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hers than; ulations in Philosophy. Besides these metaphysical inquiries,

and the usual attainments in classical literature, Novalis seems

to have devoted himself with ardour to the Physical Scicontinued ences, and to Mathematics the basis of them :' at an early

period of his life, he had read much of History with ext. Ine traordinary eagerness ;' Poems had from of old been the Ay fie delight of his leisure ;' particularly that species denominated his mute Mährchen (Traditionary Tale), which continued a favourite

with him to the last ; as almost from infancy it had been a

chosen amusement of his to read these compositions, and the niuth

even to recite such, of his own invention. One remarkable piece of that sort he has himself left us, inserted in Heinrich von Ofterdingen, his chief literary performance.

But the time had now arrived, when study must become subordinate to action, and what is called a profession be fixed upon. At the breaking-out of the French War, Novalis had been seized with a strong and altogether unexpected taste for a military life : however, the arguments and pressing entreaties of his friends ultimately prevailed over this whim; it seems to have been settled that he should follow his father's line of occupation ; and so, about the end of 1794, he removed to Arnstadt in Thuringia, “ to train himself in practical affairs under the Kreis-Amtmann Just.' In this KreisAmtmann (Manager of a Circle) he found a wise and kind friend ; applied himself honestly to business; and in all his serious calculations may have looked forward to a life as smooth and commonplace as his past years had been. One incident, and that too of no unusual sort, appears, in Tieck's opinion, to have altered the whole form of his existence.

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'It was not very long after his arrival at Arnstadt, when in a coun* 21"

try mansion of the neighbourhood, he became acquainted with Sophie von K — The first glance of this fair and wonderfully lovely form was decisive for his whole life; nay, we may say that the feeling, which now penetrated and inspired him, was the substance and essence of his whole life. Sometimes, in the look and figure of a child, there will stamp itself an expression, which, as it is too angelic and ethereally beautiful, we are forced to call unearthly or celestial ; and




commonly, at sight of such purified and almost transparent faces, there comes on us a fear that they are too tender and delicately fashioned for this life; that it is Death, or Immortality, which looks forth so expressively on us from these glancing eyes; and too often a quick decay converts our mournful foreboding into certainty. Still more affecting are such figures, when their first period is happily passed over, and they come before us blooming on the eve of maidhood. All persons that have known this wondrous loved one of our Friend, agree in testifying that no description can express in what grace and celestial harmony the fair being moved, what beauty shone in her, what softness and majesty encircled her. Novalis became a poet every time he chanced to speak of it. She had concluded her thirteenth year when he first saw her : the spring and summer of 1795 were the blooming time of his life ; every hour that he could spare from business he spent in Grüningen : and in the fall of that same year he obtained the wished-for promise from Sophie's parents.'

Unhappily, however, these halcyon days were of too short continuance. Soon after this, Sophie fell dangerously sick of a fever, attended with pains in the side ;' and her lover had the worst consequences to fear. By and by, indeed, the fever left her ; but not the pain, “which by its violence still spoiled for her many a fair hour,' and gave rise to various apprehensions, though the Physician asserted that it was of no importance. Partly satisfied with this favourable prognostication, Novalis had gone to Weissenfels, to his parents; and was full of business ; being now appointed Auditor in the department of which his father was Director: through winter the news from Grüningen were of a favourable sort; in spring he visited the family himself, and found his Sophie to all appearance well. But suddenly, in summer, his hopes and occupations were interrupted by tidings that

she was in Jena, and had undergone a surgical operation.' Her disease was an abscess in the liver: it had been her wish that he should not hear of her danger till the worst were over. The Jena Surgeon gave hopes of recovery though a slow one; but ere long the operation had to be repeated, and now it was feared that his patient's strength was too far exhausted. The young maiden bore all this with inflexible


courage and the cheerfullest resignation : her Mother and Sister, Novalis, with his parents and two of his Brothers, all deeply interested in the event, did their utmost to comfort her. In December, by her own wish, she returned home; but it was evident that she grew weaker and weaker. Novalis went and came between Grüningen and Weissenfels, where also he found a house of mourning; for Erasmus, one of these two Brothers, had long been sickly, and was now believed to be dying.

'The 17th of March,' says Tieck, 'was the fifteenth birthday of his Sophie; and on the 19th, about noon, she departed. No one durst tell Novalis these tidings; at last his Brother Carl undertook it. The poor youth shut himself up, and after three days and three nights of weeping, set out for Arnstadt, that there, with his true friend, he might be near the spot, which now hid the remains of what was dearest to him. On the 14th of April, his Brother Erasmus also left this world. Novalis wrote to inform his Brother Carl of the event, who had been obliged to make a journey into Lower Saxony : "Be of good courage,” said he, “Erasmus has prevailed; the flowers of our fair garland are dropping off Here, one by one, that they may be united Yonder, lovelier and forever.”

Among the papers published in these Volumes are three letters written about this time, which mournfully indicate the author's mood. “It has grown Evening around me,' says he, while I was looking into the red of Morning. My grief is boundless as my love. For three years she has been my

hourly thought. She alone bound me to life, to the country, "to my occupations. With her I am parted from all ; for now I scarcely have myself any more.

But it has grown Evening; and I feel as if I had to travel early; and so I would fain be at rest, and see nothing but kind faces about me ;

all in her spirit would I live, be soft and mild-hearted as she was.' And again, some weeks later : ‘I live over the old, bygone life here, in still meditation. Yesterday I

was twenty-five years old. I was in Grüningen, and stood beside her grave. It is a friendly spot; enclosed with sim‘ple white railing; lies apart and high. There is still room

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in it. The village, with its blooming gardens, leans up • round the hill; and at this point and that, the eye loses itself in blue distances. I know you would have liked to • stand by me, and stick the flowers, my birthday gifts, one by one into her hillock. This time two years, she made me a gay present, with a flag and national cockade on it. Today her parents gave me the little things which she, still * joyfully, had received on her last birthday. Friend, - it continues Evening, and will soon be Night. If you go away, think of me kindly, and visit, when you return, the • still house, where your Friend rests forever, with the ashes • of his beloved. Fare you well!'— Nevertheless, a singular composure came over him; from the very depths of his grief arose a peace and pure joy, such as till then he had never known.

'In this season,' observes Tieck, ‘Novalis lived only to his sorrow: it was natural for him to regard the visible and the invisible world as one; and to distinguish Life and Death only by his longing for the latter. At the same time too, Life became for him a glorified Life ; and his whole being melted away as into a bright, conscious vision of a higher Existence. From the sacredness of Sorrow, from heartfelt love and the pious wish for death, his temper and all his conceptions are to be explained : and it seems possible that this time, with its deep griefs, planted in him the germ of death, if it was not, in any case, his appointed lot to be so soon snatched away from us.

· He remained many weeks in Thuringia; and came back comforled and truly purified, to his engagements; which he pursued more zealously than ever, though he now regarded himself as a stranger on the earth. In this period, some earlier, many later, especially in the Autumn of this year, occur most of those compositions, which, in the way of extract and selection, we have here given to the Public, under the title of Fragments; so likewise the Hymns to the Night.'

Such is our Biographer's account of this matter, and of the weighty inference it has led him to. We have detailed at the more minutely, and almost in the very words of the text, the better to put our readers in a condition for judging on what grounds Tieck rests his opinion, That herein lies the key to the whole spiritual history of Novalis, that 'the feeling which now penetrated and inspired him, may be said to have been the substance of his Life. It would ill become us to contradict one so well qualified to judge of all subjects, and who enjoyed such peculiar opportunities for forming a right judgment of this: meanwhile we may say that, to our own minds, after all consideration, the certainty of this hypothesis will nowise become clear. Or rather, perhaps, it is to the expression, to the too determinate and exclusive language in which the hypothesis is worded, that we should object; for so plain does the truth of the case seem to us, we cannot but believe that Tieck himself would consent to modify his statement. That the whole philosophical and moral existence of such a man as Novalis should have been shaped and determined by the death of a young girl, almost a child, specially distinguished, so far as is shown, by nothing save her beauty, which at any rate must have been very short-lived, - will doubtless seem to every one a singular concatenation. We cannot but think that some result precisely similar in moral effect might have been attained by many different means ; nay that by one means or another, it would not have failed to be attained. For spirits like Novalis, earthly fortune is in no instance so sweet and smooth, that it does not by and by teach the great doctrine of Entsagen, of Renunciation,' by which alone, as a wise man well known to Herr Tieck has observed, can the real entrance on Life be properly said to begin.' Experience, the grand Schoolmaster, seems to have taught Novalis this doctrine very early, by the wreck of his first passionate wish ; and herein lies the real influence of Sophie von K. on his character; an influence which, as we imagine, many other things might and would have equally exerted : for it is less the severity of the Teacher than the aptness of the Pupil that secures the lesson ; nor do the purifying effects of frustrated Hope, and Affection which in this world will ever be homeless, depend on the worth or loveliness of its objects, but on that of the heart which cherished it, and can draw mild

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