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within the walls of that church-yard : is that then a place for the re-establishment of a debilitated frame and shattered nerves, or for restoring to its proper tone a mind tossed about with a tempest of agony?
“ There is no occasion to go thither," methinks I hear observed, by some sage, cold-blooded, insensible hearts.
“Would it be in my power to control myself?" I ask. “: Could reason or friendship restrain me? Or, if I did put such a constraint upon my feelings, would that diminish my agony? or would not this constant struggle rather prove a perpetual aggravation of it?” And perhaps all I should gain at last by such conflicts, would be the sneering appellation of a sentimental fool.
And, supposing I abstain from going to the churchyard, whither else should I go? Is there a spot in Weimar or its neighbourhood that I have not traversed with my Frederica, and shall I now traverse them alone ? Shall I take a walk in the park? That was my Frederica's favourite resort; not a foot of ground is there within its extensive circuit over which I have not wandered with her on my arm, not a bench on which we have not sat together, not a prospect that we have not admired together! There, at a river, have we fed the Muscovy ducks, swung our little William in the swing between the trees, or at the bridge bought fish out of the trunks; every where I should find something to recall my Frederica to my remembrance !-everywhere should I see the image of my
Frederica ! Into the park, then, I can as little go as into the church-yard, though in both I might find relief to my wounded heart, for it must break!
Shall I fly to my mother's house !-- There I have lived with my wife, there too every object must remind me of my lost happiness. At that table we breakfasted together-at that toilette she used to dress from that harpsichord she drew tones, soft and sweet as her own heart! That was the place where she sat at dinner; on this sofa we have reclined together while she read to me, when I was too ill to attend to anything but her loved voice. That was her sleeping-room, and in that room—she died !No! no! he has never loved who can importune me to spend another hour in that house !-- It is to me a yawning grave, and though I can no longer find
any charms in life, I must not forget that I have children.
What then would remain for me? To mix with society. But society I cannot at present bear, at least not the society of persons formerly known to me. Nothing is so dreadful as the thought of going among those who would pity me, who would perpetually be asking how I find myself? who would endeavour to console me, would talk to me of the wise decrees of heaven, of reason, of piety, of resignation. I know I have friends there who would cordially sympathize in my sorrow, but they could not secure me from the intrusion of unsolicited comforters, and these I cannot help seeing in imagination accosting me at every step with their common-place saws, which would drive me to distraction,
Away, then, with the idea of such consolers ! I do not wish to be consoled, neither do I wish any one to weep with me. These things sound well, but are in fact fine sounding phrases only. Who can indeed weep with me, for who can feel like myself what I have lost? I am more composed amid a crowd of unknown faces, who are ignorant of the heavy calamity I have experienced, than surrounded by those who have been accustomed to see me in happier circumstances. Here, I am not afraid of being assailed by remarks that would only irritate and inflame anew those wounds, the smart of which is beginning in some degree to abate. Here, I can weep alone and unmolested, no one observes my tears, or aggravates iny sorrow by attempting its alleviation.
Strange that I should be reproached with endeayouring to fly from melancholy recollections !--And who would not fly them?-I am advised to remove this suspicion by returning.–No! this suspicion is well founded, and I neither can nor will refute it. I fled Weimar, that my sorrow might not be perpetually nourished; and how this conduct so natural, so consonant to human feelings, should injure my character, is to me incomprehensible. That in flying that scene of woe, I have not forgotten my beloved wife, these pages will sufficiently testify. The vicinity of her grave is not necessary to remind me of my Frederica: who would rush into the flames when he only seeks to warm himself?
But it may be urged, that I have children at Weimar, who have a claim on my attention. It is because I feel their claims so deeply, that I am exerting every effort to restore my mind to such a state as may enable me properly to fulfil the sacred duties of a father. At present, they are placed in situations that render my immediate care unnecessary. The eldest is with a very worthy and respectable man at Schnepfenthal, who possesses both the will and ability faithfully to discharge the duties of a guardian. Far better is it for him to remain there till his father's mind be composed, than for his infant heart to be made a witness of sorrows that might throw clouds over the cheerfulness of youth which no time could disperse. To the youngest, at present, the attentions of a nurse are more necessáry than those of a father; she is with her excellent grandmother, she cannot be in better hands ; indeed, I will freely own, that my bosom must experience many a severe conflict before it can be reconciled to the daily sight of this child. She cost her hapless mother her life ! and can I behold her, though innocent, without recurring to this recollection ?
Let not then my Alght be considered as having interfered with any of my duties. I am satisfied that it was the only means of saving my reason, perhaps my life, and am firmly resolved never more to revisit my once-loved native town. I here return my grateful thanks to those of its inhabitants with whom I lived in social and friendly intercourse, for the many happy hours passed in their society. I return my grateful thanks to those who loved and valued my Frederica; particularly are they returned to the two worthy physicians for every moment of ease their skill procured her during her last painful illness ! And thou, my best of friends, G- the warmest effusions of my gratitude are thine. Thou art a man of no common cast, for thou didst prove, what is so rarely to be found, a friend in need! I cannot be lavish of words, let silence speak for me!
Thus I take an eternal farewell of thee, thou scene of happiness to the boy, of misery to the man ! Within thy walls I first received existence—within thy walls that existence was again lost, since, what remains to me of life, I scarcely can count as existence. Hope and joy accompanied me as I entered thy gates, -despair and misery drove me out from them again !--Mayest thou never become the scene of like misery to any other of thine inhabitants !
At Erfurth we went to the sign of the Black Thorn The last time I was there we had put up at the Roman Emperor, but my Frederica was then with me, and I could go there no more.
At the Black Thorn, we met the baron von Oa very pleasing and well-informed young man, with a head and heart of the true coinage. I hegged him to accompany us. He was affected by my situation. He is perfectly at his own disposal; he needed not much entreaty, but immediately consented to my request, and getting into the chaise with us, we proceeded onwards.
November 30. On this day we arrived at Mentz. Even winter cannot deprive the country around that town of its charms. He who could not, though labouring under the pressure of severe affliction, feel the beauties of the prospect in descending the hill from Hochheim, where the noble Rhine appears proudly embracing the lovely, though less stately Maine, as his bride, with the magnificent town of Mentz spread along the banks of both rivers, and the vine-covered hills by which it is surrounded-he who could not feel these things must be a wretched man indeed. Such a one I truly pity, he is even more wretched than myself!
December 2. I was separated from the excellent G- He returned to Weimar to a wife whom he tenderly loves! Heaven reward his kindness to me by sparing that treasure to him!-I desired him to take back my carriage, it had been the scene of many happy hours spent with my Frederica, and I could not bear to proceed in it. Everything unnecessary too I also sent back, resolving to proceed in the diligence with my friend 0-, harassing myself with as few incumbrances as possible. The little dog alone I could not dismiss. I used to dislike this poor animal, but now I feel that I cannot part with him as long as he lives.
December 3. A melancholy morning. The image of my Frederica was never absent from me for a moment. · To give vent to the anguish of my soul, I began to write the detail of her illness. It occupied my mind, and I found it some relief. I will therefore continue it 'tis a soothing though painful employment.
I this day became acquainted with a man who had long appeared to me in an amiable light as an author,