Wiland"; I am heartily sorry
that--you are right.

Have you still courage? Are you in good spirits? Do you really
still care to live amongst the majestic people of the Philistines
who rule the world nowadays? Ah! as long as we possess fancy we
can pull along somehow.

My poor dear little parrot is also dead! He was my spiritus
familiaris, the good brownie of my house.

Farewell, and forgive me.

Always and wholly thine,


ENGE, ZURICH, February 18th, 1851.



By the date of these lines you will sufficiently see in what
grief and sorrow I have been living for months. I was, it is
true, in Weymar for three weeks, but immediately after the
birthday of the Grand Duchess (February 16th) I returned here,
where unfortunately I found the Princess still very ailing and in
bed. On the 7th I have to be back in Weymar to conduct Raff's
opera; the work is too important for Raff's career for me to
neglect it. But the thought of that journey, while my whole soul,
my whole faith, and all my love must remain here at the sick-bed,
is terrible to me. Let us talk of you.

I could never think of forgetting you, and, if possible, still
less of being angry with you. Forgive me that I did not sooner
thank you cordially for B. and R.'s German version of my
"Lohengrin" article. Your letter especially has pleased and
flattered me highly. That you are satisfied with my conception of
that splendid masterpiece of heart and soul "Lohengrin" is my
exceeding rich reward. Immediately after my return to Weymar I
shall have it printed (perhaps the "Illustrirte Zeitung" will
publish it in one number), and shall send you the proof, which I
must ask you to correct and return straight to Weber as quickly
as possible.

R. can carefully read the article in one day, and send it to
Leipzig by return of post.

As to the French original, I shall probably publish it as a
separate pamphlet, together with my article on the Herder
festival, and without the alterations and omissions made by Janin
in the "Journal des Debats" of October 22nd. The title will be
"Fetes de Herder et Goethe a Weymar, 25 et 28 Aout, 1850."

From Brussels not a line! Without repudiating altogether the
musical soil of Belgium, barren though hitherto it has been, with
the exception of some individual talents, I can only advise you
again to protest absolutely against a performance of your works
under any direction but your own. The first condition you should
impose on the management of the theatre is that they call you to
Brussels. In that sense I shall answer in case they apply to me.

About B. I could tell you many things in a half-and-half way, but
you had better think them out for yourself. Let me speak French,
and don't repeat it.

B. is a nobleman who has spent long years in becoming a literary
good-for-nothing. If he had possessed or acquired the necessary
talent, he would in that direction have made himself a position
as a nobleman. As it is, he is an amphibious creature, living in
bogs on one side and getting dry in his water on the other. He
has shown me the letter you wrote to him, but with this kind of
people little is gained by explanation. They are not wanting in
the good where the better would be required, and it is generally
more advisable to be cautious with them than to complain, or
correct their opinions. I think you might have been satisfied
with thanking him simply for his article about "Lohengrin,"
however awkward and badly argued certain passages may have been.
Apropos of this, have you read the articles on "Lohengrin" in the
"Frankfort Conversationsblatt"? They are certainly better meant
and better written; and as you have thanked B., you might, I
think, appropriately write a few lines to the author, who is a
very decent man and one of your sincere and enthusiastic
proselytes. Enclose the lines to him in the first letter you
address to me at Weymar, and I will forward them to him at once.

"Wiland" is still imprisoned at Weymar, together with my
manuscripts and scores. As soon as my valet returns I shall send
you "Wiland" at once, but I am not going to call in a common,
prosaic locksmith to set him at liberty.

I am looking forward to your book. Perhaps I may try on this
occasion to comprehend your ideas a little better, which in your
book "Kunst und Revolution" I could not manage very well, and in
that case I shall cook a French sauce to it.

Brockhaus published a few days ago my pamphlet on the Goethe
foundation ("De la Fondation Goethe a Weymar"). I shall send it
you on the first opportunity. Of my articles on Chopin in the
"France Musicale," which I am likely to spin out through fifteen
numbers, you have probably not heard at Zurich. B. read the
original at Weymar. Farewell, be happier than I, and write soon

Your truly devoted friend,


EILSEN, March 1st, 1851.



Cordial thanks for your letter, which was a sure sign of your
continued interest in me. Your domestic troubles have alarmed me
very much; be assured of my genuine sympathy with any grief that
may befall you. I hope this letter will find you in an easier
state of mind with regard to the health of your very dear friend.
If only my wish could contribute to this! But necessity compels
me to gain some certainty as to my own position through your
means. Listen, and do not be angry.

The communication of your plans in my favour last summer roused
in me a hope as to which I must now know whether I am to look for
its fulfillment or to abandon it altogether. You told me that in
case of the desired success of my "Lohengrin" you intended to
make use of the presumably friendly disposition of the Grand
Duchess, with a view to inducing her to allow me the necessary
means of subsistence during the composition of my "Siegfried."
Just at that time I had given up all thoughts of setting the
opera to music, and had sent the poem of "Siegfried" to the
printer in order to place it before the public in the form of an
intention never carried out. Your communication changed my mind,
as I acknowledged to you at the time in the most joyous and
grateful manner. I cancelled the order for printing the poem, and
prepared myself for the composition instead. For the commencement
of the work I fixed upon the coming spring, partly in order,
first, to get rid of my always depressed winter humour, and
partly to give you time for carrying out your kind intention
without hurry. For the winter I chose a literary work, for which
I had plenty of material, and which I took in hand at once,
hoping that I might make something by it. This work, a book of
four hundred to five hundred pages, small octavo, entitled "Oper
und Drama," has been ready these six weeks; but as yet none of
the publishers to whom I wrote about it has replied, and my
expectations at least of gain from this work are therefore very
small. During the whole of six months, after spending the
honorarium for the production of "Lohengrin" at Weimar, I have
lived entirely by the assistance of Frau R. in D., because
latterly I have not been able to earn anything beyond a small fee
for conducting two of Beethoven's symphonies at the miserable
concerts here. I know that my Dresden friend has for the present
exhausted herself, because the family is not wealthy, but has
only just a sufficient income, which, moreover, owing to some
awkward complications with Russia, is at present placed in
jeopardy. I am therefore compelled to try and make money at any
price, and should have to abandon a task like the composition of
"Siegfried," which in a pecuniary sense is useless. If I were to
have any inclination for a task undertaken for the sake of money,
it would have to be so-called "aesthetic literature," and in
order to get money for such literature I should have to spend all
my time in writing for magazines at so much "per sheet." The
thought is very humiliating.

If I am to undertake an important artistic task, my immediate
future--say for the current year, at least--must be secured;
otherwise I shall lack the necessary cheerfulness and
collectedness. If I am to have peace of mind for devoting myself
to artistic labour without interruption, I must, as I said
before, be without anxiety for my immediate subsistence.
Necessity, as the proverb says, breaks iron, and therefore I put
this question to you once more simply, so as to be sure as to my
position. I am aware that everything has turned out unfavourably
for your plan of helping me. The Grand Duchess was ill, and could
attend only the third performance of "Lohengrin;" soon afterwards
you left Weimar, and therefore had no opportunity of preparing
the Grand Duchess for your plan in a proper and dignified manner.
All this I know, and therefore no blame attaches to you in the
remotest degree. Only I must know now where I am. For that reason
I pray you with all my heart to tell me plainly and definitely
whether, as things are, I still may hope for something or not, so
that I may make all my arrangements accordingly; uncertainty is
the worst of tortures. One request I further make without
hesitation. If you are compelled by the state of affairs to tell
me that your plan cannot now be realized, and that therefore I
must not hope for any further assistance in favour of the
composition of my "Siegfried," then kindly see at least whether
you cannot get me at once SOME money, were it only as much as my
immediate difficulty requires, in order to gain me some time for
settling to my altered plan. It is very sad that I have to
trouble you with this ugly request.

But enough of this.

May Heaven grant that you will soon be relieved from your
domestic troubles. I wish the Princess a quick and perfect
recovery with all my heart.

Farewell, dear friend. Good luck and the best success to Herr

Farewell, and be happy.

Your sincerely devoted


ENGE BEI ZURICH, March 9th, 1851.



I passed the whole of March in such trouble and distress, that I
could not write to you. Since April 4th I have been back here.
"Lohengrin" was to be given on the 8th, but Beck's hoarseness
compelled us to postpone the performance till next Saturday. In
any case the opera will be given twice more during this season.

By today's post I send you my "Lohengrin" article, which in the
first instance will appear in German in the "Illustrirte
Zeitung." Be kind enough to read the proof quickly and to return
it direct to Weber, Leipzig. It will probably be published in the
next number. About the French edition I shall arrange soon
afterwards; it will be the same size and type as my pamphlet on
the Goethe foundation, of which also I send you a copy today.
Brockhaus will be the publisher.

Have you received the hundred thalers? Your last letter has made
me very sad, but I do not relinquish all hope of leading the
somewhat difficult diplomatic transaction concerning your
"Siegfried" to a successful issue. Perhaps I shall succeed in
settling the matter by the middle of May. Tell me in round
figures what sum you require, and (quite entre nous, for I must
ask you specially to let nobody know) write me a full letter
which I can show to Z. You must excuse me for troubling you with
such things, and I am grieved, deeply grieved, that the matter
cannot be brought more simply to a good result; but, in my
opinion, it will be necessary for you to explain by letter your
position as well as the plan of the work and the artistic hopes
which may justly be founded upon it. I need not tell you that I
do not want this for myself. You know me, and are aware that you
can have implicit confidence in me.

Muller's letter I sent yesterday, after thinking from day to day
that I should return. He will doubtless soon write to you, and
you will find him a trustworthy, prudent friend, who genuinely
esteems you.

Can you tell me, under the seal of the most absolute secrecy,
whether the famous article on the Jews in music ("Das Judenthum
in der Musik") in Brendel's paper is by you?

The Princess has remained in Eilsen, still confined to her bed;
and I do not expect her till the end of this month. You may
imagine how deeply her long illness has grieved me.

Write soon, and do not forget to correct the proofs of the
"Illustrirte Zeitung" at once.



April 9th, 1851. P.S.--The "Lohengrin" article must be signed
thus: "From the French of F. Liszt." Request the printer's reader
kindly not to omit this and to call the editor's special
attention to it.



I did not write to you at once in order to write to you more at
length and more calmly on a favourable day. Then came the number
of the "Illustrirte Zeitung" of April 12th, and once more I read
your printed article from beginning to end. It is difficult for
me to describe the impression your work of friendship has made on
me just at this time. I was once more cold and diffident, and
looked with something like bitter irony on the thought of having
to begin a new artistic labour. The artistic misery far and wide
around me was so great, my mood so hopeless, that I felt inclined
to laugh at myself when I thought, for example, of the
composition of my "Siegfried;" and this mood I transferred to all
my other works. Recently I glanced through my score of
"Lohengrin;" it filled me absolutely with disgust, and my
intermittent fits of laughter were not of a cheerful kind. Then
you approached me once more, and moved, delighted, warmed,
inspired me in such a manner that the bright tears welled forth,
and that once more I knew no greater delight than that of being
an artist and of creating works. I have no name for the effect
you have produced upon me. Everywhere around me I see nothing but
the most beautiful spring life, full of germs and blossoms, and
together with it such voluptuous pain, such painfully
intoxicating joy, such delight in being a man, in having a
beating heart--although it feel nothing but sorrow--that I regret
only to have to write all this to you.

And how strangely everything happens with you! Would I could
describe my love for you! There is no torture, but, on the other
hand, no joy, which does not vibrate in this love. One day
jealousy, fear of what is strange to me in your particular
nature, grieve me; I feel anxiety, trouble, yea doubt; and then
again something breaks forth in me like a fire in a wood, and
everything is devoured by this conflagration, which nothing but a
stream of the most blissful tears can extinguish at last. You are
a wonderful man, and wonderful is our love. If we had not loved,
we might have terribly hated, one another. All that I wanted to
write to you with well-balanced composure must now come out just
as it happens to strike me at the moment. My "Siegfried" I shall
begin at the commencement of May, happen what will. Perish all
guarantee of my existence! I shall not starve. For my book I have
at last a publisher, Avenarius, in Leipzig; he pays me one
hundred thalers; it is very little, but I don't think I can get
any more. Now and then you will put a groat by for me; and when
my necessity grows breast-high, you will help me with as much as
you may happen to have for a poor friend. Frau R. in D. will also
do her part off and on, and in the winter I shall earn again a
few louis d'or by conducting symphonies, so that I shall not go
to the devil after all if only my wife will keep calm. So let us
leave the Grand Duchess alone; I can and will not ask her for
anything even in the most indirect manner. If she made me an
offer of her own free will, it would touch and delight me, all
the more coming from a princess, but this possibility, even if it
never should happen, I must not turn into an impossibility by
asking her for a proof of her kindness. Away with all business
transactions as to this question! Up till now the sympathy of
that princely lady has made so beautiful an impression upon me,
that I do not wish to spoil it. Are we agreed? I think so.

You ask me about the "Judenthum." You must know that the article
is by me. Why do you ask? Not from fear, but only to avoid that
the Jews should drag this question into bare personality, I
appear in a pseudonymous capacity. I felt a long-repressed hatred
for this Jewry, and this hatred is as necessary to my nature as
gall is to the blood. An opportunity arose when their damnable
scribbling annoyed me most, and so I broke forth at last. It
seems to have made a tremendous impression, and that pleases me,
for I really wanted only to frighten them in this manner; that
they will remain the masters is as certain as that not our
princes, but the bankers and the Philistines, are nowadays our
masters. Towards Meyerbeer my position is a peculiar one. I do
not hate him, but he disgusts me beyond measure. This eternally
amiable and pleasant man reminds me of the most turbid, not to
say most vicious, period of my life, when he pretended to be my
protector; that was a period of connections and back stairs when
we are made fools of by our protectors, whom in our inmost heart
we do not like. This is a relation of the most perfect
dishonesty; neither party is sincere towards the other; one and
the other assume the appearance of affection, and both make use
of each other as long as their mutual interest requires it. For
the intentional impotence of his politeness towards me I do not
find fault with Meyerbeer; on the contrary, I am glad not to be
his debtor as deeply as, for example, B. But it was quite time
that I should free myself perfectly from this dishonest relation
towards him. Externally there was not the least occasion for it,
for even the experience that he was not sincere towards me would
not have surprised me, neither did it give me a right to be
angry, because at bottom I had to own that I had intentionally
deceived myself about him. But from inner causes arose the
necessity to relinquish all considerations of common prudence
with regard to him. As an artist I cannot exist before myself and
my friends, I cannot think or feel, without realizing and
confessing my absolute antagonism to Meyerbeer, and to this I am
driven with genuine desperation when I meet with the erroneous
opinion even amongst my friends that I have anything in common
with Meyerbeer. Before none of my friends I can appear in clear
and definite form, with all that I desire and feel, unless I
separate myself entirely from the nebulous outline in which many
see me. This is an act necessary for the perfect birth of my
matured nature; and if God wills, I hope to be of service to many
by performing this act so zealously.

What you will think of this--that--just imagine--I do not as yet
know exactly. I know who you are and perfectly feel what you are,
and yet it must appear to me as if in this point you could not as
yet be entirely your own self. But enough of this. There are
earthly things on which we may occasionally be of different
opinion without ever parting from each other in divine things. If
you don't approve of something here, shut your eyes to it.

Let me at last have some good news of you. In your most intimate
relations you seem to me so sadly placed that I am quite
melancholy about it. Is the illness of the Princess so serious
that, apart from its long duration, it inspires you with real
anxiety? I must almost fear this unless you reassure me about it.
Do this as soon as you can, and tell the highly esteemed lady how
cordially I sympathize with her sufferings.

Dear, dear Liszt, arrange that we soon may see each other.
Perhaps the Princess would benefit by Swiss air; send her here
and come with her.

I cannot go on today. I wanted to write to you about your Goethe
foundation, but must wait for a calmer hour to meet your splendid
idea with dignity.

Farewell, and be pressed to the heart of your


ENGE, ZURICH, April 18th, 1851.

I doubt whether the correction of the proof will still be
necessary, but have sent it to Leipzig nevertheless.


Then we are to have "Young Siegfried"! You are truly a most
incredible fellow, to whom one must doff hat and bonnet three
times. The satisfactory settlement of this matter rejoices me
cordially; and, as you may imagine, I have perfect faith in your
work. But let us say nothing about it until you send in "Young
Siegfried" (July 1st, 1852), so as to avoid the useless
preliminary talk of people. Here nobody knows about it, excepting
Zigesar; and we are anxious to keep it from the public.
"Lohengrin" at its last performance (the fifth) on Sunday was
appreciated more than ever, and actors and orchestra also came
nearer to the understanding and the interpretation of the work.
The house was filled for the greater part, it is true, by
Erfurters, Naumburgers, and other curious people from the
neighbourhood, for, to speak candidly, our Weymar public, with
the exception of about a dozen persons, are not yet sufficiently
advanced to be in real sympathy with so extraordinary a work.
That "Lohengrin" has reached its fifth performance in one season
is a kind of miracle which must be attributed to the Court. The
Hereditary Grand Duchess had especially asked for this
performance on the occasion of her first visit to the theatre
after her confinement. From Leipzig came David and Moscheles,
from Halle Robert Franz, from Eisenach Kuhnstedt. Professor
Stahr, who has become a dear friend, and Fanny Lewald have been
here about a fortnight.

Stahr is going to write about "Lohengrin" in the National Zeitung
or Kolnische Zeitung. If after reading his article you feel
inclined to write him a few lines, send them to Weymar (Hotel Zum
Erbprinzen). Muller has written another "Lohengrin" article in
the Weimar Zeitung, which he has probably sent to you. After the
performance of "Lohengrin" I received your letter about the
Goethe foundation, and I thank you cordially for it. I may
mention, however, that perhaps no less than two years' time and
trouble will be required to make the idea of the Goethe
foundation a reality. I am prepared to devote that time to it,
because I am firmly convinced that without my activity the thing
here will simply come to nothing, as has already happened at

Should you not be inclined to publish your letter in its actual
form of a letter to me in some newspaper which is open to you? I
will send it back to you in a few days for that purpose, asking
you, however, to return it to me at Weymar as soon as you have
done with it.

The day after tomorrow I have to go to Eilsen for the third time,
but hope to be back here at Whitsuntide. At the close of the
theatrical season we shall have either "Tannhauser" or
"Lohengrin" once more. The direction of the former work I think I
may now leave to Gotze.

If possible, send me a copy of your autobiography direct to
Eilsen (Buckeburg). I can make good use of it in connection with
the pamphlet which is to be published (in French) in June by
Brockhaus. If your article on the Zurich theatre has appeared,
send it also to me at Eilsen, where I shall employ my time in
reading and working. I am most curious to know your views and
practical proposals with regard to theatrical matters, and I
shall be most ready to adopt your ideas as far as possible.

Draw up occasionally for me a repertory of earlier and modern
works which appear to you most adapted to further the cause of
art. At present I cannot help thinking it advisable to make some
eclectic concessions (alas! alas!) to the existing state of our
theatrical institutions.

Be well and active, dear, splendid friend, and soon give news to


WEYMAR, May 17th, 1851.



I must reply to you at once about a few things which you ask me
in your letter received yesterday, so as to let you know how
matters stand. First of all (as is always the case when I have to
deal with you), I must wipe a blush of shame off my face before
answering you. Your wishes always concern me, and that in a sense
which must flatter me to the very core. You want a copy of my
autobiography in order to make use of it for your pamphlet. What
can I say to that? I will say nothing, but only reply that in
this instance my vanity is not sufficiently great to make me
carry my biography about with me. I do not possess it, and do not
know where to get it. If you really want to see it, you might
perhaps get it more easily from Weimar, if I told you exactly
where it is to be found. It appeared in the "Zeitung fur die
elegante Welt" in the year 1843, first quarterly issue, month of
February, I believe. But I can scarcely think that you will find
much in it beyond the confirmation of the fact that I too have
erred much in my artistic efforts, not being one of the elect
who, like Mendelssohn, received the only true, infallible,
"solid" food of art, like heavenly manna in their mouths, and who
therefore were able to say, "I have never erred." We poor earthly
worms can get only through error to a knowledge of truth, which
therefore we love passionately, like a conquered bride, and not
with the genteel approval with which we look upon a spouse
selected for us beforehand by the dear parents. At that time when
I wrote my autobiography by Laube's desire, I had, it is true,
finished my "Flying Dutchman" and sketched the poem of
"Tannhauser", but only through my completed "Tannhauser" and my
completed "Lohengrin" did I gain perfect clearness as to the
direction in which I had been impelled by unconscious instinct.
Later on, in connection with the edition of my operatic poems, I
shall take occasion to explain the process of development
observed in me; certain it is that nothing of this can be
contained in my autobiography. All the more interesting will it
be for me to see that direction judged from his own observation
by some one else, i.e., some one like you.

Concerning my last letter to you, I must ask you to be assured
that I wrote it without ostensible object. To you alone I wanted
to speak on a topic started by yourself, because I did not desire
to support an opinion in a general way, but to effect something
real, viz., the foundation of an original theatre. I therefore
did not want to address the public--which qua public is quite
useless for that purpose--but some one who has the intellect and
before all the energy to view distinctly the accomplishment of
such an object in given circumstances. If in the actual condition
of generally accepted opinion something is to be undertaken which
combats and denies that opinion as detrimental to art, this can
of course only be done by individuals. We cannot expect a better
general condition until the individual has become perfectly
strong in itself, for the general must proceed from individuals,
and for the present therefore we must be intent upon being ready
ourselves and communicating with none but those nearest akin to
us. In this spirit I look upon the theatre. If we want to work
for a rational condition of the theatre in all Germany, we shall
never achieve anything in the slightest degree rational unless we
begin at some given point, even the smallest. That point I
imagine I have found where an embodiment of genius and energy is
already acting in the right sense. Where else can you find such
things as are done at Weimar? But through whom is this done?
Through you alone! The Court may have the best possible
intention; it is not an artist to realize its intention or even
to conceive a distinct intention, for that in this case none but
an artist can do. This is the reason why I have applied to you
alone. I had no other intention. If you think it useful and
appropriate to make a wider use of my communication, you are
quite at liberty to do so. If you think that a totally
independent word of mine as to the position of poetry and the
fine arts, especially in reference to a given object, may not be
wholly without beneficial influence on many of those concerned,
before all if you think that the object in question may be
furthered by it, I ask you to dispose of my letter as your
property. I, however, cannot undertake its publication. I should
defeat my original purpose in doing so, besides which no journals
are open to me. In the "Deutsche Monatsschrift", to which I am
now and then asked to contribute, I do not like on principle to
treat the question in this form; our object would not be
furthered by it. Act therefore entirely according to your
judgment. If you think it useless, leave it alone. If, however,
you print the letter, omit what you think unfit for publicity. I
should not willingly make additions, because they would of
necessity have reference to the "original theatre," and about
that I should have to say a great deal to make my idea
comprehensible to the general public.

You have probably received my little pamphlet "Ein Theater in
Zurich." Much, yea most, in it will not suit you, for the
conditions here are too different from those of Weimar; but my
idea of the essence of the activity of the "original theatre" the
little work will make tolerably clear. In case you ask "whether I
wish to exclude altogether everything extraneous" I reply in
advance, Yes, for the present, and until the main object is
attained, but not for the future. The main object is this: that
the theatre imagined by me should, by the originality of its
work, gain perfect individual independence, should educate itself
to be a conscious individual. This object once attained, this
individual independence achieved, then, and then only, should it
exchange its achievements with those of other equally independent
theatrical individualities, and by means of this exchange be
fructified to ever greater capability and variety, extending in
this manner to wider and generally human circles. This
fructifying exchange can be successfully accomplished only when
receiving means at the same time giving; only he who can give can
receive with benefit to himself. At present our theatres are so
wholly dependent, so entirely without individuality, that they
can do nothing but receive, without having the power of really
appropriating what they receive. Our theatres are undeveloped
beings, pulpy, pappy molluscs, which can never bring forth a man.

I must refrain from saying any more on this head; it might easily
lead me to writing another book of four hundred pages, and the
writing of books I am determined to abandon in preference to
producing a work of art. Only this much I must add: through you
Weimar is already in a good way; proceed on that way of original
achievement with conscious principle, express that principle
distinctly, and by that means gain more and more participants in
your consciousness; by that means you can easily show how an
intention may gradually become a reality. Raff's opera has
pleased me immensely; that is right, and now onwards! or, to
speak plainly, it is your turn now,

Write an opera for Weimar, I entreat you; write it exactly for
the artists who are there, and who through your work will be
elevated, made more noble, more universal. Continue, if you like,
your plans for the Italians; there also, I feel sure, you can do
famous and useful things, but at the same time abide by what is
nearest to you, by what is your present home; where you are in
bodily presence, and with your whole mental energy, be there also
with your productive will; do not trouble yourself about the
other German theatres and their conditions. You do not want them
in order to achieve something beautiful and at the same time
useful. Candidly speaking, what do you seek just now, and with
your present activity amongst the Italians, otherwise than an
increase of your fame? Very well, but will that make you happy?
For that you no longer care! Other conditions are necessary to
give you happiness. Do something for your Weimar.

Well, I will not entreat you anymore for the present; you must
find out for yourself what you have to do.

One thing more, however: work thoroughly for the culture of your
theatrical people. You will get the desired artists from nowhere
unless you create them for yourself. Be careful to make your
singers first of all good actors; how is he to sing who cannot
speak and declaim well? Nothing can here be done in a casual
manner; you must proceed on principle and with expressed
intention. (For that reason think of the Goethe foundation!) To
speak plainly, you want a good stage-manager. Genast is a
splendid fellow, but he has grown old in routine; he does not
know, and will never understand, what has to be done. A man like
Eduard Devrient would be of excellent effect for the training of
your actors, for he knows what has to be done. (I admit the
difficulty of getting such a man.) You must further have an able
singing master. I believe that Gotze has good qualities for the
post, but he ought to have power as well; people ought to be
compelled to learn from him.

I am aware that a man does not become an artist by mere training,
but he can never become an artist unless his organic faculties
are healthily developed, and that is what is wanting amongst us
almost everywhere. Other things will be easily set right if you
are more careful in the choice of works selected for performance
than is generally the case amongst us. The coarse mixture of all
genres and all styles is the evil which prevents our actors from
gaining any kind of artistic consciousness. Gluck today,
Donizetti tomorrow, Weber today, Rossini or Auber tomorrow,
serious today, frivolous tomorrow--what is the result? That the
people can do neither Gluck nor Donizetti, neither the serious
nor the frivolous. How terrible also are the translations! People
get systematically accustomed to the absolute senselessness of
scenic representations; look therefore to a rational treatment of
the translated librettos. Before all, accustom your singers to
looking upon their work in the first instance as a dramatic task;
the accomplishment of their lyrical task will after that be an
easy matter. Works of the earlier French school are most adapted
to the purpose, because in them a natural dramatic intention is
most perceptible. Singers who cannot execute well and effectively
the "Water-carrier," by Cherubini, or "Joseph," by Mehul--how are
they to be able to master the (in that case) enormous
difficulties of, for example, one of my operas? The chief thing,
however, will always be new works and such works as are adapted
to our set of artists and have been written specially for this
theatre. But enough of preaching! If I have been almost
impertinent, you must forgive me. Today is my birthday, and you
could not have sent me a better present than your letter of

As yet Heaven has not given us fine weather, but I wait for the
first bright, sunny day to commence the poem of my "Young
Siegfried" with the pen. In my head it is ready. In July I hope
to send you the poem.

Your last news has once more made me desirous to write to the
Hereditary Grand Duchess. The contact with a sympathetic, noble
female nature is to me an infinitely joyful feeling, and that
feeling I should like to gain as a blessing for my impending
work. If you think that I might permit myself a slight deviation
from the ordinary official style towards this lady, I should ask
you one of these days to forward a letter from me to her. The
official style I cannot manage. Our dear, foolish Zigesar always
writes to me, "Ew. Wohlgeboren," etc. I wish he would leave that
alone. I am sorry when, in his kindness towards me, I stumble
over this kind of powder and pigtail business.

May God bless you, not the "god of Buckeburg." You are right in
retiring into solitude now and then; without that men like us
cannot exist. Greet the Princess most cordially. I hope she will
soon be well again.

Farewell, dearest of friends. I press you to my heart!



ENGE, ZURICH, May 22nd, 1851.



Short news from me today.

I have quite finished the poem of my "Young Siegfried". It has
given me great joy; it is certainly what I was bound to do, and
the best thing that I have done so far. I am really glad about
it. With my violent way of working, I am always considerably
tired at the end. I must take some time to recover. I cannot just
yet make up my mind to copy it out for you, for many reasons, too
long to tell. I feel also some bashfulness in submitting my poem
to you without further explanation--a bashfulness which has its
reason in me, not in you. I therefore ask you whether there is
not a chance of my seeing you soon. Some time ago you made me
think so. How is it now? Can you visit me, or at least appoint a
place, accessible to me, for meeting? Please answer this question
at once. My longing to see you, dear, splendid friend, again
after two years, during which you have been more to me than I can
describe, and to spend a few days with you, is greater than I am
able to express. Can you fulfill this longing? If we could meet
shortly, I should keep my "Young Siegfried", in order to read it
to you. This would add to my peace of mind considerably. The
written word is, I fear, insufficient for my intention; but if I
could read it to you viva voce, indicating how I want to have it
interpreted, I should be quite satisfied as to the desired
impression of my poem upon you. Write to me at once what my
chances are. If, alas! you cannot come, I shall have a copy made
at once and send it you.

One thing more: in my last letters I entirely forgot to mention
the Hartel affair to you. By a certain impulse, I applied to
Breitkopf and Hartel about "Lohengrin". I owed them from of old
two hundred thalers for a grand pianoforte, and proposed to them
to wipe out this debt and to take the copyright of "Lohengrin" in
return. At first they entertained my offer as to the pianoforte
score, but I insisted again on the full score being engraved,
telling them that something might be done by subscription, and
referring them to your influential help. For a long time I heard
nothing, but today I have a letter from the H.'s, saying that
they accede to my wish and are prepared to print the full score.
How has this happened? Now that my demand has been granted, it
almost appears fabulous to me that they should publish the full
score of an opera which has only been given at Weimar.

What do you think? Can I expect this of them? This, in my
opinion, is a nobility of conduct which makes me feel ashamed. I
should almost like not to accept the H.'s offer for "Lohengrin"
on condition that they engrave the full score of my "Young
Siegfried". This child, which I have engendered and should like
to give to the world, is naturally even nearer to my heart than
"Lohengrin", for I want it to be stronger and healthier than he.
If the H.'s publish the score of "Lohengrin", it may be assumed
to a certainty that the sale will be so small as to make them
wholly disinclined for the engraving of the full score of "Young
Siegfried"; and this latter is of course of much greater
importance to me. What do you think? Advise me, dear Liszt! Shall
I hold their offer over for "Siegfried" and give up "Lohengrin"
instead? To get both appears almost impossible to me. Advise me!

Farewell for today. My pen will not obey me any longer; I am too
excited by many things.

Farewell, and write to me how you are and whether I shall see
you. Are you well? Greet the Princess! Farewell.



ENGE, ZURICH, June 29th, 1851.



The news of the happy birth of "Siegfried" pleases me much, and I
thank you for letting me know at once. How I should like to hear
you read it and to visit you at Zurich! But, alas! this year it
is quite impossible for me to think of any journey whatever. At
the end of this month I hope that the health of the Princess will
allow her to start; and in order to make the journey less
fatiguing, we shall return slowly by Dusseldorf, Cologne,
Frankfort, and Eisenach. You, dear friend, must need rest and a
little country life after the completion of your work. Please do
not trouble yourself on my account by making at once a copy of
"Siegfried"; you will send it me on occasion later on at Weymar,
where, locked up, still remains "Wiland", which, to my regret, I
have not been able to send you, not having the necessary keys at
hand. I have explained this to Uhlig. If he is with you, remember
me kindly to him, and excuse me to him once more for my
involuntary negligence.

The Hartels are quite comme il faut in their personal and
business relations. Dr. Hartel came to Weymar to hear
"Lohengrin", and I am delighted to hear that his impression has
been confirmed by an imprimatur. As you ask my advice about what
you had better do, accept his proposition or hold it over till
"Siegfried", so as to make him publish the score of a new work
for you, I have no hesitation in saying that, for all manner of
reasons, I should think it preferable to publish now only the
pianoforte score of "Lohengrin", and to make arrangements with
Hartel that the pianoforte score and full score of "Siegfried"
should appear soon after the Weymar performance, which probably,
and at the latest, will take place in February, 1853, for the
fete of H.R.H. the Grand Duchess. "Lohengrin" will lose nothing
by waiting chez nous.

As I wrote to you before, it will take some time before this
glorious work meets with the swans which are to draw its barque
to the banks of the Spree and the Elbe. Ganders and turkeys would
like to lead it to shipwreck, but do not lose patience, and have
confidence in the moderate amount of practical knowledge which
your friend places loyally at your service and disposal. In the
early days of August my pamphlet "Lohengrin et Tannhauser" will
appear; it was written for a purpose which neither you nor your
friends have hitherto been able to guess, and which it will take
me some time to attain. I am far, however, from despairing of
that attainment, but shall not let you know till the moment of
success, in order to avoid unnecessary words--a habit which is
growing upon me more and more. If you follow my advice, dear
friend, write to H. in the sense indicated by you; that is, ask
him to keep his good intentions for the engraving of one of your
full scores till after the first performance of "Siegfried", and
to publish for the present only the pianoforte score of
"Lohengrin". Send to me here, please, if you possess them, the
numbers of the "Monatsschrift" of Kollatschek containing your and
Uhlig's articles. Heine in the same number has thought it
necessary to make some of his rhymed jokes at my expense with his
usual spirit. More than a fortnight ago I subscribed to that
magazine through my bookseller, but as yet it has not reached me.
Farewell, dearest friend. Believe me that I am truly vexed at not
being able to attend the rendezvous which you propose, and which
would have given me great pleasure--the pleasure of seeing you
again and of having plenty of talk with you.

Always rely upon your


EILSEN, July 3d, 1851.



I had just come down from the Alps when I found your letter,
which again has given me the greatest joy. I thank you with my
whole heart for your advice, so speedily given. You agree with me
as to Hartel's offer; I expected so much, and it is a
confirmation of my right sense in the matter. The full score of
"Siegfried" it is to be, then. I feel as safe with you as a child
in the mother's bosom; you take such care of me, dearest friend.

Uhlig is here. He has taken every trouble and made every
sacrifice to save enough for a visit to me in Switzerland.
Considering his cool, quiet, and passionless nature, the faithful
attachment and friendship of this young man are of great value to
me. As a very young musician he attracted my attention in the
Dresden orchestra by his uncommon musical certainty and
circumspection. Being struck by traits of unusual force of
character and of a firm, manly disposition, I admitted him to
intimate intercourse, and found a man who in the poorest
circumstances had developed himself entirely out of himself. Thus
I gained a friend who subsequently from a distance made it the
task of his life, as far as his power extended, to serve me in a
manner which,--the inclination being equal in both cases,--has
been surpassed only by your brilliant genius.

You wanted to have some numbers of the Deutsche Monatsschrift. I
happen to possess them, and send them to you, although I do not
quite see of what use they can be to you. My book "Oper und
Drama," in which I certainly express myself in a decisive, firm,
and detailed manner, is passing through the press very slowly,
and will probably not be ready before two months. Out of this
book I have, by special desire, communicated some articles about
modern dramatic poetry to the Monatsschrift, but am now sorry for
it, for, torn out of their context, they are not particularly
clear. I send them to you all the same, although I should almost
like to ask you to ignore them. As you will not get the
Monatsschrift, because it will be discontinued, I send you
another number with an article entitled "Wir," by Solger; it is
written so prettily that I should almost like you to read it. So
many stupid things have appeared in that Monatsschrift that the
detached good bits really deserve attention. As to Heine's stupid
joke you will probably not be in need of comfort. Lord, how
delighted I am with my "Young Siegfried"; he will deliver me once
for all from all literature and journalism. This month I require
fully to recover my health in order to rush at the music next
month. The copy of the poem I shall send you by Uhlig, if not

May the god who dwells in both of us keep you healthy and happy.
With pleasure I see from your letter that the Princess also is
recovering. I hope you will both get safely back to Weimar, which
is more and more becoming my real spiritual home.

Farewell, and be greeted from the full heart of your


ENGE, ZURICH, July 11th, 1851.


I am much obliged, dearest friend, for your sending me the
Monatsschrift of Kollatschek, which I had been unable to get
previously. As soon as I have read the articles which interest me
I shall return them to you, and perhaps you might send me the
numbers which contain the continuation of Uhlig's articles on
instrumental music.

To my regret, I shall probably miss Uhlig's visit to Weymar, for
I shall not be able to leave here till between the 26th and 30th
of this month, and shall travel very slowly by Dusseldorf,
Cologne, Frankfort, to Weymar, which I shall not reach till about
the 10th of August. But in any case I shall go to see Uhlig at
Dresden in the course of the autumn, for I attach real value to
the continuance of my friendly relations with him, and I ask you
to assure him of this as well as of my sincere and loyal

I send you today the letter of M. Philipront, of Brussels, and
the draft of my answer, by which you can regulate your subsequent
correspondence with those gentlemen. For many reasons, I ask you
specially not to give way on the two conditions of your
collaboration in the adjustment of the French words to the music
and of your presence at the general rehearsals, which I have
mentioned distinctly to M. Philipront as necessary, and without
which, entre nous, "Lohengrin" would run a great risk of being
abominably cut and slashed.

I am delighted that you agree with my opinion about the
publication of the score of "Lohengrin." In this, as in other
matters, the Hartels have behaved with a tact and good taste for
which one ought to be truly thankful, and I feel convinced that
the scores of both "Siegfried" and "Lohengrin" will appear at
short intervals, and in the course of two years. But, all things
considered, I think it advisable to begin with the pianoforte
score of "Lohengrin", to be followed by the full score of
"Siegfried", and finally that of "Lohengrin", in 1853 or perhaps

If Uhlig leaves you before the end of the month, he might inquire
at Buckeburg whether I have left Eilsen, for he is obliged to
pass through Buckeburg if he takes the railway from Cologne or
Dusseldorf, which will be the shortest route to return to
Dresden. I have written this to him in my last letter, which
should have reached him. I should like very much to see him here,
and you will oblige me by giving him a pressing invitation on my
account. What has become of your disciple Ritter? Remember me to
him when you see him. The manuscript of "Wiland", which is still
locked up in a chest at Weymar, will be sent on demand to Uhlig
immediately after my return there.

The Princess, who, God be thanked, has been perceptibly better
these last days, charges me with her admiration for you, to which
I add only the simple expression of my friendship and true

F. L.

Draft of my answer to M. Philipront, which, I hope, will draw the
question of the "Lohengrin" performance at Brussels out of

"Sir,--As your letter of July 6th did not find me at Weymar, you
will kindly excuse the delay of my answer. When Herr Wagner
informed me of the proposal of M. Hanssens to perform "Lohengrin"
at the Brussels theatre and asked my opinion of the matter, I
advised him to thank M. Hanssens for the hospitality he had
offered to that beautiful work and to accept it on two
conditions, which seem to me indispensable for its full success.
They are that the author should collaborate in the adjustment of
the French words to the music, and that the last two rehearsals
should take place in his presence. "Lohengrin" belongs by no
means to the ordinary run of operas, but is in all respects an
exceptional and sublime work; and it would therefore, in my
opinion, be dangerous to attempt a performance which would not be
completely identified with the ideas and intentions of the poet-
composer. In another fortnight I shall have an opportunity of
sending you a copy of my pamphlet on "Lohengrin", which will
appear at the beginning of August (in French, Brockhaus,
Leipzig). If, after having read it, you continue in your
intention of giving "Lohengrin" at the Brussels theatre and of
rendering a double service to dramatic art and the author, you
can easily communicate direct with Herr Wagner as to the
arrangements for carrying out the two conditions made and
insisted upon by him.

"I am, Sir, etc.,


"EILSEN, July 16th

"The theatre of Weymar not being able to part with its one copy
of the score of "Lohengrin", in consequence of the frequent
performances of that work, it is out of my power to send it to
you; but Herr Wagner will, no doubt, send you either the original
manuscript or a copy, specially made for Brussels.

"The address of Herr Wagner is 'Abendstern, Enge, Zurich.'"



Two words only. You have understood "Lohengrin" aright; Stahr has
not. I withdraw my consent to his opinion; it was given in haste.
You will soon hear more from me, best of all men!



August 23rd, 1851



At last I am able to break my long silence. The contents of this
letter will show you with regard to how many and comparatively
important matters I had to come to a clear decision before I
could write to you in the definite manner which has now become

My silence was to a large extent caused by my weak state of
health. For more than two months I have been using a water cure,
and during that time I found it quite impossible to write to you
at such length as I felt more and more every day that I ought to
do. A most cogent reason for writing to you arose to me from
reading your pamphlet on my two operas, which I received at the
hydropathic establishment. Your rare friendship for me, your
energetic love of my works, your restless zeal in making
propaganda for those works, and, before all, the splendid
enthusiasm, the spirit, the subtlety, and boldness with which
your zeal inspired you, moved me too deeply and powerfully to
allow me to express my gratitude in the excited state in which I
was. I had to leave this to a time when better health and a more
collected mind would make it possible for me to communicate with
you at greater length. I hope now to have got so far, and must
tell you first of all that the sacrifice of the most beautiful
affection which you have again offered me has moved me to the
heart and has made me very glad and happy. You have moved me most
deeply in all those parts where you had come to a perfect
agreement with me, for the reason that this agreement was not a
ready-made thing, but a discovery new to both of us. Most
specially were my attention, sympathy, and eagerness awakened
when I saw my original intention newly reflected in the mirror of
your individual conception; for here I was able to realize fully
the impression I had been fortunate enough to produce on your
fertile artistic receptivity.

What you have been to me I tried recently to explain in a public
manner, and having to write for publicity, I did so as soberly as
possible, limiting myself entirely to the facts of our relations
which I wanted to explain to those who perhaps could not
understand such a friendship nowadays. I did this, being
irresistibly impelled by my heart, in a "Mittheilung an meine
Freunde," which I prefixed as an introduction to my three
operatic poems. In the same place I stated plainly that I had
despaired of ever again undertaking an artistic task, and that to
you and your active sympathy it was solely due if I once more had
gathered sufficient courage and energy for an artistic
enterprise, which I should dedicate to you and to those of my
friends comprised in "the local idea: Weimar." The timidity of
Messrs. Hartel, the publishers of the book, has taken exception
to certain passages in that preface to which I did not wish to
have any demonstrative intention attributed, and which I might
have expressed just as well in a different way; and the
appearance of the book has in consequence been much retarded, to
my great annoyance, for special reasons.

For the public declaration as to the intended destiny of my next
dramatic work would, owing to my latest resolution, require an
essential modification if it were to be quite in accordance with
actual circumstances. But, although the preface, written at the
beginning of last August, appears in the present circumstances
too late, the aforesaid declaration will be given to the public
without any change; and if I cannot fulfill the promise given in
it in the manner there stated, it may at least serve you and my
Weimar friends as a proof of the genuine sincerity of the
intention then held by me. I should also be glad to think that in
that public declaration I have furnished a sign of my gratitude
for the sympathy they have shown to me, even if, as I said
before, I cannot prove that gratitude in the exact manner there

To you, my dear Liszt, I am now compelled to confess that my
resolution of writing a new opera for Weimar has been so
essentially modified as scarcely to exist any longer in that

Hear then the strictly veracious account of the artistic
enterprise in which I have been engaged for some time, and the
turn it had of necessity to take.

In the autumn of 1848 I sketched for the first time the complete
myth of the "Nibelungen", such as it henceforth belongs to me as
my poetic property. My next attempt at dramatizing the chief
catastrophe of that great action for our theatre was "Siegfried's
Death". After much wavering I was at last, in the autumn of 1850,
on the point of sketching the musical execution of this drama,
when again the obvious impossibility of having it adequately
performed anywhere prevented me in the first instance from
beginning the work. To get rid of this desperate mood, I wrote
the book "Oper und Drama." Last spring your article on
"Lohengrin" inspired me to such a degree that for your sake I
resumed the execution of a drama quickly and joyously; this I
wrote to you at the time: but "Siegfried's Death"--that, I knew
for certain, was in the first instance impossible. I found that I
should have to prepare it by another drama, and therefore took up
the long-cherished idea of making the young Siegfried the subject
of a poem. In it everything that in "Siegfried's Death" was
either narrated or more or less taken for granted was to be shown
in bold and vivid outline by means of actual representation. This
poem was soon sketched and completed. When I was going to send it
to you, I for the first time felt a peculiar anxiety. It seemed
as if I could not possibly send it to you without explanation, as
if I had many things to tell you, partly as to the manner of
representation and partly as to the necessary comprehension of
the poem itself. In the first instance it occurred to me that I
still had many and various things to communicate previous to my
coming before my friends with this poem. It was for that reason
that I wrote the long preface to my three earlier operatic poems,
of which mention has already been made. After this I was going to
begin the composition, and found, to my joy, that the music
adapted itself to these verses quite naturally and easily, as of
its own accord. But the very commencement of the work reminded me
that I should ruin my health entirely if I did not take care of
it thoroughly before yielding to my impulse and finishing the
work at a stretch and probably without interruption. When I went
to the hydropathic establishment, I felt compelled at last to
send you the poem; but, strangely enough, something always seemed
to restrain me. I was led to hesitate, because I felt as if your
acquaintance with this poem would place you in a certain awkward
position, as if you would not exactly know what to make of it,
whether to receive it with hope or diffidence. At last, on mature
consideration, my plan in its logical sequence became clear to
me. Listen to me:--

This "Young Siegfried" also is no more than a fragment, and as a
separate entity it cannot produce its proper and sure impression
until it occupies its necessary place in a complete whole, a
place which I now assign to it, together with "Siegfried's
Death," in my newly designed plan. In these two dramas a number
of necessary relations were left to the narrative or even to the
sagacity of the hearer. Everything that gave to the action and
the character of these two dramas their infinitely touching and
widely spreading significance had to be omitted in the
representation, and could be communicated to the mind alone. But,
according to my inmost conviction since formed, a work of art,
and especially a drama, can have its true effect only when the
poetic intention in all its more important motives speaks fully
to the senses, and I cannot and dare not sin against this truth
which I have recognized. I am compelled therefore to communicate
my entire myth in its deepest and widest significance with the
greatest artistic precision, so as to be fully understood.
Nothing in it must in any sense be left to be supplied by thought
or reflection; the unsophisticated human mind must be enabled by
its artistic receptivity to comprehend the whole, because by that
means only may the most detached parts be rightly understood.

Two principal motives of my myth therefore remain to be
represented, both of which are hinted at in "Young Siegfried",
the first in the long narrative of Brynhild after her awakening
(Act III.), the second in the scene between Alberich and the
Wanderer in the second act and between the Wanderer and Mime in
the first. That to this I was led not only by artistic
reflection, but by the splendid and, for the purpose of
representation, extremely rich material of these motives, you
will readily understand when you consider the subject more
closely. Think then of the wondrously fatal love of Siegmund and
Siegelinde, of Wotan in his deep, mysterious relation to that
love, in his dispute with Fricka, in his terrible self-contention
when, for the sake of custom, he decrees the death of Siegmund,
finally of the glorious Valkyrie Brynhild, as, divining the
innermost thought of Wotan, she disobeys the god, and is punished
by him; consider this wealth of motive indicated in the scene
between the Wanderer and the Wala, and at greater length in the
above-mentioned tale of Brynhild, as the material of a drama
which precedes the two Siegfrieds; and you will understand that
it was not reflection, but rather enthusiasm, which inspired my
latest plan.

That plan extends to three dramas: (l) "The Valkyrie"; (2) "Young
Siegfried"; (3) "Siegfried's Death". In order to give everything
completely, these three dramas must be preceded by a grand
introductory play: "The Rape of the Rhinegold". The object is the
complete representation of everything in regard to this rape: the
origin of the Nibelung treasure, the possession of that treasure
by Wotan, and the curse of Alberich, which in "Young Siegfried"
occur in the form of a narrative. By the distinctness of
representation which is thus made possible, and which at the same
time does away with everything of the nature of a lengthy
narration, or at least condenses it in a few pregnant moments, I
gain sufficient space to intensify the wealth of relations, while
in the previous semi-epical mode of treatment I was compelled to
cut down and enfeeble all this. I mention only one thing:--

Alberich ascends from the depth of the earth to the three
daughters of the Rhine; he persecutes them with his loathsome
wooing; rejected by one, he turns to the other; laughing and
teasing, they all refuse the gnome. Then the Rhinegold begins to
glow; Alberich is attracted; he inquires as to its meaning; the
girls tell him that they use it as a bright plaything, and that
its splendour lights up the depth of the waves with blissful
glow, but that he might work many wonders, might gain power and
strength, wealth and dominion, through means of the gold, who
could weld it to a ring. But only he who renounces love can do
this. They tell him that to prevent any one from robbing the gold
they have been appointed its warders, for he who approaches them
would certainly not desire the gold; Alberich at least is not
likely to do this, as he is so much in love with them. Again they
laugh at him. Then the Nibelung grows furious, he robs the gold,
and takes it with him into the depths.

But enough of these particulars. Let me tell you my plan for the
practical execution of the whole.

Of a separation of the materials of this great whole I cannot
think without destroying my object at the outset. The entire
cycle of dramas must be represented in rapid sequence, and their
external embodiment can be thought of only in the following
favourable circumstances. The performance of my Nibelung dramas
will have to take place at a great festival, to be arranged
perhaps especially for the purpose of this performance. It will
have to extend over three consecutive days, the introductory
drama to be given on the previous evening. If a performance in
such circumstances has been accomplished, the whole may in the
first instance be repeated on another occasion, and after that
the single dramas, being complete in themselves, may be given
separately ad libitum; but in any case the impression of a
continuous performance must have gone before.

Where and in what circumstances such a performance may become
possible I must not for the present consider, for first of all I
have to complete my great work, and that will take me at least
three years if I have any regard for my health.

A fortunate turn in the affairs of my intimate friends the R.
family has had the effect that for that time and for the rest of
my life I may attend to my artistic creations quietly and
undisturbed by material cares. When once I have finished my great
work, means will, I hope, be found of having it performed
according to my design. If Weimar is still standing then, and if
your efforts at doing something fine there have been more
fortunate than at present, alas! seems likely, and more than
likely, we shall see how the matter can be managed.

However bold, extraordinary, and perhaps fantastic my plan may
appear to you, be convinced that it is not the outgrowth of a
mere passing whim, but has been imposed upon me by the necessary
consequences of the essence and being of the subject which
occupies me wholly and impels me towards its complete execution.
To execute it according to my power as a poet and musician is the
only thing that stands before my eyes; anything else must not
trouble me for the present. Knowing your way of thinking, I do
not doubt for a moment that you will agree with me and encourage
my purpose, although it will frustrate for the moment your
flattering wish soon to produce another work of mine.

After this I may confess that the definite alteration of my plan
relieves me of an almost painful difficulty: the difficulty of
having to demand the performance of "Young Siegfried" of the
Weimar theatre. Only now, together with this explanation, do I
send you the poem of "Young Siegfried" with a light heart, for I
know that now you will read it without the anxiety which the
thought of its completion and of its performance at the Weimar
theatre, such as it is and cannot help being, would necessarily
have caused in you. Let us have no illusions on this subject.
What you, and you alone, have done for me at Weimar, is
astonishing, and was all the more important for me, as without
you I should have been entirely forgotten. Instead of this you
have used all the means which you alone could have brought
together in drawing towards me the public attention of lovers of
art with such energy and such success that your efforts on behalf
of me and my reputation are the only thing which enables me even
to think of the execution of such plans as the one I have just
communicated to you. This I see with perfect clearness, and I
call you openly the creator of my actual position, which may
perhaps lead to great things in the future.

I further ask, What expectations have you still of Weimar? With
sad candour I must tell you that, after all, I consider your
trouble about Weimar to be fruitless. Your experience is that as
soon as you turn your back the most perfect vulgarity springs
luxuriantly from the soil in which you had laboured to plant the
noblest things; you return, and have just ploughed up once more
half of the soil, when the tares begin to sprout even more
impertinently. Truly I watch you with sadness. On every side of
you I see the stupidity, the narrow-mindedness, the vulgarity,
and the empty vanity of jealous courtiers, who are only too sadly
justified in envying the success of genius.

But enough of this disgusting matter. For my sake I care no
longer about it, for I have quite made up my mind as to it, but I
care about it for your sake. I hope you will arrive at my opinion
before it is too late for your good humour.

It is quite touching to me to have in a manner to take leave of
our amiable Zigesar; I must write to him and at the same time pay
my debt to him. This last is one of the most painful features of
the explanation which will be necessary.

You are aware that I had determined upon writing a new work for
you before the pecuniary arrangement between Zigesar and me was
made. That such an arrangement was made and was offered to me by


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