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Full text of "Early Letters Of Robert Schumann"

KANSAS CITY, MO. PUBLIC LIBRARY 

ODD1 4S3b3fiO D 




ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



EARLY LETTERS 



OF 



ROBERT SCHUMANN, 

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY HIS WIFE, 



TRANSLATED BY 



MAY HERBERT. 




LONDON: 

GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET 
COVENT GARDEN 



CHISWICK PRESS: -c. WHITTINGHAM AND co., TOOKS COURT, 

CHANCERY LANE. 




PREFACE. 

HESE letters will be welcome to very 
many. The admirers of Schumann now 
number thousands in England, and the 
feeling towards him is a personal one 
love of a friend, not admiration of a composer. It 
was not so always -; but we have gained by the 
experience of thirty years. Everyone who loves him 
will be glad to see what manner of youth he was ; 
how the character which we know in his music was 
built up ; the difficulties he had, and how he subdued 
them ; his strong love to his mother and family, and 
how irresistibly he was drawn against all obstacles to 
the art in which he became so great a master. 

The disclosures respecting his early compositions 
are hardly less interesting. The information on the 
origin of the early piano pieces, the first still-unpub- 
lished Symphony, the Songs which seem to have 
sprung up, as it were, in a night and all the rest, will 
be greedily welcomed by those who delight in this 
interesting branch of history. 



vi PREFACE. 



Lastly, everyone will be glad of the glimpses given 
of the early years of the distinguished lady who shares 
Schumann's name, who has had so much to do with 
the appreciation of her husband in this country, and 
who is happily still alive, and still able to gratify the 
world as no one else can by her unrivalled classical 
powers. 

GEORGE GROVE. 

October I4th, 1887. 




MADAME SCHUMANN'S PREFACE TO 
THE GERMAN EDITION. 




Y object In publishing the following letters 
was that those who love and honour 
Schumann as an artist might also learn 
to know him as a man. 
Unfortunately the world knows more of his pecu- 
liarities than of his character, since he was intimate 
with but very few, though to those dearest to him, he 
opened his heart without reserve. These letters there- 
fore form a beautiful memorial, revealing all the 
treasures of an ideal youthful nature, strong and 
energetic, and filled with the highest aims and 
aspirations. 

Though they will not be without interest, even to 
those who have no sympathy with the musician, all 
who have learned to love Schumann's works will be 
delighted to find the close correspondence between 
artist and man, and the wonderful manner in which 
his compositions reflect his thoughtful mind and high 
intellect 



viu PREFACE TO THE GERMAN EDITION. 

As an entire collection of Schumann's letters could 
not but be imperfect at present, I have restricted 
myself to those of his youth. 1 They enable us to 
follow the entire development of his character, and 
give a complete picture of the short period between 
his 1 8th and his 30th year, 

A few necessary omissions are indicated by . . . . 
and in the case of an illegible word or doubtful 
sentence I have put my own interpretation in brackets 
[ ]. The letters marked "from Schumann's letter- 
book/' were only accessible to me in that form, and I 
do not know whether they were ever sent, or whether 
the same words were used. A few explanatory notes 
have been added when necessary, but on the whole 
the reader is supposed to be familiar with Robert 
Schumann's life. 

CLARA SCHUMANN. 

Frankfort-on-the-Maine, October, 1885. 



volume (1828-1854) edited by F. G* Jansen has 
since been published, TR. 




CONTENTS. 




Flechsig at Leipsic, July, 1827 . 
From a Letter to Flechsig at Leipsic, 

Aug. 29, 1827 

From a Letter to Flechsig, Dec. i, 1827 
To Flechsig at Leipsic, March iyth, 1828 . 

To Julius Schumann, 2$th April, 1828 

To his Mother at Zwickau, April 28, 1828 . 

To the Same, May 2ist, 1828 

To the Same, June 1 3th, 1828 

To the Same, June 29th, 1828 

To the Same, at Carlsbad, Aug. 3rd, 1828 . 

To the Same, Aug. 22nd, 1828 

To the Same, Aug. 3ist, 1828 

To William Gotte, Oct. 2nd, 1828 

To his Mother, Oct 24th, 1828 

To the Same, Nov. 25th, 1828 

To the Same, March 2ist, 1829 

To the Same, May 24th, 1829 

To the Same, July I7th, 1829 

To the Same, Aug. 3rd, 1829 

To the Same, Aug. 3ist, 1829 . 

To his Sister-in-law, Rosalie Schumann, Schneeberg, 
Oct. sth, 1829 .,*....* 

To Friedrich Wieck, Nov. 6th, 1829 



PAGE 
I 

5 
10 

. 12 

19 
20 
21 

23 
26 
28 
30 
32 

34 
37 
40 
42 

43 
59 
65 
69 

73 
77 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

To his Mother, Nov. nth, 1829 83 

To the Same, Dec. 4th, 1829 94 

To Julius Schumann, at Zwickau, Feb. nth, 1830 . . 99 
From a Letter to his Mother . . . . 101 

To Carl Schumann at Schneeberg, June 3rd, 1830 . .107 

To his Mother, July ist, 1830 no 

To the Same July 30th, 1830 . . . . . - .112 

To the Same, Aug. 22nd, 1830 116 

To the Same, Sept. 27th, 1830 120 

To the Same, Oct. 25th, 1830 121 

To the Same, Nov. isth, 1830 123 

To the Same, Dec. loth, 1830 127 

To the Same, Dec. I2th, 1830 128 

To the Same, Dec. I5th, 1830 130 

To the Same, Feb. 1 8th, 1831 134 

To the Same, April 25th, 1831 ...... 137 

To the Same, Aug. 8th, 1831 140 

To Julius Schumann at Zwickau, Sept. 5th, 1831 . . 143 

To his Mother, Sept. 2ist, 1831 I4S 

To G. Z. Fink, Sept 27th, 1831 148 

To the Family Schumann, 1831 149 

To Heckel at Mannheim, Oct. I4th, 1831 . , . .150 

To Ms Mother, Oct. I4th, 1831 151 

To the Same, the last day of the year, 183 1 . . . 1 54 
To Friedrich Wieck, Frankfort, Jan. nth, 1832 . . 155 

To his Family, April I7th, 1832 159 

To L. Rellstab. Berlin, April igth, 1832 . . . .160 

To Heinrich Dorn, April 25 th, 1832 162 

To his Family, April 28th, 1832 163 

To his Mother, May 8th, 1832 165 

To the Same, May 26th, 1832 171 

To Friedrich Wieck, Leipsic, June 3rd, 1832 , . * . 173 

To the Same, June 8th, 1832 174 

To his Mother, June I4th, 1832 . . . , b .174 
To Julius Schumann, July i8th, 1832 . . , .176 
To Baccalaureus Kuntzsch, Zwickau, July 27th, 1832 . 178 



CONTENTS. xi 



PAGE 

To his Mother, Aug. gth, 1832 179 

To Tobias Haslinger, Vienna, Aug. I3th, 1832 . . .182 
To Musikdirector G. W. Miiller, Nov. 2nd, 1832 . .184 

To his Mother, Nov. 6th, 1832 184 

To ReHstab, Berlin, Dec. 7th, 1832 186 

To Hofmeister in Leipsic, Dec. I7th, 1832 .... 188 

To Rosalie Schumann at Schneeberg, Jan. 9th, 1833 . 189 

To F. Wieck, Jan. loth, 1833 190 

To his Mother, April 9th, 1833 192 

To Clara Wieck, Leipsic, May 23rd, 1833 .... 1,97 

To his Mother, June 28th, 1833 198 

To Clara Wieck, 1833 203 

To the Same 203 

To the Same, July I3th, 1833 204 

To his Mother^ July, 1833 205 

To Clara Wieck, 1833 206 

To the Same, Aug. 2nd, 1833 306 

To Friedrich Wieck, Aug. 6th, 1833 207 

To Carl Schumann at Schneeberg, Aug. 5th, 1833 . . 210 
To Franz Otto in Hamburg, Aug. gth, 1833 . . .211 

To Friedrich Hofmeister, Leipsic 213 

To G. W. Fink, Aug. 1833 214 

To his Mother, Autumn, 1833 214 

To the Same, Nov. 27th, 1833 215 

To the Same, Jan, 4th, 1834 216 

To the Same, March igth, 1834 219 

To the Same, March 26th, 1834 223 

To the Same, April 9th, 1834 224 

To the Same, July 2nd, 1834 227 

To Clara Wieck, Dresden, 1834 232 

To the Same, July loth, 1834 233 

To Ernestine von Fricken, July 28th, 1834 . . . 237 

To Hauptmann von Fricken, Asch, Sept. 1834 * . . 238 

To his Mother, Sept. 5th, u a.m 243 

To the Same, Oct. i7th, 1834 244 

To Henriette Voigt, Leipsic, Nov. 2nd, 1834 . . .245 



Xll 



CONTENTS. 



To the Same, Nov. 24th, 1834 . 
To Joseph Fischhof, Vienna, Dec. I4th, 1834 
To Clara Wieck, Aug. 28th, 1835 . . 
To the Same, Feb. 134, 1836 . 
Extracts from Letters to Clara Wieck 



PAGE 
250 
251 

253 
255 

257 





SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 




To FLECHSIG AT LEiPsrc. 1 

Zwickau, July, 1827. 

UST now I was lying dreaming on my 
ottoman. The sweet springs of bygone 
years hovered round my weeping eyes, 
and the vanished faces of my dear ones 
came back smiling to me in dreams ; and as I woke 
I had tears in my eyes, and your letter in my hand. 
All those joyful hours, which I [spent] with you, 
my old friend, came thronging before my soul, 
and with a saddened spirit I went forth to be with 
Nature, and I read your letter, read it ten times over ; 
while a last kiss from glowing lips was touching 
the sweetly fading green of the wooded heights; 

golden cloudlets floated in the pure sether, and 

Forgive me that the rest of the sentence does not 
follow. I was about to add to this touching picture 
of my miserable self a moving description of the 

1 A schoolfellow of Schumann's. 
B 



2 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

Present, that tiresome ape of the Past, when there 
came a prosaic message from Schlegel, the Post- 
master, asking me to play the piano with him. The 
rest I will tell you by and by, after a bottle of cham- 
pagne at Swiss Sepp's ! The blessed vacation keeps 
drawing nearer, and I really should not like to spend 
those three weeks in idleness and monotony, lying 
here, bemoaning myself in my cradle. Old Flechsig, 
old times are returning, they must return ; on your 
bosom, and to your sympathizing heart, I must once 
more lay bare my own. Friend, I have no friend, I 
have no sweetheart, I have nothing now. I must be 
silent. All, all, when we meet ! 

My dear Flechsig ! now only do I feel that purest, 
highest love, which is not for ever sipping the intox- 
icating cup of enjoyment, but finds happiness only in 
tender contemplation and reverence. Oh friend ! were 
I but a smile, how would I flit about her eyes ! were 
I but joy, how gently would I throb in all her pulses ! 
yea, might I be but a tear, I would weep with her, and 
then, if she smiled again, how gladly would I die on 
her eyelash, and gladly, gladly, be no more ! I am 
writing in hieroglyphics, I shall hardly be able to 
decipher them even to you, to you, who know every 
crevice of my heart. My friend I [am at rest,] and can 
be happy. My past life lies before me like a vast, 
vast, evening landscape, over which faintly quivers 
a rosy kiss from the setting sun. I am dreaming, 
and before me I see arise a mighty, mighty mountain, 
barren and bare ; upon it flowers a heavenly rose, 



TO FLECHSIG. 



bursting into bloom, and I long to reach it, to get 
nearer to it ; and the mountain is steep, and the rocks 
frown from above, and the friend stretches out his 
arms in vain towards the rose ; and as he cannot 
reach it he is happy, he feels like a god if it is only 
vouchsafed to him to worship the rose from a dis- 
tance, and once more to find the paradise of his lost 
happiness in this divine contemplation. Such, my 
friend, are some of my dreams waking ones ! But 
enough of this. 

" Pure as dew is every longing ; dull and fleeting is its goal ; 
Ever to eternal beauty strives the lonely genius-soul." 

I might now illustrate these lines, which formerly I 
never understood, from my own life, but I cannot. 
Flechsig ! I can neither speak it nor write it, and it 
remains a secret, peacefully sleeping in the depths of 
a happy breast. 

Feelings, my friend, are stars, which can only 
guide you in a clear sky ; but Reason is a magnetic 
needle, which continues to guide the ship when the 
stars are hidden and shine no longer. With the aid 
of this best of guides would that she did not so 
often desert the stormy path of youth ! I will steer 
for the longed-for North, yes, even should that North 
prove colder than the icy poles of pure Geometry ! 

At present I am still bravely steering for the 
glowing South Pole of Sophocles, but not for the 
boisterous Nova Zemblas of Brunkian and Erturdtian 
annotations. Horace is a real good fellow, with true 



4 SCHUMANN^ EARLY LETTERS. 

poetical seven-league boots, don't laugh ! and there- 
fore I love him. Of his Donee grains erani tibi, 
Scaliger says that he (Scaliger) \vould ten times 
rather be the writer of that ode, and the third one in 
book iv., than be German Emperor ! What do you 
think of that? 

My poetical mill has come to a dead standstill. 
Either there is so much water as to put the wheels 
out of order, instead of grinding meal for proper two- 
penny loaves, or there is not enough to make the 
wheels move at all To ascend the well-watered 
domains of sunny Pindus, one requires a friend, a 
sweetheart, and a glass of champagne. Here I have 
not even one of all three : Liddy is a narrow-minded 
soul, a simple maiden from innocent Utopia ; she can- 
not grasp a great idea. I am not saying all this like 
the fox, who could not reach the vine, and called the 
grapes sour because they grew out of reach of his 
jaws. If she (Liddy) could be petrified in the Carls- 
bad springs into a white Carrara marble Anadyo- 
mene, every real, refined, art critic must needs pro- 
nounce her the perfection of female beauty ; but how 
stony she would have to be and withal, never to 
speak a word ! I will hit off some of her charac- 
teristics for you when we meet, and you will join 
with me in a pitying smile at her simplicity. I 
have not hidden from you, or from anyone, the fact 
that she pleases me. I think I loved her ; but I knew 
only the outward form, in which the roseate-tinted 
fancy of youth often embodies its inmost longings. 



TO FLECHSIG. 



So I have no longer a sweetheart, but am creating 
for myself other ideals, and have, in this respect, 
also broken with the world. Some day perhaps I 
may tell you all about this. Nanni was truly a 
most glorious girl, and though the fire of an absorbing 
passion for her has gradually subsided, still it has 
developed into the quietly-burning sacred flame of 
pure divine friendship and reverence, like devotion to 
the Madonna. My whole life revels now in the sweet 
flower-garden of Memory, where I pluck many a lovely 
" Immortelle," which, though faded, I press for ever to 
my sorrowing heart, and kiss the withered blossoms 
of a happy life. Neither have I a friend any longer, 
with whom to ramble through the flowery vales of 
Pindus. Walther may be as he likes ; he is riearly 
quite myself not me, but my antipode. With all 
others I hardly associate at all. Thus I stand here, 
my Flechsig, quite alone. From this you will per- 
ceive that I also lack the third requisite for the brave 
ascent of Parnassus I no longer drink champagne ! 
Only in the confidential circle of sympathetic hearts 
does the blood of the vine pass glowing and in- 
spiriting into our own. . . . 



FROM A LETTER TO FLECHSIG AT LEIPSIC. 

Zwickau, Aug. 29, 1827. 

..... THAT I got on delightfully with the Carus 
family at Colditz, you can easily imagine. Friday even- 



6 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

ing, I drove off to Dresden in the diligence, and 
as I was the only passenger, moralised very sadly on 
Man, which was all the pleasanter as I did not happen 
to be in a particularly talkative mood. At Dresden I 
did not feel comfortable. My first walk was to the 
street where N. 1 was supposed to be living, Leser 
had given me the address. My good genius must 
have deserted me, Flechsig, I did not see that good 
girl Oh, if you knew how I longed for her, how 
under every veil that I saw fluttering I fancied I should 
see her features ; how I went over and over again all 
the hours which I dreamed away so joyfully, so 
happily in her embraces, and in her love ; how as each 
blooming face came into sight in the distance, my 
heart said : " that is she, that must be she ! " 
and yet I did not catch a single glance of her, not 
even for a minute it was hard ! Only that heavenly 
consoler, Music, revived this faintly-throbbing life of 
sorrowful [remembrance] ; and when at last a Bee- 
thoven Symphony burst forth, like the thunder of 
God, then, in that blissful realm of sound, [my heart] 
was reconciled with cold life and rigid fate, and the 
[bright] flower of first love rose softly from the grave 
of the past. Beside this I did not have a single 
happy hour at Dresden. I did not look about 
for Liddy: and yet she was there all the time 
that I was. From Dresden I drove straight to 
Prague. There I felt comfortable again ; the Tokay 
made me happy. At Teplitz I spent some happy 

1 Nanni. 



TO FLECHSIG. 



hours with my mother, and at Seume's grave I cut 
a wreath of oak-leaves, and have put it round his 
picture, which is hanging before me. At Teplitz 
I was again nearly taken out of myself, and that 
by Liddy once more she was there, addressed 
me everywhere in a friendly way : gave me ex- 
planations upon explanations. The day before I 
started, the Hempels invited me to go for a drive 
with them. I sat in the carriage next to Liddy : 
she begged me to go up a steep mountain called 
the Rosenburg alone with her. I went with her 
from politeness, perhaps also for the sake of the ad- 
venture. I trembled I did not speak ; she was dumb ; 
at last we had reached the highest point. Imagine 
my feelings, imagine the whole of Nature stretched 
blooming at my feet; a line of blue, misty hills 
encompassed the horizon in the east ; the sun was 
sinking in the west ; all Nature's temple lay before 
our enchanted eyes. Like Thetis, I could have flown 
down, and sunk into those flowery rivers. Imagine 
that a withered Ideal began quietly to grow up again in 
my breast ; imagine that this lost Ideal stood alone 
by my side ; would you not also have been tempted 
to deny your existence, and to confess that the earth 
was beautiful ? And at length, when the sun had 
just set, and a mass of blossoming spring roses came 
floating up out of the dying rays, the tops of the 
mountains glowing, the woods all aflame, and 
illimitable Nature melted into soft rosy tints; and 
as I was gazing into this ocean of purple, and all, 



S SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

all, formed itself into one thought, and I was thinking 
of the great idea of the Deity, and Nature, sweet- 
heart, and Deity, all stood enchanted before me, 
and sweetly smiled at me lo ! like lightning, a 
black cloud arose in the east, and rose up, and 
lifted itself on high, and I seized Liddy's hand, 
and said to her, " Liddy, such is Life! " and I pointed 
to the blackened purple of the horizon, and she 
looked at me sadly, and a tear glided from her eye- 
lash. Flechsig, at that moment I thought I had 
found my Ideal again, and silently I plucked a 
rose ; but as I was going to give it to her, a clap of 
thunder and a flash of lightning rushed up from the 
east and I took the rose, and pulled it to pieces. 
That clap of thunder awoke me from a beautiful 
dream. I was again upon earth Liddy still sat 
before me, and the tear still quivered dimly in her 
blue eye ; sadly she looked into the wildly-rising 
masses of cloud. " Such is our life," I should like to 
have said again. Silently we parted from the Rosen- 
burg we spoke not another word. When I said 
" Good-bye " to her, she pressed my hand passionately, 
and the dream was over, the dream is over ! ! And 
the lofty image of the Ideal vanishes, when I think of 
the speeches she made about Jean Paid ! Let the dead 
rest ! 

My Camcene slumbers : once she awoke blissfully, 
short but beautiful moment ! Now she but 
rarely dreams, and when she awakes she no longer 
remembers her dreams, but dozes off again, 



TO FLECHSIG. 



dreaming, feeling, sensitive, sick of the dead words 
in which to banish her feelings ; but her sleep is 
beautiful too beautiful as the sleep of the maiden 
who loves happily, and whose quiet features are 
divinely transfigured by the golden past in her 
dream. Rhyme is to me most sickening, childish, nay, 
ridiculous ; the ancient rhythms attract me most. 
I am revelling in Jean Paul and Sarbiewski, whom I 
should almost like to compare with one another. 
When you come to us at Michaelmas I will read you 
a few odes by the latter, which I have translated with 
due fire. They are not worth the postage* When 
you arrive at Michaelmas, if you have still read 
nothing of Jean Paul's, I shall be capable of doing you 
a damage. Go and get " Titan " at the very nearest 
circulating library, so that we shall be able to talk 
about him. You will be grateful to me when you 
have read him ; so I say to you, read " Titan/' or I 
shall kick you. Jean Paul, says Goethe, is the child 
of dissolute Dionysus and delicate Camoene. In 
"Hesperus/* if I mistake not, he graphically describes 
himself : " Often, when I am thinking of the Sublime 
in the world, of Mankind, Divinity, Immortality, etc, 
and when, from the biscuits which my wife is baking 
in the kitchen, the smell of butter is wafted to my 
nose then, in spite of the sublimest thoughts, I can- 
not forbear a smile, and thus I completely grasp the 
Material, and yet go on thinking undisturbedly of the 
Sublime" A more excellent or appropriate sketch of 



io SCHUMANWS EARLY LETTERS. 

his character I cannot give you, as you will agree 
with me when you have read him. 

I could write much more to you, my good old 
friend, but I can scarcely hold the pen in my fingers 
any longer, I am, as you know, a bad hand at sitting 
still ; but to write a letter at different times renders 
it fragmentary. My passions are still too powerful : 
every day I should like to drink champagne to ex- 
cite myself. I have to fight very much against 
myself* Passions are almost always poetical licenses, 
of which our free will avails itself. Nanni was my 
Guardian Angel ; the dross of the common-place had 
already thickly encrusted my young heart : like a 
glory round a saint, that good girl stands before my 
soul. I could drop down before her on my knees, 
and worship her like a Madonna. 

I cannot write any more, etc. 

Your SCHUMANN. 



FROM A LETTER TO FLECHSIG. 

Zwickau, Dec. r, 1827. 

ON Saturday last I went with Walther and 

Rascher to Schneeberg. On Sunday, at about four, 
we started to come back, and came in for the most 
abominable weather. The snow was a yard deep, 
and no track had as yet been trodden out : one 
after the other we fell into the ditch by the roadside, 
which could hardly be distinguished from the road 



TO FLECHSIG. ri 



itself. When we arrived at Haslau, shivering and 
frozen, of course we first of all consumed some roast 
pork and pickled cucumber. We had a little money 
left, so we each of us ordered a large tumbler of grog ; 
then we got excited, had a drinking-bout of three, 
and sang student-songs. The room was full oi 
peasants. Your mathematical master was likewise on 
the spot, and your praises flowed from our lips. At 
last a burly countryman stepped up to us, and asked 
us quite civilly to recite something. Walther, 
touched and enchanted, recited " Cassandra." The 
rustics were quite affected : just as W. was declaiming 
the passage, 

" Nur der Irrthum ist das Leben ? 
Und das Wissen ist der Tod," * 

a peasant with a true stentorian voice, called for 
sausage and sauerkraut, quite regardless of Walther, 
but the reciter did not disturb himself, and after some 
tears, thundered out " Der Handschuh," 2 which excited 
the peasants intensely, and was followed by applause. 
Thereupon Rascher stood up with his tragi-comic 
face, and was likewise much applauded ; but when 
they attacked me, I declined. It was not from pride 
that I did not do it, and yet I did feel too proud. 
At last Walther told the peasants that I played the 
piano very well, etc. in short, we gave a regular 

1 " Nought but Error all this life is, 
And our knowledge comes with death." 

2 " The Glove," one of Schiller's ballads. 



12 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

musico-dramatic soiree. I Improvised freely upon 
" Fridolin." The rustics sat open mouthed, when I 
was flourishing about on the keys in such a crazy 
manner. This over, a jolly little dance was got up, 
and we whirled the peasant girls about in rare style. 
I danced a waltz with that gentle, modest Minchen of 
the Miiller's, while Walther made believe to play. 
Old Miiller and his wife joined in the dance, the 
rustics stamped their feet ; we rejoiced and rushed 
about, staggering among the legs of the clod-hoppers, 
and then took a tender farewell of the whole com- 
pany by imprinting smacking kisses on the lips of all 
the peasant girls, Minchen and the rest We arrived 
at Zwickau after 12, still reeling and tottering about. 
It was indeed a most jovial evening, worthy of a 
Vandyck ! ! 1 But enough of this. I shall be pleased 
if it calls up a friendly smile to your lips. 

Otherwise I am living as usual. That reproach 
about the drinking-bout does not touch me. I am 
long past beer. But I confess that perhaps we cling 
together more firmly than ever. We have given one 
another nick-names. I am called " Faust " or " Fust," 
although I should not like to be he ! 

To FLECHSIG AT LEIPSIC. , 

Zwickau, March ijth, 1828* 

..... DONKEYS and mules are lazy, as a rule. I can't 
allow that to be said of me, and am already writing 

1 Query Teniers. TR. 



TO FLECHSIG. 



you a second letter before receiving an answer to my 
first. My school-days are over, and the world lies 
before me. I could hardly keep back the tears the 
last time I came out of school ; but yet the pleasure- 
was greater than the pain. Now my better self must- 
take the lead and show what it is made of. Thrown 
into life, flung into the night of the world, without 
guide, teacher or father thus do I stand ; and yet, 
the world never lay before me in a brighter light 
than it does at this moment as I stand before it, 
smiling serenely and quietly at its storms. Intro- 
duce me, my friend, into active life, and pick me 
up when I make a mad tumble. That Greek levity,, 
which always regarded life from a happy medium 
between joy and sorrow, was all very well, and is quite 
consistent with a period of mulishness, but it must- 
not degenerate, and turn into a lawless impetuosity,, 
which only laughs and passes everything merrily by. 
All things good and beautiful are glowing in my- 
young heart at this moment, and all high ideals and 
all the Greek gods stand radiant in, this Olympus of 
youth. My friend, remain my friend, even though I 
should become unworthy of your friendship ; and if 
ever I should some day be ashamed of having written 
like this, and should not have acted up to it, then 
hold this letter as a warning before my eyes, for you 
are the only one to whom my heart has always been 
open, with all its joys and sorrows. Ah, my friend ! 
Love l and friendship walk about among men on 
1 The following sentence was also written by Schumann to his 



14 ' SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

this earth with veiled heads and closed lips, and no 
man can tell another how he loves him, though \& feels 
that he loves him, for our inner self is mute and devoid 
of speech. If ever I should turn away my face in 
pain from this page, if ever I should read with tears 
of sorrow the lines which I am now writing with tears 
O f j y ? in a word, when the youth has fallen, then 
come, my noble friend, you genius of friendship, and 
dry my eyes and raise my fallen soul up again. Alas ! 
Man wants to do so much, and can do so little. 

Your brother has just come in and given me your 
letter. Either you have got a cut on the fencing- 
ground or you were awfully hungry. You were in 
such a temper when you wrote that letter! and yet I 
rejoiced as I always do when I see the handwriting of 
my friend. It is certain that you and posterity (for it 
is quite settled that our letters are to be printed some 
day), have, by this interruption, been deprived of a 
fine Fantasia in A minor. Your letter has thrown 
me from the hot-bed of enthusiasm into the ice-well 
of sulkiness. Your epilogue enchanted me, I should 
like to write a prologue to it ; but it seems to me as 
if sometimes we had not quite digested Jean Paul, 
and occasionally bring up a morsel ! I would not 
mind betting that you have not written a scrap of 
verse since you read "Titan." Really, this letter is 
like a piece of music. It begins with a discord, a 



mother, on April 28th, 1828, when he gives them as Jean Paul 
Richter's. 



TO FLECHSIG. 15 



bray, and that being resolved, it flows on in a mournful 
and artistic Adagio ; at " little " there is a pause, and 
then the Allegro breaks into |. time, and skips quite 
leggieremente towards the end and keynote of the 
whole, namely, my signature. 

The preceding page resembles half of a head of 
Janus, and this has been the case with all my 
letters : one half gazes into the future, like Janus ; 
the other looks into the past ; but they belong to- 
gether and originate in the same brain. In short, 
one half of Janus 1 head, namely, the Past, shall now 
remain covered ; in my letters you have always seen 
It with tears in its eyes. Every man who lives only in 
reminiscences is unhappy, and our Dresden poet and 
others are just of this sort, and that is why they get on 
so badly, because they only exist, poetize, write, and 
rave for reminiscences. 

You see that I am in a good humour; but 
there was an examination the day before yesterday, 
and to-day I was smoking my cigar out of window 
when Rascher was going to school with his 
Demosthenes under his arm. I can already see 
myself in the fencing-school, giving some duffer a 
licking with my foil, but I never have been a 
swaggerer, and never could endure the fashion of 
wearing spurs to one's boots without keeping a horse. 1 

1 It was formerly the custom among German students to wear 
very high Hessian boots, and whoever specially distinguished 
himself in a fencing-match or duel, had a right to attach spurs 
to them, whether he was a horseman or not. TR. 



1 6 SCHUMANWS EARLY LETTERS. 



To-day I took out Homer, and by Easter I hope to 
have rushed through the Iliad. As to Forcellini, 1 I 
must thoroughly set to work and make corrections 
and extracts, look up passages, and read Goiter's 
Inscriptions." It is interesting work, which teaches 
one a great deal and puts many an extra penny in 
one's pocket I get a thaler for every proof sheet. 
Besides, all first-rate philologists are working at it 
Passow, Beyer, Herman, Beik, Matthia, Karcher, 
Liinemann, Frotscher, Lindemann, Weber, Lenz, 
Hand, Niebuhr, Orelli, Zumpt, Ramshorn, Wunder, 
Weichert, Kiessling, Jakobs, and Wtistemann. 
Our Rector worries over it day and night, and is 
hardly equal to the task. I have had to rummage all 
over the library and have found a lot of unpublished 
notes by Gronov, Grav, Scaliger, Heinsius, Earth, 
Daum, etc. I have got through Sophocles with the 
exception of Philoctetes. The other day I began 
Plato's " Crito," but it was not to my taste, and parts 
of it I did not understand at all. Plato is food for 
men. Tacitus and Sallust attract me very much. I still 
cannot endure Cicero : after all he was little better 
than a pettifogger and a boasting charlatan, and to be 
able to like him one must completely give tip one's 
individuality, and that I cannot do. Horace was a 
libertine, nothing more. Give me the lofty SarbiewskL 
And yet I still give Jean Paul the first place, and put 
him higher than anyone, not even excepting Schiller. 

J Forcellini's " Lexicon totius Latinitatis,* published by Carl 
Schumann. 



TO FLECHSIG. 17 



(Goethe I do not understand yet.) All the same, the 
" Spaziergang )J charmed me very much the other day, 
and made me think very affectionately of our own 
Klopstockian evening walks. By the way, I con- 
sider Goethe more difficult than Klopstock, Ccesar 
than Horace's Odes, and Horace's Satires harder than 
all Cicero, because in each case the former contain 
intellectual, the latter only linguistic difficulties ; these 
can be overcome, but the others only yield as one gets 
olden 

But where have I got to ! Pardon this scribbling 
and prosy mood, which after all I seldom indulge in. 

The Rector has promised me letters of introduction 
to Hermann and Wendt I hope to become very 
intimate with Wendt. Tittmann, who was here the 
other day, was most polite, and paid me great atten- 
tion. You have probably heard about the torchlight 
procession, where I was chief and speaker. The 
eximie digmis certainly does strike the eye tremend- 
ously, and is not so bad for Zwickau, Next Friday I 
shall receive my certificate from the Rector, and next 
Sunday evening (to-day being Monday) I shall drive 
off by the fast coach, so you may expect me in Leipsic 
early on Monday. I will live with you salva venia, 
and the Thursday following we shall walk or drive 
back to Zwickau. I am greatly looking forward to 
seeing you. I will bring as much money as possible 
in case you may perchance require some. But 
woe be to you, if the lodgings are not to my 
taste. I would rather we had hired two rooms, and 



i8 SCHVMANWS EARLY LETTERS. 

we shall perhaps sometimes wish we had done so. It 
will be especially unfortunate if we take to writing 
tragedies, or shall we work together like Beaumont 
and Fletcher ? I would sigh, and you should smile. 

Carus was off to Halle yesterday ; we shall most 
likely come across him. Walther plays the penitent 
and reads his catechism diligently. Rascher is looking 
forward immensely to seeing me at Michaelmas, when 
I shall return as a " Bursch." l The black and red 
flag is very much to the fore, and we all argue like 
members of Parliament I hope to meet Roller at 
Leipsic. I suppose he is very melancholy (not 
ironical). W. is not coming! More of this when we 
meet 

Then, my friend, expect mzfor certain. With the 
"Inscriptions" in our pockets, and money in our 
purses, we will let the world and everybody alone. 

Farewell, and be happy; this is the very last 
word I shall write you from a distance. Wherever 
fate may lead us, I shall always say that I was never 
so happy as when I had you for a friend. Ask the 
protecting genius of friendship not to part us for ever, 
and may no discord sadden our souls, and may every 
tear which life sends us be short-lived and be speedily 
dried on the bosom of a friend ! 

Farewell, and be happy, 

YOUR FRIEND. 



1 A student in his second year. TR. 



TO JULIUS SCHUMANN. 19 



TO JULIUS SCHUMANN. 1 

Bayreuth, 2th April, 1828, 

I ARRIVED here quite safely, my good Julius, and am 
living most blissfully in the remembrance of Jean 
Paul (Richter). It is his fault, too, that I arn already 
writing from here. I could not well squeeze the 
portrait which follows this into the little knapsack, 
and therefore thought it advisable to send it straight 
to Zwickau. Please to put the carriage down to me. 
To-morrow I am bound for Nuremberg, where I am 
going to spend three days with Rosen. Bayreuth is 
beautifully situated, and its houses are all like palaces. 
I have just come from the celebrated Madame Roll- 
wenzel, at whose house Jean Paul went in and out for 
twenty-six years, and who has been chatting to me 
for two good hours about her Jean Paul. 2 

I will write again from Augsburg or Munich. There 
is no time now, and I am too restless. Remember me 
a thousand times to our good mother, to your Emily, 
Teresa, 3 and all of them. 

With best love and kisses, 

I remain as ever, 
Your faithful loving brother, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

1 His brother. 

2 Jean Paul died in 1825. 

3 Emily and Teresa, wives of Julius and Edward, Robert's 
brothers. 



20 



SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



To HIS MOTHER AT ZWICKAU. 

Monheim, near Nuremberg, Apr. 28, 1828. 
HERE I am, my beloved mother, in a set 
of beer-drinking Bavarian patriots, and thinking of 
my dear Zwickau. When in the Fatherland one 
longs to get away ; when in a strange country, one 
thinks sadly of one's dear home. Thus it is 
throughout human life: the goal once reached is 
no longer a goal, and we aim, and strive, and wish to 
get higher, until our eyes break, and our exhausted 
soul lies slumbering in the tomb. 

I often think of you, my good mother, and of all 
the good advice you gave me on my entrance into 
this stormy life. 

Dear mother, I have often offended you, I have 
often misunderstood you when you acted for the best ; 
forgive the faults of an impetuous, passionate youth ; 
he will make amends for them by good and noble 
deeds, and a virtuous life. Parents can claim the 
whole life of their -children ! My father has gone 
to his rest all the more do I owe to you, dearest 
mother. To you alone must I repay the debt I owe 
you, for making my life happy, and preparing a bright^ 
cloudless future for me. May your son prove him- 
self worthy of this debt, and show that he will 
return a good mother's affection, by always leading a 
virtuous life! And may you be, as ever, a kind, 
forgiving mother, a tender judge, if the youth 
should forget himself, and a forbearing monitress, if 



TO HIS MOTHER, 21 

he should be too passionate, and sink deeper into the 
mazes of life. Jean Paul says "Love and friend- 
ship walk this earth with veiled eyes, and closed lips, 
and no man can tell another how he loves him, for 
our inner consciousness has no means of expression." 1 
But may our children's Love not walk the earth blind- 
fold ; may they proclaim loudly and openly, how 
much they reverence the hearts of their parents, and 
return their affection by worship ! 

I feel that my letter is confused, but you know me, 
and I know you, and you will understand your loving 
son, who can only express his feelings by dead and 
gloomy phrases. So go on loving me, mother mine. 

This morning I started from Nuremberg with 
Rosen. He is a pleasant fellow, and seasons my 
journey by the exchange of ideas and opinions, and 
pleasant talk. 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, May 2ist, 1828. 

THIS is the first letter you have received 

from Leipsic. My dearest mother, may you read all 
my letters with the same friendly, loving eyes, as you 
do this first one, and never have to look angrily at 
them, 

I arrived here safe and sound on Thursday last, 

1 Compare letter to Flechsig, March I7th, TR. 



22 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

though in rather a melancholy mood; and I made 
my entrance into this great city, this busy life, and 
the whole world, in the full consciousness of my 
academical honours, and my rank as a citizen. Even 
now, though I have been here several days, I feel 
quite well, though not perfectly happy, and I just 
long, with my whole heart, to be back again in 
the quiet home where I was born, and passed such 
happy days with Nature. It is hard to find Nature 
here. Everything is ornamented by art There is no 
valley, no mountain, no wood, where I can thoroughly 
lose myself in my own thoughts ; no spot where I 
can be alone, unless it is locked up in my room, with 
an everlasting noise and uproar going on below. It is 
this which is so unsatisfactory. In addition, a con- 
tinual intellectual warfare is going on in me, about 
the choice of a profession. The dry study of the 
law, which crushes one at the very beginning by 
its cut-and-dried definitions, does not suit me at all 
I will not study medicine, and cannot study theology. 
This is the kind of perpetual struggle that I am in 
with myself, and I look in vain for a guide who can 
tell me what to do, And yet there is nothing 
for it ; I must attack Jurisprudence, and however cut- 
and-dried it may be, I ze/z"// overcome myself, and if man 
only wills, why he can do everything. But Philosophy 
and History shall also be among my most important 
studies. So much for that ; everything will turn out 
all right, and I will not look drearily into the future^ 
which may be so happy if only I do not waver. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 23 

I should like to write you a great deal to-day, 
but must have more paper and more time, as Ed- 
ward wants to be off directly. You can ask Julius 
to send me a few quires of note-paper, as it is too dear 
here. 

My things are just being brought in, so excuse this 
wretched scrawl. Give my best love to everybody, 
and tell them all that I wish myself back in Zwickau, 
just as much as I used to wish myself in Leipsic. 
Such is human nature, to which I belong ! Good-bye, 
my good mother ! May all the good wishes be ful- 
filled, which I pray Heaven to send you, and may you 
always be as happy as you deserve to be ! 
Good-bye, good-bye, 

Your affectionate, loving son, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, June I3th, 1828, 

YOUR cordial and affectionate letter, my 

dearest mother, was a pledge of your enduring 
love, which I had almost begun to doubt, in conse- 
quence of your long silence. 

First of all, accept my warmest thanks for your 
birthday-present^ which was the best thing you could 
have given me. Every feature will remind me of 
that good mother, who has always been giving to me, 
and to whom I have given nothing, save many 
sorrows, and very few joys. Alas, no child repays its 



2 4 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

parents as it ought and might do, and as they de- 
serve ; and it would be more satisfactory, if parents 
could see the fruit which they planted, and the 
harvest which they sowed ; but Life says otherwise, 
and Man must resign himself. 

I kept my birthday very quietly and happily with 
Flechsig, surrounded by bright and genial Nature, 
and we thought most intently of our sweet home, 
where we should have kept the day so much more 
happily (though hardly more joyfully), in the circle of 
intimate friends and relations. But Remembrance, 
too, is beautiful, even though it is often but the de- 
stroying angel of the Present ; and every happy, 
sublime, and sacred minute, which Man enjoys during 
his ephemeral existence, only means tears in the 
future, and thus destroys many a minute when he 
might have been happier. 

As regards my mental state, it is neither better nor 
worse than before. I go regularly to lecture, play the 
piano for two hours daily, read for a few hours, or 
go for a walk, and that is all the amusement I get. 
I have often been alone for days together, in the 
neighbouring village of Zweynaunsdorf, which is one 
of the prettiest spots round Leipsic, and have there 
worked, written poetry, etc., etc. Up till now 
I have had no familiar intercourse with any one 
student. I fence in the fencing-school, am friendly to 
everyone, and hold my own, as far as appearances go ; 
but I am extremely cautious not to form an intimate 
acquaintance with anyone. One can hold up one's 



TO HIS MOTHER. 25 

head with such people without being rude, and it 
makes them stand off, and not treat one as a F^ic/^s. l 
Flechsig and Semmel are the only ones with whom I 
associate much. I go on writing Jurisprudence like a 
machine. Nothing more can be done at present. I 
should be very glad if you would kindly remember 

your promise about riding-lessons 

My rooms are excellent, but then I pay 90 thalers 
for them, and I wish you could see them yourself, just 
once, so as really to understand our primitive house- 
keeping ! I am sure you would be pleased. But then 
I am much tidier than you and I used to think. My 
piano costs me a ducat 2 a month ; but although it is 
a most excellent instrument, yet at Michaelmas I 
should like to have my dear beloved old grand piano : 
it contains the sweetest recollections of my child- 
hood and youth, and has taken part in all that I en- 
dured, all my sighs and tears, but all my joys too. I 
could not help crying the last time I played on it in 
Julius's room. If I had 400 thalers to spare, and you 
and my guardian allowed it, I should at once buy an 
instrument here by a maker named Stein ; but the 
gods will probably refuse me this, so I let the bright 

hope cheer me for the future I must end. 

Remember me to all the dear delightful people, whose 
acquaintance I made in Zwickau ; in your lonely walks, 
remember me to all our favourite haunts, and to all 
those dear home-surroundings where I was so happy. 

1 The youngest student in a " corps." 

2 About half a sovereign. 



2 6 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LE TTERS. 

May all things good, sublime, and beautiful, be ever 
with you ; all my wishes for you are contained in my 
childlike prayers. 

Farewell, and be always happy, 

Your fond and loving child, 

R. SCHUMANN. 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, June 29th, 1828. 

IT is dreadful how women almost always forget to 
date their letters, consequently I don't know whether 
Malchen's 1 letter is an answer to mine of the I5th or 
the 1 6th of June. 

You did indeed write me a few lines, but much as 
I longed for them every mail-day, yet, when I 
read them, I could not but wish that they had not 
been written by you, as they are so vague that I can 
hardly judge how your mind or body are. Mal- 
chen spoke more decidedly, and it is so far consoling 
to think that your illness is not dangerous or wasting. 
Unfortunately your child can only send you his best 
wishes for your health. 

My warmest thanks for the precious keepsake 
which you sent me. It gave me a fresh proof of your 
motherly love, and I do not value the ring so much 
for its own sake as for yours, my dearest mother, and 
also for the sake of the sentiment which made you 
give it to me. May it be a magic ring, a talisman 
1 A friend of the Schumann family. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 27 

against every vice, and, like a magic wand, lead me only 
to fortune. My life at Leipsic creeps on in the 
old, wretched, every-day track, and I would sooner be 
at Jericho than here. If I should happen to have 
time and money before Michaelmas, it would give 
Flechsig and myself great pleasure to pay you a visit 
for a couple of days ; but if you had rather not, tell 
me so, and I will try and restrain myself till Michael- 
mas, but after that the old unclouded spirit and blissful 
life must begin again. 

Flechsig is going to make a trip to the island of 
Riigen in the north of Germany, and I should much 
like to go with him, but my love for my home and for 
you all is greater still, and drowns every other feeling 
which comes to the surface 

Among my goods and chattels I still cannot find my 
black hat, or Rosalie's 1 watch-pocket The por- 
traits of my father, of Jean Paul, and of Napoleon^ 
hang over my desk in gold frames, and the book-case 
looks splendid. I also long dreadfully for those 
volumes of Jean Paul, which are still lying at Durrs. 

Otherwise I go to lecture as regular as clockwork,, 
play the piano a great deal, and often read ; play a 
game of chess every evening with Flechsig, and go 
for a two or three hours' walk. I often join Semmel, 
but otherwise I have found no one who attracts rne. 
I have fencing-lessons, and skirmish about with the 
rest in the fencing-school, because it is absolutely 
necessary, and even useful. But I never have been a 
1 Rosalie was the wife of Schumann's brother Carl. 



28 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

fighting character, and never shall be, and you need 
not be alarmed about duels, although one has to be 
very careful 

To HIS MOTHER, AT CARLSBAD. 

Leipsic, Aug. 3rd, 1828. 

MY warmest and most heartfelt thanks, dearest 
mother, for your pretty and tasteful present. All the 
students have been admiring my splendid neckcloth, 
and extolling the good taste of my dear mother, who 
thinks lovingly of her child, though so far off. 

I often imagine myself back again in my dear old 
haunts at Carlsbad, where, as a child, I used to be so 
unconsciously and unknowingly happy. Alas, why do 
we only appreciate happiness after it has left us, and 
why does each tear one sheds contain either a dead 
pleasure or a vanished blessing ? 

It could only be good and precious news to me to 
hear that you are keeping so well, in spite of your 
loneliness, and quiet intellectual life. I can imagine 
you so well going for your solitary walk, and looking 
wistfully up to heaven, as though to ask the Judge 
above the stars, and the Ruler of destinies : " Why 
hast thou taken from me all, that no life and no future 
can ever replace ? " And then you look down, 
smiling, at the eternal blossoms and flowers of rich 
and beautiful Nature, and your devout heart gently 
whispers, " God knows best" Then you look round 
you, quite consoled, and feel inclined to exclaim : 



TO HIS MOTHER. 29 

" Life is indeed beautiful, and mankind is but a 
tear of joy shed by the Deity." Ah, mother! 
it is in Nature that the soul learns best to pray, and 
to sanctify all those gifts with which we are endowed 
from above. Nature is like the immense illimitable 
veil of the Most High, embroidered with his Eternal 
Name, with which man can wipe away all his tears of 
joy and sorrow, and which converts every tear into 
a speechless ecstasy, and disposes the heart to fervent, 
though quiet and inexpressible devotion. Why 
am I denied every feeling of the kind, here in this 
disgusting Leipsic? Why can Memory alone give 
me a moment that is sublimer and happier than those 
I usually enjoy? But I have made my plans, and 
only want your approval. Being a native of Saxony, 
I must go up for my examination at Leipsic, and 
study there for two years ; so I am thinking of 
leaving Leipsic next Easter, and going to Heidel- 
berg to attend the lectures of the most celebrated 
German jurists, Thibaut, Mittermayer, etc. Then 
at Easter, 1830, I can come back to Leipsic, so as to 
get a little into the ways of the Leipsic professors 
again. I want to go to another University for three 
reasons : First, for my own sake, because I do not 
feel well here, and am getting frightfully rusty ; 
secondly, because as a man I must see something of 
other men ; and thirdly, for the sake of my profession, 
because the greatest jurists of the day are at Hei- 
delberg. 

If I once make up my mind to do this, I must 



30 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

necessarily go next Easter or not at all. If I started 
later, I should have to go up for my examination 
directly I came back, and then I should get on very 
badly in Saxon Law, in which they examine one here 
more than in anything, as I should certainly have for- . 
gotten all about it at Heidelberg, where I shall have to 
.study Roman Law, the Pandects, etc. So you see in 
this case I should come out miserably in the examina- 
tion, and then you would not be pleased with me, nor 
I with myself. I shall expect an answer from you 
.about this, but we can talk it over when we meet, as I 
shall spend both the Michaelmas and Christmas vaca- 
tion at Zwickau It is already eleven o'clock 

at night, and I am tired and sleepy. Farewell then, 
my beloved Mother. Your fondly loving Son, 

ROBERT S. 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, August 22nd, 1828. 

MY dearly beloved Mother, 

I received your letter on the loth, 1 (the day on 
-which was rung the death-knell of our joys,) just as 
I had been weeping with all my heart The day 
before yesterday, I dreamt that you had gone to the 
Schlossberg to have a good cry, and when I awoke, I 

1 The anniversary of the death of Schumann's father, who 
died August zoth, 1826. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 31 

too had tears in my eyes. Anyhow, I have never felt 
quite happy or at home in Leipsic, and am often 
completely worn out by this petty life, and all its 
pitiful people. If I only had someone who really 
and thoroughly understood me, and would do every- 
thing to please me for my own sake! With 
Flechsig I agree very well, but he never cheers me 
up ; if I am sometimes depressed, he ought not to 
be so too, and might be humane enough to brighten 
me up. That I often require a little excitement I 
know very well. 

The rest of my life is most insipid and monotonous, 
and creeps comfortably along at a snail's pace. I 
frequently go for a walk all by myself, play the piano 
a great deal, often go to lectures, etc. I rarely if 
ever go to the tavern, etc., but fence a little in the 
fencing-school, and that is the whole of my college 
life. Otherwise, I only associate with Semmel and 
Gotte (from Brunswick), who are about the finest 
fellows among all the students, and are very fond 
of me, as I am of them. Dr. Cams and his family are 
just the same cordial, homely, and warm-hearted as 
ever. They like you immensely, and send you no 
end of kind regards, etc. 

Besides them, I do not visit any families. I have 
got rather a horror of it, and always feel miserable 
among people who do not understand me, and whom 
I cannot care for. I am very often with Wieck, who 
teaches me the piano, and there I get the chance 
every day of making the acquaintance of the most 



32 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

excellent musicians in Leipsic. I often play duets 
with Mdlle. Reichold, who is quite the best pianist, 
and am going to perform a four-hand concerto with 

her at one of the grand concerts next winter 

Farewell a thousand times my beloved mother, and 
if you feel unhapy sometimes, then think of your 
child, who is not very happy either, and ardently 
longs once more to embrace some kindred spirits. 

May your life be peaceful and cloudless, and as 
calm as a soft tender chord ; may it not have more 
clouds than are required for a lovely evening land- 
scape, and not more rain than is necessary for a 
tender rainbow of peace. Let the storms rage, we 
will be happy and peaceful in ourselves, and well for 
us if it be so ! 

Oh mother, all things come to an end, but my love 
for you will last for ever, and may your motherly 
love always continue. 

I am, was, and ever shall be, 

Your fond and loving Son, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic Aug. 3ist, 1828. 

THAT you may not accuse me of carelessness, my 
dearest mother, I enclose you my letter of the 22nd, 
which has been lying here all that time, because I 
did not know for certain whether you were still at 
Teplitz or had gone elsewhere. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 33 

I am rather more cheerful than usual just now; 
perhaps in anticipation of seeing home again. You 
can get Therese to sing you Reissiger's " Sweet 
Home." I am always humming it to myself. 

On the whole, my life is still just as I have described 
it in the enclosed letter monotonous and joyless. It 
is a blessing for me that I do not live alone or I 
should easily get misanthropical It gives me no 
pleasure to go to public places, and it often perfectly 
sickens me to see idiotic people. But yet in my own 
heart I am not quite so joyless, and what my fellow 
creatures cannot give me, is given me by music. My 
piano tells me all the deep sentiments which I can- 
not express ; and if I feel depressed I think of the 
dear ones at home who love me, and whom I love so 
dearly, and dream of every flowery vale and childish 
paradise, of the Weissenborn meadows, of the Bauken- 
berg, of Oberhohndorf, where I have often wandered 
about so blissfully, where the whole world used to 
lie before me full of youth and beauty, and every- 
thing around was in bloom and all men seemed 
like angels ; and when I think of these things, the 
sweet spirit of sadness comes and smiles at me so 
gently with his grave, joyful eyes, that I needs must 
weep. Ah, mother, I have too soft a nature, I feel 
that ; and every creature who feels so deeply must be 
unhappy 

I hope to be at Zwickau by the i8th or 2Oth, and 
then we can talk and chat and go for walks to our 
heart's content, and visit all my favourite spots and 

D 



34 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

old playgrounds. A happy meeting does indeed make 
up for every separation ! 

l 

LETTER TO WILLIAM GorrE. 1 

Schneeberg, Oct. 2nd, 1828. 

I ONLY received your letter to-day, my dear Gotte, 
just as I had been thinking of you affectionately, and 
was longing to see you. But I was surprised to hear 
that you were still at Wiirzburg, as I imagined 
you exploring the banks of the Rhine. Your com- 
plaints are just, and History, that eternally mis- 
interpreted oracle, slumbers amidst beautiful ruins and 
tombs, and ruined Pompeii will ever be tearfully 
staring, empty and speechless, at petty mankind, just 
like a satire on the present time. Every man has 
a great and immense longing, a nameless infinite 
something which no words can express. This longing 
awakes in the epic nature of man when he stands be- 
fore ruins or the Pyramids, or in Rome, or in the 
Teutoburg forest, or in a graveyard. In lyric natures 
(of which I am one) it awakes when the sweet 
realms of sound are opened ; or in the dim twilight, 
or during a storm, or when the sun is rising. I think 
that this same something -must have awoke in you when 
you wandered amongst the ruins of lost power and 
enervated intellect, and that you raged and wept be- 
cause you could do nothing. 

Universal education is not to be thought of, how- 
1 A College Friend. 



TO WILLIAM GOTTE. 35 

ever fine Idealistic and Molinistic 1 systems may 
be. It would be a beautiful time if man could 
only let his problems rest peacefully and happily. 
But it is just this eternal striving of man this 
great tremendous onesidedness^ I should like to call 
It which keeps fresh life in us ; and that very rest- 
lessness and discontent in our strife for an a priori 
Ideal, for the highest unsurpassable maximum 
Is the infinite charm which binds us to this miser- 
able existence. We can scarcely imagine the great, 
unfinished picture of Man In Space, but in Time the 
titanic giant-spirits join hands for the formation of 
the highest and for the gigantic work of completed 
creation. I should be in great danger of filling a few 
more sheets with this most attractive subject, did I 
not fear having to pay extra postage, for in these days 
we must even pay taxes and duties on our own 
thoughts, at least, when we express them on paper, or 
realise them ! 

Like many more things, the journey to Bayreuth 
has come to nothing. Flechsig had no money ', Renz 
no inclination, and I no time, three things which are 
avowedly the first necessaries of travel. I am spend- 
ing quiet and happy hours here among my relations 
and Autumn is still lavish with her flowers and 
blossoms, and gives us many a delicious and peaceful 
holiday, such as one enjoys but too rarely in life. 

Has Schiitz gone to Munich ? Where is Giinther 

1 Molina, a Jesuit of the sixteenth century, advocated a rather 
doubtful morality. 



36 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

off to ? I am sorry for both of them ; they have fresh 
and youthful natures, but are like two crystal mirrors 
which have been so roughly breathed upon by student- 
life that they have become quite dull, and can no 
longer reflect anything at all onesided . . 

Philosopher Reutel keeps on disputing with his 
accustomed eloquence about "the relative," "the abso- 
lute," "the negative," Idealism, Dualism, Cosmo- 
politism, Pantheism, etc. The Atheists laugh at them 
all. Perhaps you are one of them ? or at any rate 

a dissidentist ? Eh ? Well, good-bye, my 

dear fellow. Man can do everything if he wills. 
Then let us will, and we shall act We live in a tre- 
mendous time in spite of the Past, and the Sphinx 
now smiles because she can no longer make us weep. 

Every question once asked of the Past we will now 
put to the Future, and we shall receive an answer. 
First of all we will purify and enlighten our own hearts 
the rest will follow. Man is, as he always has been ; 
but he might, should, and ought to be better. 

SCHUMANN. 

I shall certainly go to Heidelberg at Easter. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 37 

To His MOTHER. 

Leipsic, Oct. 24th, 1828. 

MY heart was very heavy, my dearest mother, when 
I took my last long look from the top of the Mosler 
Berg, and said good-bye to you and my dear home. 
All nature seemed like a fresh spring day, and the 
whole radiant world smiled so joyfully and sweetly 
upon me and my lonely pilgrimage. When we have 
to part from dear friends, and are bidding them 
good-bye, our souls vibrate with a soft sad minor 
chord which is rarely heard. The twilight hours of 
our dead childhood, the pictures of the fleeting pre- 
sent, and the long vista of future years, all chime 
together like a peal of bells in one long-drawn chord. 
The brilliant future strives to displace the gentle past, 
and vague tender feelings are having a mild con- 
test in our hearts. And then comes that sweet 
angel of sadness, who would fain make us weep, but 
cannot, for he is smiling himself. Oh, for the lovely 
rainbow in the excited soul, when the sun of joy is 
shining, though heavenly tears are falling ! Oh, for 
that sadness, when the heart is full to overflowing, and 
weeps and smiles, and weeps again ! Slowly I pursued 
my way, torn by conflicting emotions. A solitary 
bird sang faintly in the wood, and the farm people 
and their horses moved quietly along the high road. 
The sere and yellow leaves of glowing Autumn rustled 
now and again as they fell, and everything was' so 



38 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

still and so sublimely peaceful that I fell into a tender, 
gentle mood. I sat down by the side of a field, and 
ate my breakfast with" a joyful heart, and the roast beef 
and buttered rolls tasted better than the birds'-nest- 
soup and all the delicacies of the Leipsic Hotels. It 
was a glorious evening, and my soul was full of peace. 
Just outside Altenburg I sat down to rest for a few 
quiet moments and gazed into the sunset, and the 
picture of " sweet home " stole softly before my mind's 
eye, and then sank, glowing and blushing with the last 
rays of the setting sun into the quiet grave of the past. 
Therese once more stood before me, softly singing 
" Sweet Home." And that night, at Altenburg, as I 
was dropping off to sleep, all the moments of that 
day and of the past swept dimly by me, and like a 
distant echo of the soul the sounds melted and died 
away, and the last faint note was " Sweet Home," 
Then I went blissfully to sleep, but did not dream, 
for the dream-god was loath to disturb the wanderer's 
light slumbers. 

How one can chatter, to be sure, about a journey of 
eight hours ! And even now I could fill many more 
pages were . I to describe all that I saw I mean in my 
soul. Oh, I have spent hours in Zwickau, which made 
up for days in Leipsic ! Oh, for those quiet Autumn 
evenings at home which filled our souls with delight. 
Oh, for those gilded heights and blooming valleys ! not 
Leipsic, with all its theatres and concerts, can make 
up in the slightest degree for such peaceful life in 
Nature among kind friends. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 39 

When on my return here I entered my old room 
once more, and found everything just as I had left it, 
I felt, I may say for the first time, thoroughly at home 
in Leipsic. And when I had arranged everything, 
and put things in their proper places, my heart seemed 
to whisper : " The winter will atone for all the miser- 
able summer hours." Well, I will hope, and try to 
make myself comfortable ; for even the love of one's 
home and the scenes of one's childhood may become a 
weakness if they prevent one from being contented 
with the present, and only make one moan over the 
past And I cannot and will not be weak-minded. 

Let me once more thank you with all my heart, my 
beloved mother, for the many wonderful proofs of 
your maternal love which you gave me at Zwickau. 

If you had only been a little more cheerful some- 
times there would have been nothing wanting to com- 
plete my happiness ; but as I nearly always saw you 
sitting in your old arm-chair in the bow window, it is 
difficult to imagine you in any other position. When 
I come back for Christmas, dearest mother, let this 
last sentence of mine have lost its point. You 
understand me, don't you ? I only mean to say, " Be 
more cheerful, and do not throw away the pleasures 
of life bestowed upon you from above without en- 
joying and appreciating them ! " Do you hear that, 
my dear little mother ? 

Answer me soon. Your letters are as intellectual 
as yourself a lovely crystal mirror of your soul, 
which lights up and warms your son's heart ! 



40 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

Farewell, dearest mother, and if ever I closed s 
letter with the most fervent good wishes for youi 
welfare, health, and happiness, I am doing so now. 

Your ever constant 

ROBERT. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, November 25th, 1828. 

THIS is the very first time, dearest Mother, that 
I have not shaken hands with you on your birthday, 
but to me it is just the same red-letter day as it used 
to be when I was a child, and gave you a nosegay, 
and whispered my childish wishes. It is rather too 
bad that on this day, of all others, I must begin by 
asking your forgiveness for not having written any 

verses But nevertheless, I am sending you a 

poem, dream, or vision, or whatever you like to call it 

I went to sleep very sorrowfully. Dreams hovered 

about me, until my good genius exclaimed : "Your 

mother's birthday is near." Then my visions took 

definite shape, and I dreamed that a world of hearts 

lay before me. Crushed and penitent souls flitted 

hither and thither, and those who had been saved and 

healed hovered round them and gently soothed their 

sorrows. Then, from the East there came a deep 

voice, clear and sweet as a bell, and the question 

thrilled through every heart : " Whose love endures 

the longest?" Oh, how all the souls trembled at 

that sweet question ! they crowded round, and each 



TO HIS MOTHER. 41 

one said : " Mine." ^Eolian harps accompanied the 
voices, and a blissful dawn rested on all the blossoms. 
And again the voice was heard : "Whose love endures 
the longest?" and the hearts of Friendship came 
forward and said: " A friend's love endures the 
longest, for It is unobtrusive and unconstrained." 
But a wounded soul came flying from the West, and 
her murmured words sounded like a far-away echo : 
"Alas! I was deceived in my friend's love, for it 
was very selfish." Then all the souls quivered and 
shrank back before the question of that wounded soul. 
And the voice from the East rang out again : 
" Whose love endures the longest ? " And the hearts 
of Early Love appeared, and said : " The lover's love 
endures the longest, for it is the most ardent of any." 
But as they were declaring this so joyfully, and 
young hearts began once more to think of this 
beautiful world and the sunny spring time of first 
love, a down-trodden heart struggled out of the West, 
and sadly moaned : " Not that love either, for my 
lover only caused me tears of grief, and then left me 
alone with my sorrows, and my young heart was 
withered." And once more it flashed from the East, 
but there was sorrow and anger in the voice, as the 
great question again ran through the realm: "Is 
there no love which endures the longest?" And 
behold, a heart that had been lost, and saved again, 
spoke, and said:" A mother's love endures the 
longest, for she loves unselfishly." Ah, then there 
was no soul to come forward and say : "I was not 



42 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

loved in this way, and all the hearts engaged in a 
loving strife, and all cried: "Yes, a mother's love 
endures the longest/' and they were joyful, and thought 
of all the affectionate tears, so consoling and warning, 
which their mothers had shed for them in the world. 
And the blossoms and flowers waved, and the ^Eolian 
harps sounded, and all the heartstrings echoed the 
joyful words :" Mother's love endures the longest." 

My dream was over, and when I awoke my heart 
felt comforted, and I was murmuring to myself, 
" Mother's love endures the longest," but I was still 
half asleep, and another voice seemed to whisper the 
answer: "And the child returns that love with an 
ardent affection." 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, March 2ist, 1829. 
MY dear good Mother, 

If this is not a consoling letter you must believe 
that I myself have need of consolation. Such is 
life ! Only a few weeks ago, when writing to me, our 
poor dear Julius signed himself : "Your most happy 
brother," and to-day he can hardly hold the pen in 
his trembling fingers, I was afraid something was 
wrong, from Edward's letter, and have been very 
anxious all the week. I can well imagine what a 
state you are in now, with an invalid in the house, 
and such a dear invalid ; how worried you must be ! 
and shut up in a tiny room too ! Oh heavens ! 



TO HIS MOTHER. 43 

Why cannot I be with you ? But there is no pros- 
pect of my going to you as soon as you seem to 
hope, unless, indeed, Julius should again become 
dangerously ill, in which case I implore you, by all 
that you hold dear, to let me know at once, so that 
I may join you. But that would be worst of all,, 
dearly as I should love to see and console you, if I 
only could ! 

To THE SAME. 

Heidelberg, May 24th, 1829. 

YOU must put on your spectacles, my beloved 
Mother, for postage is expensive now, and I shall 
have to write as small as possible. 

You will see from the way in which I begin this, 
first letter to you, that I am anything but melancholy ;, 
but the man who could be sad in my princely 
lodging, overlooking the glorious old castle and green 
oak forests, must indeed be a miserable sinner. I 
think I know you well enough to feel pretty sure that 
you will enjoy a few extracts from the diary of my 
short journey. 

The drive from Leipsic to Frankfort was really like 
a flight through hundreds of spring skies, and a 
continual change of merry and intellectual travelling 
companions made up to a great extent for the fatigue 
and exhaustion of night-travelling, I soon made 
friends with Wilibald Alexis, and we were inseparable 
until he went North and I South. Th^re was one 



44 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

very eccentric passenger, a Prussian, named R., 
who turned out to be a Secretary of Legation, and 
was going to Frankfort for the " Bundestag." l I had 
hardly exchanged a few commonplaces with him, 
before he launched forth ex abrupto upon the numerous 
perfections of his wife, at Berlin, and assured me that 
his whole happiness was bound up in hers. He 
recited poetry quite unasked, and produced minia- 
tures of his wife. I confess I never came across any 
one of the kind before, but I liked him, because 
there was great nobility and good feeling in all that 
he said. Of course Alexis could think of nothing 
better to do than to introduce this character into a 
new novel he was writing. Amongst my other 
fellow-travellers, there was a Jew leather-seller from 
Frankfort, who was of the shop, shoppy ; a nice old 
lady, who had seen a number of plays at the Gotha 
theatre ; and two French Jews, who had drunk rather 
more wine than was good for them, and talked all 
night about nothing. 

You caa hardly deny that I have shown great 
powers of observation in the description which I 
have just laid at your feet ! 

Now my route takes quite a different direction. 
As soon as we reached Hanau, we turned sharp 
round to the right towards Frankfort, and the very 
sky seemed to rejoice at this happy event, for it was 
as clear, and blue, and cloudless, as my eyes are at this 

1 A diet of the states constituting the German, " Bund/ 7 which 
was held at Frankfurt from 1815 to 1866. TR. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 



45 



moment ; and what is more It stayed In this benign 
mood for the rest of the journey. Now I am going 
on in quite a different vein. The beautiful Main at 
our feet, bearing boats and light skiffs on his spark- 
ling bosom, accompanied us with his pleasant murmur 
as far as Frankfort. All the trees were in full bloom, 
luxuriant cornfields waved in the breeze, with yellow 
rape seed growing in between ; crowds of spring birds 
started up under our feet, and sang and rejoiced at 
my speedy arrival in Frankfort 

You must excuse my enlarging much upon Frank- 
fort to-day, for if I did my letter would grow into a 
folio volume. They are just beginning service in the 
Catholic Church next door, and the congregation is 
singing. I cannot write when I am listening to 
music, so will conclude for to-day, and only add, that 
in my present lodging I have got the Catholic Church 
on my right hand, and a lunatic asylum on my left, 
so that I am really in doubt whether to turn Catholic 
or go mad ! 

25th, Morning. 

I stopped to take breath before beginning about 
Frankfort, dear mother; but now having refreshed my 
memory I will start off again at full gallop on the 
express coach of my thoughts. 

On the 1 3th of May, at 2,30 p.m., I made my entrance 
into Frankfort, not quite in such grand style as the 
German Emperors at their coronation, but at heart 
just as rich as any one of them. Of course the first 



46 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

tiling I did was to have a good wash, and to emerge 
likel phoenix from the dust of the coach ; the next, 
to consume a substantial beef-steak Then Alexis and 
I strolled through the interesting town, and along the 
banks of the Main. The sky was perfectly bright and 
clear, and the walks and public gardens round the town 
are simply unrivalled Leipsic has nothing to compare 
-with them. In the distance the dark outline of the 
gigantic Taunus Mountains was sharply defined against 
the blue and gold tints of the evening sky. The Main 
wound through the blossoming spring gardens like a 
band of silver. Thousands of girls strolled about in 
.groups under the trees, and children played their 

merry games All sounds gradually ceased. 

The moon's face shone through the white blossoms, 
the nightingales warbled their enchanting song, and 
the waving lilacs and drooping acacias filled the 
air with sweet perfume. I wandered about aim- 
lessly, North, South, East, and West, and felt as 
though I had been there before in some delicious 
dream. The last light was presently extinguished in 
the summer-houses. I listened to somebody, probably 
a girl, playing the piano late into the night, and when 
she stopped I carne out from the acacias and walked on, 
lost in thought " Admission four Kreutzer," shouted 
the gatekeeper, as I reached the city walls. I paid 
liim, laughed, and was back again on this prosy old 
earth. Then I went quietly to sleep, and dreamed 

about Zwickau My cigar went out during 

this gushing description of my travels, but now I am 



TO HIS MOTHER. 47 

in full swing again. By the way, I am glad to observe 
that I am writing very nicely and distinctly to-day. 
Yesterday I described a sentimental journey, so 
now listen to my historical, antiquarian, and artistic 
excursion on the I4th. The very first thing in the 
morning I had an intense desire to play the piano. 
So I calmly walked into the first music shop I came 
to, and told them I was tutor to a young English lord 
who wanted to buy a piano. I played for three hours, 
much stared at and applauded, and then told them I 
would let them know in a day or two whether my lord 
would buy the instrument or not, but by that time I 
was in Riidesheim drinking Riidesheimer! Nothing 
pleases me more than prowling about an old town 
without any sort of object or destination, and ex- 
ploring all its holes and corners. Alexis is of the 
same way of thinking, so for four days we wandered 
about the oldest parts of the city. How far more 
varied, interesting, and poetical is such a style ot 
building, where every minute one sees something 
new, than the straight, uniform, symmetrical streets, 
a couple of miles long, of our modern architec- 
ture. That afternoon we accepted an invitation we 
had received to go and see the Counsellor of the 
Embassy George During, where we only met his 
wife and Mrs. Ferdinand 1 Ries, a most beautiful 
Englishwoman. When she spoke English it sounded 
like an angel's whisper. The conversation was carried 

1 Ferdinand Ries was Beethoven's pupil. He retired from 
England to the Rhine in 1824. TR, 



4S SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

on principally in French, and I found I could speak far 
more fluently than W. Alexis, for which I felt deeply 
grateful to old Bodmer 1 for the first time in my life. 
We then went with During to inspect the Museum, 
the house where Goethe was born, and the Beth- 
mann Gardens. But Dannecker's Ariadne in Naxos ! 
Imagine a perfectly ideal woman, proudly and 
gracefully curbing a raging panther which she rides 
in the full consciousness of her beauty and power. 
The panther seems almost inclined to resent it, yet 
fawningly rubs his head against her hand, while her 
head is thrown back, and she looks proudly towards 
heaven. What a beautiful idea it is that beauty can 
tame everything, even the most savage nature ! The 
Ariadne is of the finest white Carrara marble, and 
is placed in a room partly darkened with coloured 
hangings. The sun was just shining on a bright 
crimson curtain, and the marble looked as pure as 
driven snow sparkling in the morning light. Enough 
of this. One cannot describe that sort of thing ; one 
can only see it and feel it In the evening we had a 
very good performance of the " Schachmaschine " 2 at 

the theatre The drive to Wiesbaden was like 

a merry living picture by Hogarth, or some painter of 
the Dutch school. There were six people in the coach 
a beautiful and intellectual girl with a Grecian nose, 
a native of Wiesbaden ; an old student ; a despe- 
rate merchant-speculator with rolling eyes ; two old 

1 His former master. 2 The automaton chess-player. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 49 

women who were going to take the waters In Wies- 
baden, and Alexis with a splitting headache. The 
weather was glorious, and I made no bones of sitting 
on the box-seat next the driver, and occasionally 
handling the ribbons myself. By Jove, how those 
horses did go, and how we stopped at every inn to 
bait them, and how I did amuse the whole company, 
and how sorry they all were when I had to say good- 
bye to them at Wiesbaden ! I really do not know 
when I have been in such a divinely merry mood. On 
Saturday we looked about Wiesbaden. A letter of 
introduction from Rohde, the Secretary of the 
Embassy, had great effect. Wiesbaden is prettily 
situated, but those enormous marble palaces, halls, 
and houses, all so very much alike, are not exactly 
inspiriting. Avenues, castles, parks, etc., bore me 
frightfully, and I would a thousand times rather have 
the little irregular streets and houses of Frankfort 
or Nuremberg. 

At 9 o'clock we started from Wiesbaden, and I 
closed my eyes so that I might thoroughly enjoy the 
first glimpse of dear, majestic old Father Rhine, and 
when I opened them there he lay before me, quiet 
and peaceful, proud and grave, like some old German 
god, in the heart of the lovely green fertile Rheingau, 
with its mountains and ravines and vineyards. In 
six hours we passed through Hochheim, Erbach, 
Hattenheim, Markobrunnen, Geisenheim, etc* And 
what characteristic faces one finds even in the lowest 
classes. In my diary I find written : " On the western 

E 



5 



SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



banks of the Rhine the girls have very fine features, 
but expressing deep feeling rather than intellect 
Noses mostly of the Grecian type, faces oval and 
classically regular, hair brown (I hardly saw a single 
blonde), complexions soft and delicate, with more 
white than pink in them; expression melancholy 
rather than sanguine. The Frankfort girls, on the 
other hand, all have one trait in common. They all 
bear the expression of grave, manly, German earnest- 
ness, and you find this in many of the free old Ger- 
man cities, while towards the east it gradually verges 
into a gentle sensuality. Almost all the Frankfort 
girls have character in their faces, but few of them are 
either intellectual or beautiful. Noses mostly straight, 
but often turned up. I do not admire their patois." 

We arrived at Riidesheim at 5 o'clock, and after 
refreshing ourselves with food and drink started 
from Asmannshausen for the glorious Niederwald, 
which affords the most magnificent view in the whole 
Rheingau. As to the old castles, which we used to 
read and dream about in our youth, they fared like 
everything else. We went into raptures over the first 
two or three, and longed to explore them, but soon 
passed them quietly by as every-day occurrences. 
The beautiful ruin of Ehrenfels, which was quite the 
first I saw, looked proudly down upon me and on 
the Mausethurm in the Rhine, the legend of which 
you doubtless know. The sun was setting in perfectly 
royal splendour, and twilight stole gradually upon us. 
Off Riidesheim boats were moored with their merry 



TO HIS MOTHER. 51 

crews ; old men sat on the benches in front of the houses 
smoking their pipes ; fine healthy-looking children 
played about on the banks of the river, and I almost for- 
got to watch for the moon to rise. The noises ceased 
one by one, and I ordered a glass of " Riidesheimer." 
The old waterman and his daughter led me to a 
rowing-boat, for the Rhine was as calm as a mill-pond, 
and the sky quite bright and clear. Riidesheim with 
its dark Roman ruins was reflected in the water, which 
looked simply entrancing in the moonlight. Above 
us, on its steep hill, stood the lonely chapel of St. Roch. 
We rowed up and down ; my heart was full. The 
waterman's Pomeranian dog lay near his master 
and wagged his tail. I shouted his name, and echo 
sent it back again and again: " Anchor, Anchor, 
Anchor." Then I called " Robert," and then we 
landed. The moon spread its silvery light around, 
and the murmuring waves of the Rhine gently hushed 
the wanderer to sleep. 

On Sunday, May i/th, I first set foot on the other 
bank of the Rhine, with a joyful feeling of reverence 
and veneration, and my heart gently whispered, 
" France." We crossed over to Bingen, On the 
Klapp, an old Roman fortification, we saw the 
prison of the Emperor Henry IV., a gruesome 
hole, which a tramp would be ashamed to own, and 
there is also a good view of the whole west bank of 
the Rhine. The ^Eolian harps placed in the draughty 
corners of the old ruin fascinated me for a long time 
with their wonderful, long-drawn, minor chords. We 



52 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

had our midday meal at Bingen, and here is the bill 

of fare : 

Delicious Soup. 

Roast Beef or Cutlets, with three sorts of Vegetables. 
Asparagus and Ox Tongue. 

Meat Patties. 

Minced Veal or Stewed Liver. 

Eels or Trout. 

Fresh Salmon. 

Stuffed Pigeons in a Pie. 

Three different Joints. 

Choicest Dessert. 

If you are not pleased now with this prodigal son 
of the Heidelberg Muses, who tells you all about his 
journey, even down to his bill of fare, I really do not 
know what I shall do with you. " Oh/' I hear you 
exclaiming, "what shall we give this boy to eat, that 
he will relish, when he comes home next Easter ? " 
My dear mother, don't give me anything but some 
soup, and a slice off the joint, or a bit of steak. 

Unfortunately it is the fashion at Heidelberg for 
everybody to dine at the table d'hdte, so that one has 
very little variety, to say nothing of the expense, 
and has to be eating and drinking for more than 
an hour, when I prefer polishing off a meal in five 
minutes ! 

After this rather prosaic digression, behold me on a 
steamer en route for Coblenz, When I was at Frank- 
fort Doring gave me an excellent map of the Rhine,, 
and I really looked rather neat, sitting bareheaded 
on the deck smoking a cigar, and studying my map 



TO HIS MOTHER. 53 

with a glass in my eye ! I defy anyone to describe 
that country, with its bold romantic fortresses and 
castles, so I will spare you the names of all the river- 
side towns and mansions which I rushed past, as in a 
dream. On the boat I met a painter from Mainz, who 
knew Glaser of Darmstadt very well, and told me a lot 
of stories about him. That Sunday evening was too 
glorious for me to follow out my original plan and 
go and squeeze myself into one of the narrow little 
streets of Coblenz, so I landed on the opposite side 
of the Rhine, at a little village called Capellen, where 
I spent the night alone, Alexis having gone on to 
Coblenz, and the delicious evening more than made 
up for my change of plan. The pretty village girls 
walked about on the river-banks in their smartest 
clothes, and the Rhine was illuminated in the East by 
the silvery light of the rising moon, and in the West 
by the golden beams of the setting sun. Just between 
the reflected lights the water looked quite green, 
which is its natural colour. Dozens of boats full of 
merry rollicking people passed up and down, while 
hundreds of nightingales, which are as common here 
as sparrows with us, made night beautiful with their 
grave sweet song, and darkness crept slowly down 
upon us from the mountains. I slept delightfully, 
and dreamt that Julius was standing before me quite 
strong and well. When I awoke, the rising sun was 
shining in my eyes. 

The whole country about here is Catholic. But 
what a difference between the Catholics of the Rhine 



54 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

and those of Bohemia and Lower Bavaria ! Here 
they are so gentle and humane, their faces not dis- 
torted by fanaticism, their eyes not sunken and 
hollow from religious enthusiasm. Do you think 
there are many such girls in Bavaria, Bohemia, or 
even in Saxony and other Protestant countries, as a 
young Catholic woman in Capellen, who certainly 
deserved a better fate than to wait upon me ! The 
girl said to me so innocently and brightly: " He who 
looks upon his religion as a mere name has no religion 
at all. The best way is to be good and true, and 
everyone can put that into practice, be he Protestant 
or Catholic" My diary for that day concludes with 
these sad words, " The Leipsic cigars are at an end/* 
for both tobacco and coffee are simply execrable on 
the Rhine. 

The morning of the i8th of May (Monday) was 
almost lovelier than any we had had, and at 5 a.m. 
I climbed up to the beautiful ruin of Stolzenfels, a 
glorious, lofty rock, from which you get a magnificent 
view, and what more do you want ? As I was poking 
about among the ruins, all overgrown with ivy and 
gorse, I came upon a stout man, with a ribbon in his 
buttonhole, accompanied by a lovely woman and two 
children, who remarked to me, in broken German, 
that such a view was really worth getting up early to 
see. He asked a few questions, and then courteously 
took leave, and went away. It was only Crown Prince 
Frederick of Holland, with his wife and children, as I 
found out from his suite at the bottom of the hill. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 55 

At II I started for Coblenz, In the company 
of a merry, rather tipsy dancing-master, who, so I 
was told, was formerly much respected, but had of 
late taken very considerably to drink, and lost his 
character. When I saw him he seemed most anxious 
to find out what people thought of him. He was 
a great amusement to me, as a study of physiology. 
" I am really quite a good fellow," he said to me 
amongst other things, " but I have got a most con- 
founded fault : I am too fond of treating fellows 
to a drink, and only get laughed at for my pains 
after all ! 3) Of course I laughed at this frank con- 
fession, but there was much truth in what he said, 
and truth is acceptable in any form. Even in the 
most commonplace characters one nearly always finds 
something remarkable to add to one's knowledge of 
men and things. 

I arrived at Coblenz with my dancing-master at 
I o'clock, and must say that on the whole I was 
horribly bored there. In my diary I find the follow- 
ing entry about this part of my journey: " Fusty 
Prussian soldiers, fusty company at dinner, fusty 
piano, fusty Mosel-wine, fusty dinner, and myself 
uncommonly fusty ! " Parting with my fellow- traveller, 
W. Alexis, had something to do with this, for it was 
here I said good-bye to him, as he went on to Paris. 
Coblenz is splendidly situated, and the Mosel running 
into the Rhine is really not half bad. 

On Tuesday, May igth, I intended to go back to 
Mainz by steamer, but how could I help it that the 



56 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LE TTERS. 

lazy lout of a boots forgot to call me ? But he got 
a fearful scolding for it, both from myself and the 
landlord. In the afternoon I visited the Prussian 
fortress Ehrenbreitstein, and then roamed about 
among the vineyards, I had made up my mind for a 
very dull evening, but found the landlord of my inn 
had got up a regular musical party, at which I drew 
forth sweet sounds from the old tin-kettle of a 
piano (especially when a string broke), and there was 
much talking, singing, and drinking Maitrank. 1 

On Wednesday, May 2Oth, at 6 o'clock in the 
morning, there I was, proud and happy, on the 
deck -of the steamer " Friedrich Wilhelm." The 
company was pretty select, but I fled from their con- 
ventional chatter, and joined some retired old Dutch 
soldiers in the bows, and made them " fight their 
battles o'er again," especially Waterloo. The cabins 
of the steamer were arranged in the most princely 
style, but the people on deck amused me more, and 
if I were only a bit of an artist I could have sent you 
many an amusing group ; for instance, two old soldiers 
lying asleep with their heads resting on their knap- 
sacks, a couple of smart students stalking up and 
down, ladies in fits of laughter, sailors in red shirts 
making up the fire, a painter in spectacles taking 
hurried sketches of the country, an Englishman 
making frantic grimaces and dragging his collar up 
to his ears, the cook in his white cap clutching a 

1 Rhine-wine, with bunches of sweet woodruff steeped in it, 
which gives it a peculiar wild flavour. TR, 



TO HIS MOTHER. $7 

piece of raw steak, and so busy he does not know 
where to turn, and myself sitting on deck writing 
poetry and observing everybody at the same time, 
especially keeping my eye on a civil waiter who 
is bringing me a glass of " Riidesheimer," etc. The 
arrangements below were splendid : satin ottomans, 
mahogany and bronze furniture, red silk curtains, 
plate glass windows, and everything most comfortable. 
They had all the newspapers, an excellent table 
d'hdte, and first-rate wine ; there was chess, and even 
a billiard table, for the movement of the vessel was 
so very slight that it was not felt at all in the saloons, 
and the balls lay quite motionless. In short, there 
was everything necessary both for mind and body, 
and what more could one want ? And yet I longed to 
go on deck again so went and sat in the bows without 
my hat, sipped a cup of coffee, and smoked some 
excellent cigars, presented to me by an Englishman. 
I remained alone there the whole afternoon, and 
enjoyed the breeze blowing through my hair so much, 
that I then and there wrote a poem in praise of the 
north-east wind, and, by Jove, it did not turn out half 
bad. The people thought me a queer fish, and one 
of the crew told me I should make a capital sailor, 
because I braved the wind with a bare head. 

Mainz, with its lovely red towers and hundreds 
of ships close at hand, gleamed picturesquely and 
proudly through the trees. I got there at 7 o'clock, 
and for the first time during my journey came in for 
a most wretched meal at the "Drei Reichskronen" inn, 



5 8 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

after which I went for a stroll among the churches and 
streets. In the evening I examined my exchequer, 
and found to my great surprise, though I had rather 
foreseen this dilemma, that I was reduced to three 
florins. So I did not fall asleep quite without cares. 

The next morning, May 2ist, I hired a miserable 
fly, but was lucky enough to find an agreeable com- 
panion in a jovial old major with a heavy moustache, 
who had been Murat's adjutant, had spent fourteen 
years in Spain and Naples, was condemned to death 
with Murat, and finally released. Of course I let him 
do all the talking. From Mainz to Worms I did not 
see a single pretty face. We lunched at Worms, 
looked in at the Cathedral, and the Lutheran Church, 
where Luther made his profession of faith. We asked 
our guide how long the church had been built, and he 
told us 120 years. We laughed, but my merriment 
was somewhat forced when my hand came in contact 
with my waistcoat pocket Unfortunately the gallant 
major left me before we got to Mannheim, where I 
arrived about 4 o'clock. I could not drive for obvious 
reasons, so I gladly started to walk, as I foresaw a 
cloudy evening and glorious sunset. On the road I 
passed the very fingerpost near which Sand is standing 
lost in thought, in the picture which hangs in our 
drawing-room. What I foresaw came to pass. The 
evening was fine but stormy, and a glorious crimson 
sun sank behind the dark masses of cloud. About 
9 o'clock that night I arrived in my longed-for Heidel- 
berg, amid conflicting emotions of joy and sorrow. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 59 

And now, my beloved mother, I will conclude my 
account of this short but most enjoyable little episode 
in my journey through life. In my next letter I will 
give you a detailed description of my pleasant Heidel- 
berg life, to which that good fellow Rosen has intro- 
duced me. Accept this my first letter in the same 
spirit of loving affection as it is written. 

I hope soon to receive a perfectly endless letter 
from you, dearest mother, with news of all my 
dear ones, to each of whom I will write soon. This 
letter will have to last you a longtime. When I write 
again you shall hear all about less important matters* 
such as my lodgings, piano, and college life in 
general. 

I will only say good-bye, for you know all my 
childish wishes for your happiness and welfare. 

Your 

ROBERT. 

To THE SAME. 

Heidelberg, July i7th, 1829. 

AT last, my dear mother, after eight long weary 
weeks your longed-for letter arrived, 5 was much 
relieved when I saw the red seal, although you do not 
write in a particularly cheerful strain, and tell me one 
piece of bad news after another. Of course what 
touched me most was the death of the little innocent 
angel, 1 whose life just lasted one spring. In these 

1 It was his brother's child. 



60 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

cases man almost thinks he has a right to ask, Why 
was this done to me ?" Seume has written a fine essay, 
entitled, " The reason why the death of little children 
grieves us more than the loss of our grown-up friends." 
We will forgive the parents their tears,. for in truth 
there are none shed in so just a cause. 

It is but small comfort to me to hear that dear 
Julius is only middling. In every letter from you I 
shall look out for a gradual improvement from 
"middling" to "quite well." Man is much more un- 
happy in his misery than he is happy in his good 
fortune, and an invalid appreciates the blessings of 
health much more than a strong man, which really 

seems doubly hard As far as I am concerned, 

I am very jolly, and at times quite happy. I am in- 
dustrious and regular, and enjoy my Jurisprudence 
tmder Thibaut and Mittermayer immensely, and am 
only now beginning to appreciate its true worth, and 
the way in which it assists all the highest interests of 
humanity. And, good heavens ! what a difference there 
Is between the Leipsic professor, who stood at his desk 
at lecture and rattled off his paragraphs without 
any sort of eloquence or inspiration, and this man 
Thibaut, who, although about twice as old as the other, 
is overflowing with life and spirits, and can hardly find 
words or time to express his feelings. The life here 
is pleasant enough, although not so grand as that of 
a city, or so varied as at Leipsic, which had its good 
as well as its bad points to a young man. But that is 
really the only thing that I miss here. One has quite 



TO HIS MOTHER. 61 

a wrong Idea of the Heidelberg student. In reality 
he is a very quiet, smart, ceremonious creature, who 
often only assumes a polite and engaging manner 
because it does not come naturally to him. The 
student is quite the most important person in or about 
Heidelberg, which simply could not exist without him. 
Of course the townspeople and the Philistines are 
cringingly polite. It does not seem to me a good thing 
for a young man to come into a town where the student 
reigns supreme. The character of a young fellow Is 
only strongly and properly developed by difficulties ; 
and that perpetual dawdling about with students, and 
students only, has the most injurious effect on the 
breadth of his opinions, and consequently on the whole 
practical side of his life. That is one advantage which 
Leipslchas over Heidelberg, and all big towns over 
small ones. It is fortunate that I have learned to 
look upon everything rather more soberly, but I 
shall certainly send my future son for one year to 
Heidelberg, and for three years to Leipsic. On the 
other hand, Heidelberg has this advantage, that the 
lovely picturesque neighbourhood keeps the student 
from many drinking bouts and other amusements, and 
for this reason the students here are far steadier than 
at Leipsic. Food is cheap In comparison with Leipsic, 
and yet In a way it Is dearer, as one is obliged to dine 
at the table d'hdte and drink wine every day. I con- 
sider it perfectly awful to have to sit at table for an 
hour every day ; and, good Lord 1 what a terrible waste 
of. time It Is, Give me a plate of soup and a slice off 



<62 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

the joint, which I can devour in six minutes and have 
done with it ! But as it is, one has eaten more than 
one wants before the joint is brought in. Every dinner 
costs me 36 kreutzer or 8 groschen (about lod.), and 
at Leipsic I only paid 5 groschen, which makes a 
tremendous difference in one's finances. But every- 
thing else is pretty cheap here. My rooms are 54 
thalers a year ; piano hire, 36 thalers. At Leipsic I 
paid 64 thalers for the room and 48 for the piano. 
Here, coffee is 16 kreutzer, beer I groschen ; at Leipsic 
2 groschen and 3 groschen respectively, etc., etc. 
.Now I have faithfully told you all my little affairs. 

And yet, my bright little Heidelberg, you are so 
lovely, so innocent, and idyllic, and if one may com- 
pare the Rhine and its rocky hills to a fine strong man, 
so the Neckar valley might be likened to a lovely girl. 
There everything is massive and rugged, vibrating in 
old Teutonic harmonies ; here everything breathes a 
soft melodious song of Provence. I have enclosed a 
few small views where you can often imagine me 
roaming about, and can pick out the prettiest spots 
where your far away Robert loves to sit and dream, 
and think of nothing except Zwickau, your dear self, 
Edward, Julius, and all of you. 

Of course Music goes very much to the wall. There 
is not such a thing as a really good pianist in the place, 
and I am already well known as a player ; but I am 
not yet on intimate terms with any of the families, 
though I dare say I shall go more into society in the 
winter, when it will doubtless be very nice and pleasant, 



TO HIS MOTHER. 63 

as there are plenty of girls who like being coufrted 
and admired. In fact, it is quite a common thing for 
dozens of students to be engaged, and with the parents* 
sanction too, and of course the sentimental young 
ladies want to be wooed and married, but meet nothing 
but students, so engagements are the order of the day. 
You need not be in the least alarmed about me, and 
the very fact that I tell you everything so truthfully 
and openly will show you that there is no cause for 
anxiety. 

I have been neglecting the piano terribly of late, 
but hope to make up for it in the winter ; the fact is, 
that summer is the time for dreaming and winter for 
working. 

Besides Rosen and Semmel, with whom I spend 
many a delightful hour, I associate with sundry 
Prussians, a few Englishmen, and a Greek, Count M., 
but I have scores of other acquaintances to whom I 
bow in the street and talk conventional common- 
places. 

In anticipation of my proposed journey, 1 I am 
working hard at French and Italian, and am beginning 
to speak and write both quite decently, which will 
come in very useful in future. I will send you 
descriptions of my route as I go along. In any case, 
you will receive my next letter either from Milan or 
Venice. I shall probably start with Rosen on the 2Oth 
of August, as the lectures close at this early date 
because the Natural History Society has its meeting 

1 To Italy. 



64 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

here. So you will have lots of time to write to me again 
before I start> and I beg of you to do me this favour, my 
dear mother, and not let me languish so long again 
without a letter. 

As to my handwriting, by Jove, I shall never be able 
to change it, and I shall certainly never write better in 
my whole life than I did in my last three letters, when 
I took especial pains to show off my caligraphy to the 
best advantage. Or shall I imagine myself a diplo- 
matist or ambassador for Saxony in the United States 
or somewhere else, and dictate my letters to a clerk, 
and only sign them ? 

Well, send me lots of news, but let your next letter 
be in a happier strain than the last, which left a horrible 
discord jarring in my soul. Do not forget to give my 
love to Julius and Emily 1 every time I write. 

Well, good-bye, my dearest mother. When the 
shadows of life fall upon you, try not to forget that 
there is also a sunny side, and don't be like those 
astronomers who put black spots into the glorious face 
of the sun. My next letter, from Milan, will be written 
in Italian, which Bodemer or Emma Liebenau can 
translate for you. Good-bye, good-bye, I feel your 
motherly good wishes for a happy journey. 

Your son, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

1 His brother and sister-in-law. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 65 

To THE SAME. 

Heidelberg. Aug. 3rd, 1829. 
MY dear darling Mother, 

Your letter has just been brought to me in bed, 
where it roused me from my dreams and castles 
in the air. At first I could hardly believe that it 
was from you, and went on reading and reading, till 
the affection underlying every line, convinced me that 
my mother was the writer. The whole affair lies thus : 
This vacation is not, as you seem to think, arranged 
by me, but is the regular Michaelmas vacation, which 
is purposely fixed at an earlier date by the University, 
to enable the students to visit Switzerland and Italy. 
At Leipsic we used to get six weeks, here we get eight* 
so you see I shall not miss a single lecture. I suppose 
you have got my letter by now, explaining every- 
thing to you. I really speak both French and Italian 
quite respectably ; I have been studying Italian with 
Semmel, and intend during this trip to perfect myself 
in both, and it really comes much cheaper than taking 
lessons for a year, which give one no sort of practical 
advantage. Then, not a single student remains at the 
University during the vacation, and Switzerland is only 
twelve miles l off, and once you are there, it does not 
take long to get to Italy. How many Leipsic students 
make this very tour without missing a single lec- 
ture, so why should not I do likewise, when I live 
sixty miles nearer? Only listen to these sweet 

1 These miles are German miles, each equal to four English. TR. 

F 



66 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

words, "Domo d'Ossola/' " Arena/' " Lago maggiore," 
"Milano," " Brescia," "Verona/ 8 " Padua/' " Venezia," 
and I am sure you will shake hands with me again 
and say : " My dear Robert, a young fellow like 
you must travel, and keep his bodily wings exer- 
cised and trimmed, so as to fly all the better with 
his mental ones, even if it does cost money. And 
then you will see quite another world, and other 
people, you will learn French and Italian, and 
so much is really worth a little expense, etc., etc." 
In short, I feel pretty certain that you will not 
put a spoke in my wheel, for the following twelve 
reasons ; 

ist. Because I have prepared myself so well for my 
journey, that I shall gain much practical knowledge 
by it 

2nd. Because this trip has always been one of the 
most cherished dreams of my life. I must trust to 
Providence (or to my guardian and Edward) not to 
let it remain a dream. 

3rd. Because every Heidelberg student goes for a 
tour during the Michaelmas vacation. 

4th,. Because I have already got two travelling 
companions, Rosen and Ascher from Pomerania. 

5th. Because I can surely afford to spend two or 
three hundred thalers in profitably exploring these 
delightful countries, and their still more delightful 
mountains and valleys. 

6th. Because it is so very easy for Edward to take 
up his pen and write me a cheque. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 67 

7th. Because I must inevitably make this trip some 
time or other, and it comes to the same thing, whether 
I write for money now or later. 

8th. Because I do not intend missing a single lec- 
ture here, as it is a perfect joy to study Law under 
Mittermayer and Thibaut. 

gth. Because everybody ought to be able to talk 
French and Italian fluently, if he wants to get on in 
the world. 

loth. Because this journey is really nothing so very 
wonderful after all. 

nth. Because I have already written to you for 
leave, and to Edward for money. 

1 2th. Because I have now given you twelve very 
good reasons, and there are many more, which I have 
not enumerated. 

I do not intend it in the least as a threat, when I 
tell you, that in this place I could borrow money to 
travel with, at 10 per cent, since students enjoy un- 
limited credit But I feel sure that Providence and 
Edward will not let it come to this 

If all your letters contain as many deaths as the 
last, Zwickau will soon die out I would rather hear 
of marriages. But I must tell you that your last 
letter raised my spirits wonderfully, while the one 
before depressed me very much. May you always 
write to me in such a happy mood ! 

To-day there is going to be a grand Prussian ball, 
to celebrate the birthday of the King of Prussia. It 
is most disloyal of me not to go- Our Zwickau girls 



68 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

dance divinely in comparison with the Heidelberg 
ones, and I made quite a sensation by my galop, for 
they walk it here rather than dance it, while at 
Zwickau they glide along with wings on their feet, 
like muses, or goddesses, or houris in Mahomet's 
paradise. (Heaven grant that the right people may 
read this !) Semmel and Rosen beg to be remembered 
most kindly to you all I am constantly finding some 
fresh trait of goodness and gentleness in both of them, 
and detecting some new charm of their fine natures. 
Honest Rosen supplies the link between my senti- 
mental self and SemmeFs sound common-sense, so we 
are a very harmonious trio. 

If you can manage it, do write to me again, 
my dear mother, and, if possible, let your letter 
be in the same bright strain as the last. A few extra 
ducats as a precautionary measure would not come 
amiss either. 

I trust to Providence and Edward, that my next 
letter will be dated from Milan. I shall send you 
perfect volumes about this journey, which will help to 
shorten your long winter evenings. 

Good-bye, dear mother. I must needs express my 
feelings, both in words and on paper, so pardon me 
this rhapsodical second page, as the first was so very 
short and concise. Let me go away with the 
swallows, then I shall come back to you with them. 
"Italy, Italy," has been ringing in my ears since 
childhood, and I can almost hear you saying, " Now, 
Robert, you will see^ it." Good-bye, mother, e lascia 



TO HIS MOTHER. 69 

mandarmi di denaro. Amami e credimi, carissima, e 
non esser adirata se tu riceverai la mia prossima let- 
tera da Milano. Addio. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

Semmel has not given up his lodging. He is 
staying with H. Panzer on the Neckar, while I lodge 
at Panzer's on the hill ! 

To THE SAME. 

Berne, Aug. 3ist, 1829. 

I SUPPOSE my letter from Basle duly arrived at 
Zwickau. If I was delighted then, I am simply in 
the seventh heaven now ! 

A poetic nature adapts itself as much as possible to 
circumstances, so I try not to think of things as they 
are, but as I want them to be, which makes life much 
nicer and more bearable. For instance, for the last 
four days it has been raining cats and dogs, and all 
the glaciers have been hidden by heavy threatening 
clouds ; but the gloomier it is outside, the more active 
is one's imagination, so that I very likely imagined 
the invisible Alps to be higher and finer than they 
really are. Of course, according to that argument, it 
would be better never to stir from one's own room, but 
become quite absorbed in books, and let the Alps 
take care of themselves. But that would not frighten 
me in the least, for to me there is an immense charm in 
distance alone; and this very feeling, and the presence 
of the old classic mountains, gives rise to a hundred 



7 o SCHUMANWS EARL Y LETTERS. 

other poetical sentiments, not to mention the practical 
usefulness of travelling. 

After this rather prosy digression, I will continue my 
letter from Basle with a few sketches a la Hogarth or 
Titian. In the morning the weather was clear and 
bright, and the Englishmen with whom I was travel- 
ling could not conceive why I chose the very uncom- 
fortable box-seat, but you will understand the reason. 

I exchanged a few fugitive words and glances with 
a mourning young widow from Havre de Grace, to 
which she replied by looks which were anything but 
mournful. You see that I am as outspoken as a 
child, I can give you but little idea of the fertility 
and beauty of the meadows and pastures. The Rhine 
flowed on by our side, with delicious green hills on 
the opposite bank, which stood there like lovely 
children, while the mountains here are hoary, smiling 
old patriarchs. I spent the night at Baden, a 
watering-place (not Baden-Baden), and found the 
usual gay life of such places. 1 met a good many 
Germans, quite an unusual thing, there was a band 
and of course we danced. The sorrowful widow 
went flying about as if her husband was still alive. 
I went from Zurich over the hills to Zug. I wish 
you would look at the map, when you are reading 
my descriptions, so as in a way to accompany me in 
my travels. It was a glorious walk, and not at all 
tiring, because there was so much exquisite variety. 
I wandered on, all by myself, my knapsack on my 
back, and swinging my alpenstock in the mountain 



TO HIS MOTHER. 71 

air. I stopped to look round almost every minute, so 
as to impress these countless Alpine paradises in- 
delibly on my memory. Man is not so unhappy as 
he imagines, for he has a heart which always finds re- 
sponsive echoes in Nature. I skipped down the Albis 
like a gazelle, and when I saw the giant hills, covered 
with vegetation and ice, towering above the lakes, 
which reflected all the colours of the peacock's wing 
when I saw the sheep feeding on the mountain- 
side, and heard sheep-bells tinkling, and church- 
bells ringing, I became very grave and quiet, and 
wandered slowly on, my eyes fixed on the mountains. 

You must spare me the description for the present, 
of how I scaled the Rigi, and got miles above the 
earth, and how I saw the sun set, and then rise, and 
how I became quite intimate with utter strangers, and 
had some sweet glances from a lovely English girl, 
and how all Switzerland lay before me, great and 
peaceful, as it used to be in its early days. 

Now I \vant you to row with me in spirit across a 
dozen smiling lakes, to accompany me over the moun- 
tains to Sarnen and Lucerne with their beautiful 
lakes, to Brienz and the Giessbach, Interlachen, and 
Thun. And I want you to sit by me here in Berne, 
and let me press your hand, and thank the Great 
Father, who can make his children so happy. After 
three days of the most abominable weather, we again 
saw the blue sky and distant hills. How lovely 
Berne is ! Quite the prettiest place in the whole of 
Switzerland, 



72 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

When we turn our back on beautiful scenes, they 
remain strongly and clearly defined In the past Our 
enthusiasm acquires a more fiery, bright, and classic 
aspect, and our descriptions are purer, more connected, 
and more like Goethe's. So you may all tremble at 
the prospect of my future descriptions, through the 
wordy mazes of which you will have to find your way. 

To-morrow I shall start across the Gemmi Pass for 
Lago Maggiore, and shall hope to reach Milan in four 
or five days. If I can only carry out this pretty idea, 
every one of my relatives shall get one letter during 
my journey. Yours and Edward's are finished, the 
next one from Lago Maggiore shall go to Julius, the 
fourth from Milan to Emily, the fifth from Verona to 
Therese, the sixth from Venice to Rosalie, the seventh 
from Innsbruck to Carl. 

Englishmen are swarming up the mountains like a 
lot of crazy ants. They are quiet, gentle people 
enough, and goodness only knows why they are 
treated with such rudeness in Germany, where they 
have to pay so dearly for their travels. The propor- 
tion of English travellers to others in Switzerland is 
about eight to one. 

However economical I am, still, I spend from three 
to four thalers a day, and sometimes from five to six. 
Driving comes horribly expensive. Just imagine, they 
wanted me to pay fourteen thalers for going from 
Basle to Schaff hausen, a fourteen hours' journey ! In 
Italy I hope to manage on two thalers a day, 

I am sure you will have had enough of this by 



TO HIS SISTER-IN-LA W. 73 

now, and I must end, as it is just striking four, and 
the bell is ringing for table d'hote. I find it very 
hard lines, having to wait for my dinner till four 
o'clock ! 

Give my love to everybody, and tell them, that in 
spite of all the Alps, I love my dear Zwickau better 
than ever. Why does absence always " make the 
heart grow fonder " ? Good-bye, my dear mother. 
Forgive me this smudge, and do not mourn for me 
if I am crushed by an avalanche, or fall into a glacier, 
or am struck by lightning; for it would be a finer, 
nobler death than dying on a sick-bed. 

I send you a good kiss, and am always with you. 

Your son, 

ROBERT. 

To HIS SISTER-IN-LAW, ROSALIE SCHUMANN, 

SCHNEEBERG. 

Milan, Oct. sth, 1829. 

THUS Fate toys with the lives of men, my dear 
Rosalie ! I was to have been at Innsbruck a week 
ago, and here I am for the second time stuck fast In 
Milan. I cannot possibly write much to-day, simply 
because I am not Inclined to bore both you and 
myself. So I will tell you my tale of woe, and it 
shall be short and sweet in seven chapters, beginning 
at Venice and ending to-day. I hope my letter to 
Emily from Venice has reached you by this. Well, 
here goes : 



74 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

A TALE OF WOE. 

CHAP. I. 

A lovely evening tempted me out to sea, so I hired 
a Venetian gondola, and was rowed far, far out. I 
had been in a boat often enough, goodness knows ; 
but anyhow, coming back, I got an attack of sea- 
sickness. 

CHAP. II. CONSISTING OF 

Aches and pains, deadly nausea, headache, and general 
wretchedness. Truly an awful death in life, 

CHAP. III. 

I went to see a doctor, from pure fright, who actu- 
ally cured me in three days, during which time I could 
have got well without him. But for that he charged 
me a napoleon, which I was good-natured enough to 

give him. 

CHAP. IV. 

On examining my purse, I found that, although 
according to my old system, everything is possible, 
still in this case it was impossible to get back to 
Germany, So I made up my mind to do something 
else, which I will expound to you in Chap. VI. 

CHAP. V. 

In the midst of these pecuniary and other troubles, 
I became the victim of an abominable imposition. 
A merchant, with whom I had travelled from Brescia, 



TO HIS SISTER-IN-LA W. 75 

went off without refunding a napoleon he had bor- 
rowed of me, so that I barely had enough left to pay 
for my lodging in Venice. 

CHAP. VI. 

Tragic contest of my good and evil spirits, whether 
or not I should sell the watch which mother once 
gave me. But my good genius triumphed, and I felt 
that I would rather walk thirty miles than come to 
that. 

CHAP. VII. AND LAST. 

Now behold me, squeezed up in a corner of the 
coach, with a stolid and melancholy face, thinking of 
the enviable happiness of those students who are 
sitting with their sisters-in-law ! I was certainly in a 
wretched mood that day, with an attack of home- 
sickness. Then I thought of Zwickau, and how pretty 
it always looked in the evening, bathed In the rays of 
the setting sun ; with all the people sitting in front of 
their houses, and children playing, or wading about 
In the rippling stream, just as I used to do ; ail this 
came into my mind, and many other things besides. 

These are some of the sweets of travelling in Italy, 
my beloved Rosalie. You can fancy how glad I was 
when I again heard some German spoken at the 
Hdtel Reichmann at Milan. The first thing I did 
was to ask Reichmann to lend me some money, which 
he had offered to do on my first visit to him ; and 
without asking me any questions, or requiring any 



76 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LE TTERS. 



references, he at once lent me sixteen napoleons, 
without charging interest, etc. There is a kind- 
hearted German for you ! 

And now, beloved family of the Schumanns, you 
have heard all my troubles, from which Heaven pre- 
serve you. But henceforth, dear people, you need not 
be in the least anxious about your struggling relative, 
although he has yet to climb a few confounded hills 
before seeing his dear Germany once more. As to 
yourself, dear Rosalie, believe me that I would quite 
as soon go back to Saxony and all of you, as to 
Heidelberg. 

The Italian women are beautiful, but there are 
other beauties in the world besides them particularly 
one at Schneeberg, to whom you may remember me 
most kindly. 

My next letter will be to Carl, from Germany. 

Kiss your little golden-haired darling for me, and 
send on this letter to Zwickau, so that mother may 
not be worrying about her little nestling ! 

Best love to you all, and ever believe in my old 
true affection for you and yours. 

Your 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 77 

LETTER TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 

Heidelberg, Nov. 6th, 1829. 

I HAVE just put the A minor Concerto a aside, my 
honoured master, and have let down the Venetian 
blinds, lighted a cigar, drawn my chair up to the 
table, buried my face in my hands, and hey, presto ! 
I am at the corner of the Reichsstrasse, 2 going to 
my music lesson ! 

Ah, why did I leave Leipsic, where the Olympus 
of Music was being so delightfully opened to me, 
yourself being the priest, who with imperceptible force 
removed the veil from the eyes of your dazed disciple! 
Here everything has turned out just as I expected. 
People are, as a rule, very fond of music, but not 
many have real talent. Occasionally one comes 
across a few old-fashioned critics, but there is precious 
little genial activity in matters musical. I detest 
theory pure and simple, as you know, so I have been 
living very quietly, improvising a good deal, but not 
playing much from notes. I have begun many a 
symphony, but finished nothing, and every now and 
then have managed to edge in a Schubert waltz 
between Roman Law and the Pandects, and have 
often hummed the Trio in my dreams, which brought 
back the heavenly hour when I first learned the piece 
with you. On the whole, I think I have not gone 
either forward or back very much, and of course that 

1 Hummers, for Piano and Orchestra. 

2 Wieck's house in Leipsic. 



78 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

is almost equivalent to standing still. Yet I feel that 
my touch has become more powerful in the fortes 
and more tender and eloquent in the pianos, al- 
though I may have lost some of my accuracy and 
execution. Without over-estimating my own abilities, 
I feel modestly conscious of my superiority over all 
the other Heidelberg pianists. You have no idea how 
carelessly and roughly they play, and of the noisiness, 
slap-dash, and terrible feebleness of their style. They 
have no notion of cultivating "touch," and of bringing 
a fine tone out of the instrument ; and as to regular 
practice, finger-exercises, and scales, they don't seem 
ever to have heard of anything of the kind. The 
other day one of them played me the A minor 
Concerto. He performed it very correctly and with- 
out mistakes, keeping a sort of rhythmical march- 
time, and I could conscientiously praise him. But 
when I played it to him, he had to admit, that though 
his rendering was quite as correct as mine, yet some- 
how I made the whole thing sound different ; and 
then how in the world did I get such a violin-like 
tone, etc. ? I looked at him with a smile, put Herz's 
finger-exercises before him, and told him to play one 
every day for a week, and then come and try the 
Concerto again. This he did, and in due time came 
back enchanted and delighted, and called me his good 
genius, because my advice had helped him so much. 
And he actually did play the Concerto ten times better. 
I am now working at the last movement of Hum- 
mel's Sonata in F sharp minor, which is indeed a 



TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 79 

great epic work of truly Titanic dimensions, reflecting 
a tremendous spirit at once struggling and resigned. 
This will be the only thing I shall play you at Easter, 
and will be a test by which you can judge of my 
improvement. An opposition faction is forming 
against Thibaut, to which I belong ; and after all the 
delightful hours I have spent with him, you would 
not believe how much it grieves me to observe his 
narrow-mindedness, and truly pedantic opinions in 
Music, which are such a contrast to his broad-minded 
views in Jurisprudence, and all the fine qualities of 
his tremendously fiery and crushing spirit. 

A fortnight ago, I came back from a tour in Switzer- 
land and Italy, a few napoleons out of pocket, but 
all the richer in knowledge of the world, and full 
of high and sublime recollections. By Jove, you 
have no idea of Italian music, for it must be heard 
under the sky which inspired it, namely, the sky of 
Italy. How often I thought of you in La Scala at 
Milan, and how enchanted I was with Rossini, or rather 
with Pasta, of whom I will say nothing at all, from pure 
veneration nay, almost adoration. In the Leipsic 
concert-room, I have sometimes felt a sort of shiver 
run through me, when the Genius of Sound has awed 
me by his presence; but in Italy I learned to love 
him, and for one single evening -in my life did I feel 
as though I were in the presence of the deity, and 
allowed for a few moments to gaze reverently upon 
the unveiled face of the god, and that was at Milan, 
when I heard Pasta and Rossini ! ! Do not smile, 



So SCff I/MANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

master ; it is the truth. That was really the only 
musical treat I had in Italy, for as a rule the music 
there is simply unbearable, and you have no idea 
with what a combination of slovenliness and zeal 
they scrape away at everything. 

I will not enter upon my other adventures, however 
new and interesting many things were to me, but will 
keep the history of it all for some future time, when 
we can talk and laugh over them together. 

Schubert is still "my only Schubert," especially 
as he has so much in common with "my only Jean 
Paul ; " and when I am playing his music, I feel as if 
I were reading one of Jean Paul's novels. The other 
day I was playing his four-hand Rondo, Op. lo/, 1 
which I consider one of his best compositions ; and is 
there anything to compare with the thunderous calm, 
the great, self-contained lyrical madness, and the 
gentle, deep, ethereal melancholy which pervades 
this truly great and complete work ? I can just see 
Schubert walking up and down his room, wringing 
his hands as though in despair, while his mind keeps 
running on 




He cannot get rid of the idea, and brings back the 
great pure strain once more at the end, where it seems 
to breathe its last in a gentle sigh. I remember playing 
that very Rondo at an evening party at Herr Probst's, 
1 Known as Grand Rondeau in A, Op, 107. 



TO FRIED RICH WIECK. 81 

but at the finish, both players and listeners stared at 
one another, rather at a loss to know what to think, 
or to know what Schubert meant by it all As far as 
I remember, I never heard you speak of it either ; 
do look it up, and tell me what you think. 
Altogether, I think nobody's compositions are such a 
psychological puzzle in the course and connection of 
their ideas as Schubert's, with their apparently logical 
progressions. Very few composers have succeeded 
in stamping their individuality upon a mass of tone- 
pictures in the way he has done, and still fewer have 
written so much for themselves and their own hearts. 
What a diary is to those who jot down all their 
passing emotions, his music-paper was to Schubert. 
To it he confided all his moods ; and his intensely 
musical soul finds expression in notes, when ordinary 
mortals use words at least that is my humble 
opinion. For years I have been studying the artistic 
side of music, and was really getting on very well, 
though I felt that I lacked decided opinions, and was 
very much wanting in objectivity, so that I sometimes 
found what others missed, and vice versd. But if you 
only knew how my mind is always working, and how 
my symphonies would have reached Op. 100, if I had 
but written them down ; and how perfectly at home I 
feel in the whole orchestra, and how I could confront 
my enemies, overcome them, drive them info a corner^ 
and repulse t/tem altogether/ I am not very proud, 
though more from circumstances than principle (with 
some people, who deserve it, I put on a certain 

G 



82 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

haughty manner) ; but sometimes I am so full of 
music, and so overflowing with melody, that I find 
it simply impossible to write down anything; and 
when I am in that kind of mood, if a critic were to 
say to me : " You had better not write anything, for 
you effect nothing," I should be bold enough just to 
laugh in his face, and tell him he knew nothing about 
the matter. Forgive me my apparent frankness. And 
now I have nothing but favours to ask of you. The 
first and most pressing is : Please write to me ; and the 
second and still more pressing one, Let it be soon. I 
swear, your letters quite replace all the Leipsic 
concerts which I have to miss* And so you have had 
Paganini there, and you heard him four times, 
did you ? Four times ! Good heavens, the idea of 
your hearing him four times makes me completely 
wild! Please write me a full account of all your 
doings during the last half year, and tell me all about 
your present pupils, and your daughter Clara, and 
your two other little ones with their great musical 
eyes. Perhaps you could lend me the Musikalische 
Zeitungirom April to September for a fortnight. Not 
a soul reads it here, and probably you have finished 
with the numbers. 

I am also going to ask you to send me all Schu- 
bert's Waltzes, 1 and put them down to my account I 
think there are ten or twelve books of them. Also 

1 I only want them for two hands. I have propagated 
Schubert-worship to a great extent here (where his name is hardly 
known), and have got two lovely, blooming and promising pupils 
English girls, who go into raptures over exercises and scales ! 



TO HIS MOTHER. 83 

Moscheles's G minor Concerto and Hummers B 
minor Concerto without the parts; and further 
I should like sent on approval^ so that I can 
return what I do not like, all Schubert's com- 
positions which have appeared since Op. 100, and 
please do not forget the Quintet/ as I want to have a 
look at it. Likewise any compositions for the 
piano which have appeared at Leipsic in nay 
absence, and which you think I might like. You 
know my taste pretty well I might also have a few 
new things by Herz and Czerny, as I visit several 
families here. Thibaut must shut up, with his 
Handelian operatic airs. 

I have really not half done, but must bring this 
letter to a close. Remember me very kindly to 
Madame Wieck, to Dr. Carus, to whom I have 
written, but received no answer ; to Herr Probst, who 
has reason to be angry with me, but whom indeed I 
like very much ; and to Mdlle. Reichold, who is, I 
trust, engaged to be married. 

And now, most honoured master of my mind, 
accept the assurance of my most hearty esteem, 

R. SCHUMANN. 

To HIS MOTHER. 

Heidelberg, November nth, 1829. 

MY dear darling Mother, 
Your delightful letter is in my hands. It was 

1 This is the Pianoforte Quintet (Forellen) in A., Op. 114, not 
the String Quintet in C., which was not published till later. TR. 



84 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

brought to me in the twilight, which I love better 
than all the rest of the day, and just at that moment 
Rosen came in. When I had read it to him he 
said in a half-shy, half-pleased sort of way : " You 
may indeed be proud of such a mother." " Rosen," 
I answered, " you and I have to suffer and endure a 
good deal more in our lives before we shall be able to 
write a letter full of so much peace and dignity, and 
in a spirit so far above the rest of the world." The 
merry verses at the end, so full of life, just put the 
finishing touch to our enjoyment, and for the rest of 
the evening we only talked about you and other high- 
minded people, and so by degrees I read him all your 
letters, which are all written in the same style, and 
contain the same amount of fine feeling, dignity, and 
character. 

Before sitting down to write to you I quite rubbed 
my hands in joyful anticipation ; I drew the cur- 
tains and made up the fire, lighted a cigar, buried 
my face in my hands, and tried my hardest to con- 
jure up the picture of home. The next minute I 
could quite fancy myself back In my little green 
room, looking out on the back-yard. By-the-bye, I 
have left my swell, aristocratic lodgings, and taken 
up my abode in a very cosy little " poet's den/ 7 which 
strikingly resembles my old green room at Zwickau. 
As you are fond of small rooms, I need not tell you 
how infinitely more comfortable I am here, and how 
often I imagine myself at Zwickau, that dear little 
home, containing my earliest recollections, where I 



TO HIS MOTHER. 85 

wrote my first verses, smoked my first cigar, developed 
my earliest theories, where, in short, the boy quietly 
and unconsciously grew into a man. 

I should have written long ago, but had just begun 
no less than ten letters, and yours was to come last, 
as a " bonne bouche," To show you that the spirit is 
willing, tho 5 the flesh is weak, I enclose an artistic 
letter, in which I have exerted my powers of cali- 
graphy to the very utmost, and have really been 
pretty successful, with the exception of sundry capital 
H's and A's, which I never could accomplish all my 
life. If I told you that I arrived at Milan with 
twenty kreutzer, in Augsburg with twenty kreutzer, 
and here with the same amount, it is nothing less 
than a story. But I had better write systematically, 
and will continue my journey from Chur in Switzer- 
land, where I wrote to my brother Carl. 

I arrived at Chur in a very happy frame of inind. 
It was on a bright Saturday evening, a day I have 
always loved, ever since I was a child, when I could 
take a good long walk, and look forward gaily to 
Sunday, and no going to school ! I had my knap- 
sack on my back, and went along whistling "Durch 
die Walder, durch die Auen." Great flocks of sheep 
went bleating past, and stared with astonished eyes 
at the stranger. On my left, the dear old silvery 
Father Rhine flowed majestically on, the sun's last 
rays shone through lovely rosy clouds, and lighted up 
the highest points of the Riesengebirge, which, like 
many great men, are the last to go to bed, and the 



86 



SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



first to rise. Again I heard homely German sounds, 
and the first kindly Guten Abend. (In Italy 
nobody wishes you good-day.) The tall strapping; 
peasants were making for their native villages, evening 
chimes and tinkling sheep-bells mingled harmoniously 
together, in short, it was a perfectly glorious Saturday 
evening. At Chur I made the last entry in my diary, 
and then my home once more lay radiant before me. 
At that moment I was again conscious of the beautiful 
sublime sense of home-sickness, but at night I buried 
my face in my pillow, and slept, oh so peacefully, 
happily, and contentedly. The next day, October 
1 5th, I hired a small but expensive two-wheel trap, 
rattled through the Swiss mountains towards the 
German hills, and reached Lindau and the Lake of 
Constance just at sunset. Lindau, a town of 6,000 
inhabitants, with its kindly people, angular old houses, 
and bright, wide, grass-grown streets, put me so much 
in mind of Zwickau ! But what shall I tell you 
about the Lake ? I kept thinking of a great man, 
Graf S., who one night at Milan took my hand 
and said ; <( If you ever go to the Lake of Constance, 
mark my words, it is the greatest, wildest, and most 
sublime of all the lakes." And Graf S. was right 
The only thing I can compare it to is my first glimpse 
of the sea at Venice. Altogether, Lindau is very like 
a diminutive picture of Venice. Although my stay 
at Venice was anything but a pleasant one, owing to 
wanting money, being cheated, and real physical 
suffering, yet I can never forget that evening, when I 



TO HIS MOTHER. 87 

sat weeping on the stone bench opposite the Doges* 
Palace, gazing wearily and sadly at the sea. Strange, 
unfamiliar faces passed before me, and at that moment 
I said to myself feelingly and forcibly: "Among all 
these people passing, there is not one so utterly 
joyless as you, as you." Well, to return to Lindau, 
where I spent two days, rowing about on the 
lake, smoking, drinking, singing, and making merry, 
thankful once more to see honest German faces. 
When I drove off on the evening of the I3th, the 
moon was resting on a mountain's brow, like the 
coronet of a deity, and cast a thousand quivering 
reflections into the lake. One more look at the distant 
silvery hills of Switzerland, and I was speeding with 
flying feet towards Augsburg. 

I cannot tell you with what kindness, cordiality, 
and warmth, the Kurrers 1 received me. I had told 
them to expect me, but really felt quite guilty when 
I found they had made me up a bed in their best 
spare room, all hung with Napoleons. After a short 
preamble, I began : " My dear Doctor, you see before 
you a poor threadbare pilgrim, who has got barely 
twenty kreutzer in his pocket." Of course he stopped 
me at once, and gave me all I required. As he does 
business with my brothers, I told him they would 
settle with him, but he said : " Oh, that is quite a 
detail, please don't mention it," meaning, of course, 
that I was not to pay him back, but that will not do, 
so I am writing to Edward about it, and it really is 

1 Friends of the Schumann family. 



88 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

not such a large sum after all Sad looks, tearful 

eyes, an embrace, and I lost sight of these good 
people, and was speeding towards Stuttgart and 
Heidelberg on the fast coach. Of course, that last 
stage was the most uninteresting, and yet I enjoyed 

it, for I was longing for rest and regular work 

Well, I got back here on October 25th, as poor as a 
beggar, but in good time to prepare for the lectures, 
which began a fortnight later. After sundry skirmishes 
with my old landlady, a worthy, but rather can- 
tankerous body, I migrated to my "poet's den." 
Rosen had just gone off to Detmold, and turned up a 
week later. Since then I have spent many a pure, 
beautiful hour with him, and we have had those 
regular cosy winter chats, round the stove, in a warm, 
comfortable room, which one misses In summer. 
Semmel had by no means disturbed my friendship 
with Rosen, but still he had shared it, and my confi- 
dence had been divided, and so a silly, childish, 
youthful pride came between us, as so often happens 
among fellows who really like one another very much. 
I liked Semmel in quite a different way from Rosen. 
With Semmel my affection took a stronger, more 
manly and sensible form; with Rosen, I was more 
talkative, soft and impressionable, but both had 
equally frank and noble natures. Now, there are 
moments when one would rather only speak to one, 
even though one likes another fellow quite as well ; 
and thus it happened that occasionally one of them 
felt aggrieved from a fancied want of confidence, 



TO HIS MOTHER. 89 

because perhaps I had told one what I had forgotten 
to tell the other, or one of them would put a wrong 
construction on something I had said. Well, you can 
just imagine how it was* Now, Rosen is again my only 
friend, and all the old confidence and friendship are 
re-established between us. But you can have no idea 
of the child-like simplicity of Rosen's character, or 
of the tremendous strength of mind which underlies 
his modest manner, and of his self-sacrificing and 
non-exacting nature. 

Now for your letter, for so far I have only written 
about myself. You are evidently in very different 
spirits to what you were when you wrote to me last at 
Heidelberg. The subjects of your letter alone are 
much more pleasing. Last time you spoke of nothing 
but deaths, and now you are full of marriages, 
christenings, and merry-makings. And for this reason 
your last letter is one of the most delightful I have 
ever received from you. Women's letters are mirrors 
of their minds ; and the spirit of motherly love, the 
simple unaffected style, and the sweet dignity and 
tender gravity reflected all through yours, greatly re- 
freshed my childish heart, especially as the brightness 
of your spirits tells me you are well in health. 

To one of your questions I must give a mournful 
answer I mean about my music and piano-playing. 
Alas ! mother, it is almost quite at an end ; I play but 
rarely now, and very badly. The grand Genius of Sound 
Is gently extinguishing his torch, and all that I have 
ever done in music seems like a beautiful dream which 



90 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

I can hardly believe has ever existed. And yet, believe 
me, if ever I could have done any good in the world 
it would have been in music, and I feel sure (without 
at all overrating my capabilities) that I have got crea- 
tive power. But earning one's bread is another thing ! 
Studying law has frozen and dried me up to such an 
extent that no flower of my imagination could possibly 

come into bloom Your first piece of good 

news and that which gave me most pleasure, was 
Julius's complete recovery. In my first flush of joy I 
rang the bell and ordered a bottle of wine, in which 
Rosen and I drank your health. You next tell me of 
Lottie's engagement How far superior such a girl as 
that is to a hundred slaves of fashion and dressed- 
up dolls, indeed to all the girls of the period one sees 
now-a-days ! I will soon write and congratulate her. 
Another piece of news is that Malchen is engaged to 
be married, and I am sure she deserves so good a 
fellow as Leser, if only for her father's sake. I think 
very highly both of Leser's intellect and heart, 
and he is among my best and dearest friends. You 
do not know him yet. Deep natures like his want to 
be studied. But I beg you will ask Malchen (the 
bride elect) to tell her lover that he is a wretch, as he 
has never written to me, though I have sent him two 
letters. Then you tell me all about Rosalie. She 
can only be the mother of angels. The last item in 
your budget of news is Ertel's engagement, and it is to 
be hoped that he will be hen-pecked as much as he 
deserves. I am very fond of Ertel. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 91 

As to my life here, I am industrious and regular ; 
but am trying to spend as little as possible, and only 
allow myself a very frugal meal (for Heidelberg, I 
mean), soup, boiled beef, 1 joint, and dessert, and so 
manage to save 18 kreutzer a day. The principal 
reason of my doing this was to enable me to take 
French lessons, which are ruinously expensive here, 
and cost 8 groschen 2 the hour. But I shall not rest 
until I can read and speak French just as well as 
German, for I see more and more how necessary it is, 
and often think sadly how my dear father was 
always telling me so. I do not think you will be angry 
at this expenditure. The lectures for this half will 
cost me 7ofL, entrance-fee to museum 14$.., piano- 
hire 4ofl., rent of rooms 45 L, French lessons 36fL, 
total 2i5fl. or 130 thalers. Now I have not put 
down either food or drink, tailor or bootmaker, and 
not a single book, and yet my guardian only allows 
me 1 80 thalers for the half-year. Now, mother, I put 
it to you ; can I exist on that sum ? Can I ? Last 
half I spent 50 fl. on books alone, and I shall want more 
still this half. Good gracious ! the bootmaker and 
laundress alone cost me a pretty penny. Heavens ! 
How well I can understand all that Christ endured ! 
I am not at all nervous about my financial affairs, but, 
my dear mother, if you can assist or advise me in any 
way please do so. I can tell you this much, that I 

1 In Germany the beef which has been boiled in the soup 
forms a considerable item of the household dinner. TR. 

2 About tenpence. TR. 



9 2 SCHUMANN^ EARL Y LETTERS. 

shall not get away from Heidelberg without leaving 
debts behind me to the tune of about 100 thalers. 
Now don't be alarmed, dear little mother ! Perhaps 
my pen will help me. I do not over-rate myself, but I 
know my capabilities, and trust in them because I 

know what I can do. I have been resting a 

few minutes, because writing steadily for two hours 
had rather tired me. I have just been looking into 
Jean Paul, and came upon some ideas which will suit 
you. You say in your letter : " Old age cares little 
for the present; the past is its only bright spot." 
Now here are some fine passages of Jean Paul's : 
"OLD PEOPLE. 

" Truly their evening sun has lost its warmth, but 
their long dark shadows all point towards morn? 

Then: 

"THE JOYS OF LIFE. 

"The pine-apple always ripens surrounded by 
thorns. The thorny Present, on the contrary, grows 
between two pine-apples, Memory and Hope," 

And again : 

"OLD PEOPLE. 

" It is a beautiful sight to see old people in their 
latest strength and radiance. It is like sheet-lightning 
on a summer evening." 

And now for a few consoling words of my own. 
How often man sighs, saying : " Ah, how dreary is the 
present, and how beautiful was the past." ' But he for- 
gets that the past must at one time have been the 
present Or one might say : " The present is like a 



TO HIS MOTHER. 93 

dream, which we only realize after we have lost it" 
Or, " How happy is old age ! Two lights are reflected 
in the old man's face, the evening rays of this life and 
the morning beams of the life to come." Or, " How 
differently do youth and age contemplate life, the 
former full of passionate emotions, the latter calm and 
smiling." And now to conclude my maxims and my 
letter, which will, I hope, please you this time. Write 
to me soon, good mother, and may your letters be all 
like the last 

Remember me to all the engaged people, and tell 
them they need not fear my putting a spoke in any 
of their wheels. One thing more : You say in your 
letter : "Good-bye dear R., all relations and friends* 
send their love, etc." What hidden angel sleeps under 
those italics ? 

And now good bye, my honoured mother, who are 
as dear to me in joy as in grief. Embrace all my dear 
ones at Zwickau and Schneeberg, and give them a 
gentle reminder that no one has yet answered my 
letters from Italy and Switzerland. 

If a heavy shower should darken our life, you will 
be the rainbow which rises above it, gently quivering, 
but still shining on. 

Rosen has just come in and sends his respectful 
regards. 

Addio ; your Son, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

1 In the original letter " friends " is underlined. 



94 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

To THE SAME. 

Heidelberg, Dec. 4th, 1829. 

WHY, mother, are you again stuck fast in your old 
armchair? There you have been sitting for two 
mortal hours without saying a single word, singing 
some old forgotten tune and passing your hand up 
and down the window pane. Malchen does not know 
what to think Mother, little mother, how can you put 
on such a melancholy face ? Just look out into the 
street ; who is that tripping down the lane on the left 
looking up at your window with a roguish laugh ? It's 
an angel-child with curly golden hair, and presently 
Helen is laughing gleefully, and stroking her grannie's 
cheeks ! And who is that yonder, coming down the 
street on the right ? His step is firm and manly, and 
his eyes look clear and bright once more. Surely it 
is Julius, saying " good evening " so pleasantly. Mean- 
while, two fine tall veiled women are walking proudly 
across the market place, and if I did not think so ? 
making for the Amtsgasse, and Rosalie and Therese 
come in and talk gently and sweetly like loving 
daughters* And see who is turning the corner with 
airy steps, as lovely, delicate, and tender as a sylph, 
and Emily comes in and greets our mother with a kiss. 
Suddenly a rattling is heard on the stones, a carriage 
tears across the market-place, and a fine-looking man 
in a fur cap gets out, and what does he take up in his 
arms with a laugh ? 



TO HIS MOTHER. 95 

Ah, how the little cherub rejoices, and how his father 
lifts him up, kissing him again and again. And when 
he is brought in, how he is petted by his mother, 
grannie, uncles and aunts ! And then Edward comes 
in with his cigar and completes the picture. And still, 
mother, you are looking drearily out of the window, 
although the postman is now coming in with this 
letter from me ! And why need you look miserable 
when there are eight people round you who call you 
" mother," and only the ninth and most unworthy of 
the lot is missing, namely, myself. And does it not 
brighten your eye to look out into Nature, who gives 
us finer days this year at the fall of the leaf than she 
did in the spring ? Or when you gaze into the infinite 
starry night, or at the gentle moon just rising with a 
dreamy smile ? Unless I am mistaken, I have brought 
a light into your eyes, and why indeed can you not 
enjoy your happiness as much as you deserve to do ? 
Age has roses of its own, only they are not quite so 
radiant as those of youth ; but if somewhat paler they 
are purer and more ethereal. 

I do not wish to make a merit of the fact that I am 
sending a second letter after my first lengthy epistle, 
but I was in bed when the postman brought me 
Edward's letter, and the sun shone so brightly into 
my eyes that I jumped up at once and sat down to 
write. 

I must tell you one home-truth, which does not in- 
deed concern you, but which you can gently impart to 
the whole Schumann family. It Is this : Edward is 



96 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

the busiest of you all, in fact a regular Atlas, bearing 
the burthens of all the Schumanns and yet he writes 
to me the oftenest. True, the other day I got delight- 
ful letters from Julius and Emily, but Therese, Rosalie, 
and Carl remain obdurate. However, I must hope 
for better things. 

I kept your birthday very quietly in the ruins of the 
castle. Rosen was with me, and though we said little 
we felt very much. And how can children have a 
better wish and higher object in life than the constant 
happiness of their parents ? But a birthday calls 
forth all one's feelings, and ought to have different 
language from common days, I wanted to send you 
a regular chaplet of verses, but as I have only managed 
to write four I must leave it for another day. As a birth- 
day gift, you shall have my piano playing, as all that 
I told you about it in my last letter was nothing more 
nor less than a story a joke of mine, because I could 
not think of anything to give you! You are not 
angry, are you ? Smile again on your romancing son. 

I find a great deal here that is very useful, and am 
getting on better and better. Amongst other things, I 
shall have to drive to Mannheim one of these days in a 
coach and four, as the Dowager Grand-Duchess of Baden 
has several times invited me herself, I came out with 
my " Durchlaucht " and " Konigliche Hoheit " in a 
proper courtier style, and got many an envious glance, 
when the Duchess very graciously dismissed me. At 
any rate it will all help my education, but the atmo- 
sphere of the court stifles me. And yet I cannot refuse 



TO HIS MOTHER. 97 

the Invitation, and must appear in a coach and four. 
This does not make me at all proud, but sometimes I 
really do feel rather conceited not so much of my 
natural abilities as of my victorious strength of mind, 
and the consciousness that I could do better if I liked. 
I am the principal soloist at the " grand " (but very 
second-rate) Heidelberg concert, at which, however, 
all the grandees from Mannheim and Carlsruhe appear. 
That you may form some idea of what sort of people 
I am associating with, I will now give you a list of the 
families where I have been introduced : Geheimrath 
Mittermayer (an intellectual man, very like Fichte), 
Dr. Wustenfeld (who has a pretty daughter and a 
clever governess from Lausanne, who tried to make 
eyes at me, French fashion) ; Professor Morstadt (a 
Heidelberg hero, restless, broad minded, and powerful, 
like a Roman tribune. I may be able to get my 
brothers some work through him, as his book on Law 
has gone through four or five editions) ; Professor 
Datnmance, my French master (with pretty, but in- 
significant daughters ; a nice, quiet, homely family) ; 
Dr. Lauter (a distinguished courtier and a dabbler in 
many things, but clever and agreeable). Then there is 
Engelmann, who asked me to dinner the other day, and 
Rossmassler. I do not care about knowing any more 
families ; indeed, it takes a good deal of pressing to in- 
duce me to visit those I have named. Among a couple 
of hundred students, Rosen is my only intimate friend* 
The other day I read the following in Jean Paul's 
" Titan " : " There are some fine natures who are just 

H 



98 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

on the borderland of genius and talent, half inclined 
for an active life, half for an ideal existence, and, be- 
sides, insatiably ambitious. They feel all things good 
and beautiful intensely, and have a great desire to give 
expression to their thoughts, but are only partly 
successful, for, unlike real geniuses, they do not incline 
in any particular direction, but are themselves the 
centre of attraction which neutralises all other in- 
fluences. Sometimes they are poets, sometimes 
musicians, sometimes painters. In their youth they 
are generally very courageous because they love to 
exercise their latent strength in bodily vigour. There- 
fore, at first, everything great and good which they see 
delights them because they hope to reproduce it, but 
afterwards it only depresses them, because they feel 
they have not the power to do so. But they ought to 
see that such natures as theirs might derive the great- 
est enjoyment from varied and harmonious sources, 
because both from their appreciation of the beautiful 
and the thoughtfulness of their characters they seem 
destined to be perfect men," etc. 

Do you know somebody whom this description 
exactly suits ? Please tell me. 

My very best thanks to you and Edward for the 
money. It just came in the nick of time. One of these 
days you might send me, by the carrier, a box of sau- 
sages, ducats, coats, neckcloths, books, cigars, music, 
a ham, etc. Everything is acceptable, and I shall be 
delighted to pay the carriage, i.e., to give you an 
IOU for it ! 



TO JULIUS SCHUMANN. 99 

My rooms are awfully neat Either the sun or the 
moon is always shining into my bedroom, and 
my study is snug and shady. The people of the 
house are very nice and civil, and are very fond 
of me. They sometimes treat me to boiled beef and 
rice, and, as is always the case in small towns, it is 
much better here than in Leipsic 

Kiss them all round for me, and mind you write to 
me once more during the year 1829, else I shall begin 
1830 in a bad temper, which would be a pity. Good- 
bye. May my name never cause a tear to run down 
your cheek, until we meet again ! 

ROBERT. 



To JULIUS SCHUMANN AT ZWICKAU. 

Heidelberg, Feb. nth, 1830. 

THERE is every reason why I should be merry to- 
day, my dear good Julius. What pleasure both your 
letters gave me, for they were so full of quiet cheerful- 
ness and resignation. And to-day the sky is so soft 
and blue, that it reminds me of Emily's eyes. You 
Northerners have no idea of the warm spring weather 
which has burst upon us here. All the streets are 
nice and clean, and free from snow, the hills are green 
and cloudless, and the Neckar flows merrily on, al- 
together it is a perfectly blissful day. Three days ago 
the ice on the Rhine broke up ; it was like a battle of 
giants, and glorious to behold. Five days ago, 
the thermometer registered i8or 20 (Reaumur), and 



ioo SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

to-day it is only 2. Oh, may the spring touch all your 
hearts with his bright wings, and bring you many 
blessings, and when you feel the delicious balmy West* 
wind, then think of me with loving thought, and 
accept the wishes he brings from me to you. I should 
like to have a regular cosy fire-side chat with you to- 
day, and tell you no end of things. 

There were endless sleighing festivities here, and 
every "corps" (of which there are seven) had a party 
of its own. I belong to the " Saxo-Borussia," a tiny 
twinkling star. The " Hanseaten " had runners 
fastened to boats and canoes, etc., and manned an en- 
tire fleet, drawn by horses, with all the crew correctly 
dressed as sailors, etc. Another " corps " appeared as 
a wedding-procession of peasants ; I personated the 
bride's mother, and, according to the Heidelberg 
ladies, played my part very well. A ball given by 
all the " Saxons " and " Prussians " in Heidelberg 
pretty well cleared me out, for I cannot deny that it 
cost me 35 florins. I could not possibly get out of it. 
I enclose invitations for you and Emily, although the 
ball is a thing of the past The programme I send of 
the doings at Mannheim will give you some idea of 
the Carnival amusements, and Mannheim is to Hei- 
delberg what Neudorfchen is to Zwickau. You have 
no notion (according to this letter you don't seem to 
have much notion of anything, as this is the fourth 
time I have said so) well, you really have no 
notion how universally popular I am in Heidelberg, 
and without blowing my own trumpet too much, I 



TO HIS MOTHER. 101 

may say that I am certainly much respected and 
liked. I have even obtained the epithet of " the 
Heidelberg favourite." Of course the principal 
reason for this was a concert, at which I played 
Moscheles's "Alexander" Variations. There was abso- 
lutely no end to the " bravos " and " encores/' and I 
really felt quite hot and uncomfortable. The Grand- 
Duchess clapped like anything. Of course I had 
been practising the piece for eight weeks, and felt 
that I was playing really well. Well, I have been 
chattering about myself, with a vengeance ! But 
since then there has been quite a reaction in musical 
matters, and now it is considered very "good form/' 
as they call it, to be musical. Sad to say, I am out 
somewhere almost every evening, either at balls, or 
evening parties, etc. Fridays I am always at Thibaut's, 
Tuesdays at Mittermayer's, Thursdays in a select set 
of angelic Englishwomen, Mondays in the "Musik- 
verein/' Saturdays with the Grand-Duchess. (Letter 
unfinished.) 

FROM A LETTER TO HIS MOTHER. 

THIBAUT really is a splendid fellow, with 

whom I spend my most delightful hours. Every 
Thursday a chorus of about 70 meets at his house, 
and they perform one of Handel's Oratorios, and 
he sits at the piano, and accompanies like one 
inspired. And when at the end the tears come into 
his great expressive eyes, overshadowed by his lovely 



IO2 



SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



white hair, and when he comes up to me, looking so 
pleased and enchanted, and presses my hand, speech- 
less from emotion,--why then I really do not know 
sometimes how a lout like myself comes to be in such 
a sacred, honoured house. You have no idea of his 
wit, penetration, and good feeling, and of his refined 
artistic opinions, his amiability, tremendous eloquence, 

and constant thoughtfulness 

From all this, my dear mother, you will perceive 
that my life at Heidelberg is pleasant, refined, bright, 
and varied, and the longer I stay here the more so it 
will become. And this brings me to the reason of my 
long and timid silence. Julius's letter reminds me of 
it He says : " You will not in any case come back 
at Easter, but stay at Heidelberg at least till Michael- 
mas, otherwise it will really not be worth while to 
have made such a long journey, only to attend lectures 
for a few months. You had better think it well over 
before deciding to leave Heidelberg, for when you 
have once left you will not go back again in a hurry. 
You will certainly learn more law at Heidelberg than 
at Leipsic, which possesses so few first-rate Jurists. 3 ' 
So says dear Julius, and I send him a fraternal shake 
of the hand s both for his kind letter, and for Emily's 
clever French production. Well, to cut matters as 
short as possible, what I want to ask you is this : 
" Would you be very angry, if I were to prolong my 
stay from one year to a year and a half ? Whatever 
your answer may be, let me have it soon, as I have 
been more or less counting on this for the last four 



TO HIS MOTHER. 103 

weeks, and if you grant my request there Is not much 
time left before the journey to Zwickau, and there 
will be much, very much to be done, bills to be 
paid, etc. The chief reason against my staying longer 
at Heidelberg is the everlasting sickening cry of 
money, as it would cost just as much again. And 
yet I do not know : I am in my first youth, am not so 
very poor, can look forward here to many intellectual 
enjoyments, have charming acquaintances, and good 
men for my friends, so why should I destroy the 
happy present, and the bright future, for the sake of 
2OO florins ? 

I have talked the matter seriously over, for it is 
very serious, so give me your reasons, my dear 
Mother, and do not expect me to make objections. 
Although my longing to see you is very great, yet I 
am not at all sure that a long separation does not in- 
tensify one's affection, for real true love lies less in 
words than in thought and spirit. If you want to 
love a person very much, send him right away for ten 
years, and you will see how it will purify your heart. 
So, dear Mother, I beg of you to write and give me 
your consent, which will be like a ring to wed me to 
Heidelberg I only trust that it may not turn out 
a mourning ring, 

I have often thought of your pretty idea that I am 
to store up a treasure in my heart, which will bring 
me interest later on ? but indeed none of your good 
advice, which with your usual delicacy you only 
administer now and then, passes me by without 



io 4 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



leaving an echo in my heart So you may depend 
upon me. 

Rosen and I are like brothers. I have often 
spoken to you of his character, and he is one of the 
best known and most popular students in the whole 
university, I have made the acquaintance of one 
other man, who understands me thoroughly, and en- 
tirely appreciates my character. He is by birth an 
Italian from Trieste, where his father is first Consul of 
the Austrian Monarchy. We both revel in Petrarch 
and Ariosto, and he sings like a god, and has a warm, 
lovine heart for all the world. He is an Italian, who 

o 

has calmed down, and his nature is bright and shining 
like a deep and gently heaving sea. He is, besides, 
quite the most unselfish man I have ever met, and is 
the only person I know whose intellectual capacities 
are equally and harmoniously balanced, so that he 
always seems to feel with his head, and think with his 
heart. He is so modest, that if I were to read him all 
that I have been saying about him he would not love 
me one jot the better for it. 

Besides the hundreds of my student acquaintances 
whom I have marked as <' Smollisbnider }J1 in the 
student catalogue (though all students call one 
another " Sie " here, it sounds refined and cavalier- 

1 At most German Universities, when students become very 
intimate, they drink one another's health in a peculiar way called 
" Smollis trinken/ after which they are supposed to call one 
another " du " (thou), but apparently this was not the case at 
Heidelberg in Schumann's time. TR, 



TO HIS MOTHER. 10; 



like,) I may mention Anderson from Hamburg, who, 
although he is the senior " Prussian," does not have at 
all a bad influence over me ; Lemke, from Dantzig (a 
good-natured chap) ; and last, but not least, young 
Zacharia, son of the Professor of Jurisprudence. I 
also know the sons of Professor Krug, from Gross 
Hohenthal in Leipsic, and like them pretty well. 

Now for something very unpalatable my money 
matters. They are in a bad way, and, by Jove, I am 
in debt! I wish I could show you the tailor's 
and bootmaker's bills alone. The tailor has had 
90 fL out of me since Easter, and I still owe him 55 fl. 
My cloak was 85 fl., two pairs of black trousers 36 fl. 
I have further had my blue cloth dress-coat and black 
coat turned, and was obliged to get a travelling suit, 
not to mention other repairs. At the bootmaker's 
the look-out is not much brighten A pair of moun- 
tain-boots came on the top of sundry other pairs, 
and a new pair of shoes followed quickly in the rear 
of various repairs and re-solings, so that the result 
is perfectly appalling. Then I must eat and drink ; 
and I play the piano, and smoke, and sometimes, but 
not often, drive to Mannheim. I also require money 
for lectures, and want books and music, all of which 
costs a terrible lot of money. Those confounded 
fancy-balls, tipping various people, subscriptions to 
the museum, and cigars oh, those cigars ! the piano- 
tuner, the laundress, the shoe-black, candles, soap, all 
my dear friends who expect a wretched glass of beer, 
the man at the museum who brings me the news- 



106 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

papers ! I should absolutely despair, if I were not on 
the verge of desperation already ! For four weary 
weeks I have not had a penny in my pocket ; and 
there is no lack of mysterious hints, letters, and re- 
proachful looks as I walk about the streets, although 
up to now I have only had one direct, though civil 
dun. 

I ought not to tell you this, but must be quite frank, 
as I cannot keep a secret from you. I should even 
tell you the name of my sweetheart, if I had one. So 
do not misunderstand me, nor love me the less, my 
dear Mother. 

I am having a miniature of myself painted, and if 
it succeeds, I shall send it to you. I am being taken 
in my new 85 fl. crimson cloak. Now and then some 
verses see the light if it would amuse you I would send 
you some occasionally. How are you, dear Mother ? 
The spring makes people merry, and I hope it has 
had that effect upon you. Do write to me soon, very 
soon. How is our darling Emily ? And Rosalie's 
little ones ? Give my best love to one and all. It is 
a quarter to one a.m., not that I am at all sleepy (for 
since I have been at Heidelberg, I never get to becl 
before one) ; but I want to walk up and down my 
room the world Is so still the Neckar gently mur- 
murs my lamp burns low. Dream sweetly of me. 

Good-night. 

ROBERT. 

What do you think of my travelling for four weeks 
at Easter ? I should love to go to London, as Rosen's 



TO CARL SCHUMANN. 107 

brother has given me a pressing invitation, and it only 
takes three and a half days to get there. I will spend 
the next six weeks' vacation in quiet study, and dream 
through the spring among the ruins of the castle. 
Now go peacefully to sleep. 



To CARL SCHUMANN AT SCHNEEBERG. 

Heidelberg, June 3rd, 1830. 

MY dear "Bookseller Charles," 

What a tremendous correspondence we have kept 
up for the last year, to be sure ! How one letter 
followed the other in quick succession ! How we 
have talked about Forcellini and the " pocket-edition 
of the most eminent English authors 3 ' ! But, joking 
apart, forgive me my silence^ as I forgive you yours. 
First of all, let me thank you very much for Rosalie's 
purse, which Theichmann brought me. Both Theich- 
mann and the purse were a pleasant surprise. I had not 
heard a word from Saxony for three blessed months. 
Six or seven weeks ago, I sent off a long letter to 
Mother, and one to Edward, but have had no answer. 
Is Heidelberg quite out of the world, that you all 
write so seldom ? Surely, when there are seven of 
you, somebody might write occasionally, without my 
having to write to each one individually, which is, to 
say the least of it, fatiguing. Theichmann, and all 
his descriptions of home, nearly made me a little bit 



zoS SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

home-sick, in spite of all the delights of Heidelberg 

life. A pause ! 

Dearest Carl, it is certainly very jolly here ; but 
there are, alas, such things as debts, and as yet there 
has not been a kreutzer in Rosalie's purse. This 
summer life is glorious, I get up every morning at 
four, when the sky is the tenderest blue, and study 
Pandects, etc., till eight. From eight to ten I play the 
piano ; from ten to twelve there is a lecture by 
Thibaut or Mittermayer. From twelve to two I stroll 
about the town, and have my dinner. From two to 
four I go and see Zacharia and Johannsen, and then 
I am off to the castle, or down to the Rhine, or away 
to my beloved hills. This is usually the order of my 

day. 

Another pause, and a fresh supply of courage ! My 
dear Brother, if you can possibly manage it, take the 
earliest opportunity of sending me a cheque, the 
amount of which I will leave to your well-known 
generosity. Remember that if I had gone on reading 
in Leipsic, I should have claimed your hospitality fora 
week last Michaelmas, Christmas, and Easter, and that 
my breakfasts, wine, cigars, champagne, and billiards 
would have mounted up very considerably. Seriously, 
remember that yesterday my thrice-renewed bill for 
I5ofl. was due to a college money-lender, and that I 
must procure the money by June i8th. Remember 
that the lectures cost me 50 fl. this half, and that I 
am being specially coached by Professor Johannsen, 
which alone costs me Sofl. Remember, I implore of 



TO CARL SCHUMANN. 109 

you, that since last winter I have been taking lessons 
in French, Italian, English, and Spanish. Lastly, re- 
member the tailor, bootmaker, and laundress, my 
piano, my accursed cigars, and the claims of my 
appetite, which are really very modest. I wanted 
to write to you four weeks ago, but honestly could 
not make up my mind to do it ; and even this letter, 
which will doubtless be very pleasant for you to read, 
is intensely unpleasant for me to write. So, dear, good 
Carl, a little cheque a little cheque ! You need not 
tell Mother anything about it : you know what she is 
in these matters ; and what's more, she promised to 
send me some ducats ages ago, but it never came to 
anything ! For your birthday, I can only offer you 
my usual old gift the best of good wishes for your- 
self and household. But now, please, do not forget 
June 1 6th. Many kisses to Rosalie and your little 
ones. Good-bye, my dear Carl ; this letter is not up 
to much, but means well, 

Your 

ROBERT. 

Theichmann is delighted with Heidelberg, and will 
not find time to write in a hurry, He sends kindest 
regards. 

Presto adieu. 



no 



SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



To HIS MOTHER. 

Heidelberg, July ist, 1830. 

MY beloved Mother, 

None of our pleasures must be allowed to cause 
a friend tears, especially in the case of mother 
and son. And the very fact of my being here, in the 
blossoming heart of spring, has caused me to write so 
seldom. If you did not get my last letter I will gladly 
once more draw the veil off the darkening past, 
especially as it is thin, ethereal, and light as air. 

This spring, which is more easily felt than described, 
lias not been once disturbed by anything save an 
occasional sunset, or a nightingale's song, or a freshly- 
opened blossom, and it has hovered over us so en- 
trancingly all this time that you have heard nothing 
-of me. This is really the only excuse and account I 
can offer you* 

If you were with me I would rather not speak at all, 
but only look into your eyes when nature is reflected 
in them, especially if you had people round you like 
Rosen and Weber kindly pressing your hands. 

My life is now much more quiet and lonely. Weber 
went off to his beloved Italy seven weeks ago, and 
Rosen has been gone home four days, Their portraits 
are hanging over my writing-table, and smile brightly 
down upon me. 

The spring has bound me up more [warmly] with 
myself, and has taught me to value and appreciate 



TO HIS MOTHER. in 

time, which one generally rather trifles with. Thus 
Man alternately plays with Time, and Time with Man. 
If a little sketch of my life should not prove un- 
\velcome I will gladly give it to you. Jurisprudence 
alone sometimes touches my morning with a nipping 
little hoar-frost. Otherwise it is all sunshine, and 
everything is gleaming and sparkling like fresh young 
dewdrops on flowers. Such god-like youth as this 
depends less on one's age than on one's heartland 
the right sort of people are always young, like your- 
self and the poets. My idyll is simple enough, and 
consists of Music, Jurisprudence, and Poetry ; indeed, 
Poetry should always frame one's practical life, like 
beautiful, shining gold surrounding the hard, clear, 
sharp diamond. I get up early, work from 4 to 7, go 
to the piano from 7 to 9, then am off to Thibaut In 
the afternoon lectures alternate with English or 
Italian lessons ; and the evening I spend in society 
and with nature. That is the long and the short of it. 
Sometimes I feel only too well that I am not a practi- 
cal person ; but nobody is to blame for that save heaven 
itself, which gave me imagination to brighten and 
smooth down the dark spots of the future. You can 
easily believe that I should like to become a first-rate 
lawyer, and I am really not wanting in either industry 
or good-will ; and that I shall never rise above the 
average is not my fault but the force of circumstances, 
though my own mind is partly to blame, for it never 
could endure Latin. Only Chance and Fortune, if 
the gods be propitious, can lift the dark curtain which 



H2 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

overshadows my future. Now Thibaut, for instance, 
does not encourage me in Jurisprudence, and says that 
" Heaven never meant me for an official/' and that all 
efficiencyis a special gift. Therefore a forced mechani- 
cal lawyer, without love for his work, can never become 
great. These are my opinions, which I cannot with- 
hold from you. You need not alarm yourself, for I 
have plenty of plans of life if one or other of them 

should come to grief. When I began this letter 

I made up my mind to finish and send it off then and 
there. But my next letter will be longer than any 
you have had from me yet Grant your indulgence 
to these hurried lines, and write soon, my darling 
mother, so that our correspondence may soon gallop 
on as it used to do. A slow or interrupted exchange 
of letters is as bad as none at all, although I alone am 
to blame. May your life be as peaceful and beautiful 

as my own ! 

Good-bye, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 
Remember me to all your dear ones. 



To THE SAME. 

Heidelberg, July 3oth, 1836. 

5 a.m. 
GOOD morning, Mamma ! 

How shall I describe my bliss at this moment! The 
spirit-lamp is hissing under the coffee-pot, the sky is 
indescribably clear and rosy, and the keen spirit of the 



TO HIS MOTHER. 113 

morning fills me with its presence. Besides, your 
letter lies before me and reveals a perfect treasury of 
good feeling, common-sense, and virtue. My cigar 
tastes uncommonly good ; in short, the world is very 
lovely at times, if one could only always get up 
early, 

There is plenty of blue sky and sunshine in my life 
at present, but my guide, Rosen, is wanting. Two 
more of my best friends, the v. H.'s., from Pomerania, 
(two brothers), went off to Italy a week ago, and so I 
often feel very lonely, which sometimes makes me 
happy, sometimes miserable it just depends. One 
can get on better without a sweetheart than without a 
friend ; and sometimes I get into a regular fever when I 
think of myself. My whole life has been a twenty years* 
struggle between poetry and prose, or, if you like to 
call it so, Music and Law. There is just as high a 
standard to be reached in practical life as in art. 
In the former the ideal consists in the hope of plenty 
of work and a large extensive practice ; but what sort 
of prospect would there be in Saxony for such a fellow 
as myself, who is not of noble birth, has neither money 
nor interest, and has no affection for legal squabbles 
and pettiness ? At Leipsic I did not trouble my head 
about my career, but went dreaming and dawdling on 
and never did any real good* Here I have worked 
harder, but both there and here have been getting 
more and more attached to art Now I am standing 
at the cross-roads, and am scared at the question : 
" Which way to choose." My genius points towards 

I 



ii 4 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS, 

Art, which is, I am inclined to think, the right path. 
But the fact is now do not be angry at what I am 
going to say,for I will bat gently whisper it it always 
seems to me as if you were putting" obstacles in my 
way. You had very good reasons for doing so, and I 
understood them all perfectly, and we both agreed in 
calling art an " uncertain future," and " a doubtful way 
of earning one's bread." There certainly can be no 
greater misery than to look forward to a hopeless, 
shallow, miserable existence which one has prepared 
for one's self. But neither is it easy to enter upon a 
career diametrically opposed to one's whole education, 
and to do it requires patience, confidence, and quick 
decision. I am still at the height of youth and imagi- 
nation, with plenty of capabilities for cultivating and 
ennobling art, and have come to the conclusion that 
with patience and perseverance, and a good master, 
I should in six years be as good as any pianist, for 
pianoforte-playing is mere mechanism and execution. 
Occasionally I have much imagination and possibly 

some creative power Now comes the question: 

* To be, or not to be/' for you can only do one thing 
well in this life, and I am always saying to myself : 
" Make up your mind to do one thing thoroughly well, 
and with patience and perseverance you are bound to 
accomplish something." This battle against myself 
is now raging more fiercely than ever, my good mother. 
Sometimes I am daring and confident in my own 
strength and power, but sometimes I tremble to think 
of the long way I have traversed, and of the endless 



TO HIS MOTHER. 115 

road which lies before me* As to Thibaut, he has 
long ago recommended me to take up Art. I should 
be very glad if you would write to him, and he would 
be very pleased too, but unfortunately he went off to 
Rome some time ago, so probably I shall never speak 
to him again. 

If I stick to Law I must undoubtedly stay here 
for another winter to hear Thibaut lecture on the 
Pandects, as every law-student is bound to do. If 
I am to go in for music, I must leave this at once 
and go to Leipsic, where Wieck, whom. I could 
thoroughly trust, and who can tell me what lam worth, 
would then carry on my education. Afterwards I 
ought to go to Vienna fora year ? and if possible study 
under Moscheles. Now I have a favour to ask you, 
my dear mother, which I hope you will grant me. 
Write yourself to Wieck and ask him point-blank what 
he thinks of me and my career. Please let me have a 
SPEEDY answer, deciding the question, so that I can 
hurry on my departure from Heidelberg, although I 
shall be very sorry to leave it * and my many kind 
friends and favourite haunts. If you like you can en- 
close this letter to Wieck. In any case the question must 
be decided before Michaelmas, and then I shall pursue 
my object in life, whatever it may be, with fresh vigour 
and without tears. You must admit that this is the 
most important letter I have ever written, so I trust 
you will not hesitate to comply with my request, for 
there is no time to be lost, 

Good-bye, dear mother, and do not fret In 



n6 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

this case heaven will only help us If we help 

ourselves. 

Ever your most loving son, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



To HIS MOTHER. 

Heidelberg, Aug. 22nd, 1830. 

MY honoured Mother, 

The iQth of August, which brought me all your 
letters, was indeed a red-letter day. My soul had to 
decide for itself, and, weighing the future in the 
balance, choose the rising scale. I did not find the 
choice difficult, although it is a tremendous step to 
take; since my whole future life, my fortune and 
happiness, and possibly yours too, depend on it 

Believe me, I fully appreciate your loving heart ; 
and the doubts you urge have caused me to look 
deeper than usual into my own soul. But you may 
be quite sure that during these last days I have 
thoroughly examined the past, so as to come to some 
definite conclusion about the future. 

But whether I ask my heart, my head, my feelings, or 
my reason ; whether I look at the past, the present, or 
the future ; whether I consult my abilities, my hopes, 
or my prospects, they all point towards Art, from my 
earliest childhood until now. I ask you yourself, go 
over my whole life over my childhood, boyhood, and 
manhood and then tell me frankly, where was I 
always being led ? Remember our dear Father's 



TO HIS MOTHER. 117 

penetrating mind, who saw through me very early, 
and always destined me either for Art or Music. 

And you yourself, in your last letter but one, talk 
of my devotion to Nature, Poetry, and Music. Nature 
and Genius must not be crossed, lest they should get 
angry, and turn away their faces for ever. 

But now we will just suppose that I am willing to 
deny myself by adopting a profession which I do not 
love, and can hardly respect Mother, what sort of 
prospects have I got ? What scope will there be for 
my talents ? What sort of life shall I lead ? With 
what class of people shall I have to associate till the 
hour of my death ? Is Saxony a likely country to 
appreciate the merits of a commoner? Recollect how 
very important the little word " von " is with us. Is 
not my only prospect in life a perpetual dreary round 
of squabbles and petty lawsuits ; and shall I not asso- 
ciate chiefly with convicts and the like ? And what 
will be the upshot of it all ? If I get on well, the 
post of attorney in a country-town of 3,000 people, 
with 600 thalers a year! Now, Mother, do look 
seriously into your own heart and into mine, and ask 
yourself whether I can stand that dreary mono- 
tony all my life ? Whether you can Imagine me 
sitting in an office from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. ? And 
whether it is like me, always to be paying people 
empty compliments ? , . . . Finally, as the gods have 
given me powers of thought and imagination, to make 
life brighter and happier, why shouldn't I make good 
use of them, instead of letting them be wasted ? Let 



1x8 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

me draw a parallel ; but first I must beg of you to 
confide implicitly in Wieck. You have every reason 
to do so. Art says : " If you are industrious, you may 
reach the goal in three years." Jurisprudence says : 
In thr ee years you may perhaps be an < Accessist,' 
earning sixteen groschen a year." Art continues : 
"I am as free as air; the whole world is open to 
me," Jurisprudence shrugs her shoulders, and says ; 
" I am nothing but red tape, from the clerk to the 
judge, and always go about spick and span, and hat 
in hand." Art goes on to say : " Beauty and I dwell 
together, and my whole world and all my creations 
are in the heart of man. I am infinite and untram- 
melled, and my works are immortal," etc. Juris- 
prudence says, with a frown : " I can offer you nothing 
but bumpkins and lawsuits, or at the utmost a murder, 
but that is an unusual excitement. I cannot edit 
new Pandects, etc." .... 

I do not even touch upon material motives, such as 
which profession is the most remunerative, for the 
answer to that is quite obvious. 

My beloved Mother, I can but faintly indicate the 
thoughts which are surging through my brain. I wish 
you were with me now and could look into my heart. 
You would say : " Start on your new career with 
courage, industry, and confidence, and you cannot 
fail." Shake hands with me, you dear ones, and let 
me go my wayjn peace. Truly > both you and I can 
look into the future with far greater confidence than we 
used to. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 119 

Edward's proposal is kind and well-meant, but will 
not do at all, as (in my case) more music would be 
lost in six months, than jurisprudence, which is easily 
made good. 

Wieck's suggestion is capital. He says : " Robert 
is to come to me on trial for six months." Very good ! 
If, after that, Wieck gives a favourable opinion, I 
cannot fail to get on. But if, after six months, he 
should feel at all doubtful about me, / shall not have 
lost anything^ and can study law for another year, and 
go up for my examination, and even then I shall only 
have studied four years. One thing more, my beloved 
Mother, Do beg of my brothers to send me a cheque 
if they possibly can, as RudeFs money will certainly 
not hold out- If they do not, I shan't get away from 
Heidelberg as soon as I wish, as I have still a few 
college bills, lodging, piano-hire, etc., and the whole 
tailor's bill to pay. He is most horribly persistent, 
and worries me frightfully. 

As a longer stay at Heidelberg can do me no good, 
but on the contrary only bores me, it would be as well 
to make as much haste as possible. Every minute 
wasted now is irretrievable. 

Well, good-bye, dear Mother, and all you other dear 
ones. This is the last letter I shall write to you from 
beautiful Heidelberg; but I am sure you would all 
rather see me poor and happy in art, than poor and 
unhappy in law. The future is a great word. 

R, SCHUMANN. 



I2O 



SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



To THE SAME. 

Wesel, on the Lower Rhine, 
near the Dutch frontier, 

Sept. 2/th, 1830. 

MY dearest Mother, 

I am writing you a few hasty lines, to tell you where 
I am and how I am getting on. 

I said good-bye to Heidelberg on the 24*, quite 
early in the morning. The town lay before me 
shrouded in a thick mist, just like my heart at this 
moment of parting from so many friends, perhaps for 
ever. As I am now going to shut myself up and 
thoroughly retire into my shell for three years, I shall 
cherish a vision, during that long time, which I had 
on my flight through the fertile Rheingau. On the 
24th I arrived at Mainz by the steamer, with twenty 
or thirty English men and women. On the 25th the 
number of English had risen to fifty. (If I ever marry, 
it will bean English girl.) I spent the 25th in Cologne, 
but was melancholy and anxious. The Rhine only 
made me feel sad and scornful. Yesterday I arrived 
here, and in a moment the whole aspect of things -was 
changed when I saw North German life. I walked 
once more along the banks of the Rhine, and said 
good-bye to its green waves, which will perhaps meet 
me again in America. 1 Wesel is quite Dutch, and 

1 At that time Schumann contemplated travelling as a 
virtuoso. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 121 

very bright and clean. Every house has a garden In 
front of it ; there is no hall, and one walks straight 
into the sitting-room. There are benches before the 
doors, and children playing about, just like Zwickau. 
To-day I am off to Miinster ; the day after to-morrow 
I hope to be at Detmold, with Rosen, where I intend 
staying a couple of days, and then driving direct to 
Leipsic via Cassel. I shall not go to Zwickau before 
Christmas. Rudel 1 has written me a pretty severe 
letter, which I partly deserve. Good-bye, my beloved 
mother; my heart is dead and barren, like the future. 
A thousand kind messages to you all. 

R, SCHUMANN. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, October 25th, 1830. 

MY beloved Mother, 

I should have written long ago, but I literally had 
neither pen nor paper. Besides which, my being home- 
less at Leipsic for a fortnight had called forth a certain 
dejection, restlessness, and laziness in my nature, and 
prevented my pursuing any train of thought. 

If you only knew what your letters are to me, 
especially your last, in which I hardly know whether 
to admire you most as a woman or as a mother ! In 
my first flush of joy I went to Wieck, and he said : 
" How far superior that woman is to your guardian/* 

1 His guardian. 



J22 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

and I said a great deal more. Always be gentle with 
me, my dear Mother. 

I could write and tell you much about myself, 
about my laziness, my wretchedness, and my journey, 
about an angel of light which occasionally hovers 
about in my heart, and of many other things, but will 
keep everything for my next long letter. Only let our 
correspondence get into full swing again ; I shall not 
be to blame. 

First of all, I am going to discuss all my wretched 
domestic affairs with you, I really want an over-coat 
very badly. I thought blue (dark blue) would look 
the nicest and smartest. I suppose I must get the 
cloth at Rudel's. Will you see about it for me? 
Then I beg of you most earnestly to send me the 
bed I used to have at L. ; and the cups which Therese 
gave me would be very acceptable. I believe you 
have got them. I should be very grateful to Julius if 
he would one of these days send me a lot of pens, 
paper, sealing-wax, and similar necessaries. I am 
veiy fond of making my afternoon coffee in an idyllic 
way in my own coffee-machine, so do you think you 
might send me a bottle of ground coffee, and some 
sugar? What you said about economizing, and re- 
trenching my expenses, went straight to my heart. I 
have made a good beginning; my dinner costs me 
four groschen, my supper still less. You shall have nice 
letters shortly, with all details, about the way I have 
arranged my life, my plans, about my stay at L.> and 
my past life at Heidelberg. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 123, 

Do not desert me, my good Mother, and encourage 
me kindly. I require great tenderness and for- 
bearance. 

Good-bye, 

Your Son ROBERT. 

One thing more : One of these days, will you send 
me all my letters to you ? I require them for some 
work I am thinking of, and should also like to see 
whether the last three years and-a-half have changed 
me much. So please send them. Love to all. 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic ? November I5th, 1830. 
MY good Mother, 

Three of your letters are lying before me unanswered. 
First of all, accept my best thanks for everything, 
bedding, linen, coffee, etc. The coffee I made in a 
perfectly simple and idyllic fashion. Flechsig always 
used to get it sent in bottles from Zwickau. This 
tradesman-like attention used to please me then, and 
that is why I suggested it. Julius is right about the 
sealing-wax, I did not think of it As to my smoking 
cigars you are perfectly right, but I think I smoke less 
than I used. I should not like to call it a passion, as 
you do in your letter, for during my last journey 
I did not smoke fifty, and had no great craving 
for it. Otherwise, I have retrenched as much as 
possible, but one habit I have not yet got out of, 



124 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

namely, to burn two candles in the evenings. I have 
been to see Earth already, but have not yet paid 
him a Sunday visit Sometimes I could throw over 
everything in a mood of dejection and indifference. 
Dr. Carus's people insist in introducing me into 
countless families ; they think " it will be advantageous 
in my career," and I think so too, yet I never go 
anywhere in fact, very rarely leave my room. Alto- 
gether, I am very stale, dry, and unpleasant, and given 
to laughing to myself. Of my old fire and enthusiasm 
barely the ashes remain. I shall be no pleasure to you 
at Christmas. You say, that after reading my letter, 
In which I told you of my old resolve, you found it 
Impossible to pray. Can this possibly be true ? I 
shall cause you but little joy during your life, in any 
case, but by Jove, if I were to stick to law, and 
become a clerk, I should shoot myself for weariness. 
One thing more : It* is quite possible God forbid 
that I should some day be blind. Then music would 
be the saving of me, more than anything. Do not 
alarm yourself, but a doctor frightened me the other 
day. As regards iny money, thank you very much 
for what you say, but I have promised it to Carl, and 
shall be too pleased to give It to him. I will write 
more to-morrow, I am not in good spirits to-day. 

1 6th, Evening. 

I have just been reading what I had written, and 
was a long time undecided whether I should send 
such a gloomy letter, but I will finish it, as I am just 



TO HIS MOTHER. 125 

now In a brighter frame of mind. And now for the main 
point I will attend the lectures with pleasure, and 
bring home certificates at Christmas, but indeed, I only 
do it for the sake of the forty florins. 1 You can hardly 
think what an insipid, miserable affair a Leipsic lecture 
is. I think I have said before that lectures can be of no 
good to any but donkeys. Of course I ought to have 
some money first of all, to be able to pay for them, 
as I shall not get certificates until I do. For the last 
fortnight I have not had a farthing ; I owe Wieck 
twenty thalers, and Ltihe thirty, and really live like a 
dog. You say I had better borrow 100 thalers of 
somebody, but who is to lend them to me ? I hardly 
know a soul, and those I do know have got as little 
as I have. I have already been to Earth, with Carl's 
permission. I should like to have my hair cut, as it 
is a yard long, but haven't a copper to do it with. 
For the last fortnight I have been, obliged to wear 
only white neck~ties,as my black one is simply in rags, 
and the white ones will be at an end to-morrow, so I 
shall have to be old-fashioned, and do without. I 
ought to send several letters to Heidelberg, but have 
no money for the postage. What will the world think 
of me? My piano is horribly out of tune, but I 
cannot send for the tuner, etc., etc. I have not even 
enough to buy a pistol to shoot myself. That is 
the state I am in. So do not take it amiss, if in a 
weak despairing moment, I run right away, either to 
America, or to my uncle at Twer, where, fortunately, 
/ The Zwickau University stipend. 



126 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

cholera morbus is just now raging, which might soon 
put an end to the life and career of my wretched self. 
There is something serious in all the nonsense I have 
written. In your last letter you said: "A corrupt 
tree cannot bring forth good fruit" But a good tree 
may bring forth evil fruit. I hope to God it will not 
come to this. 

My light will go out directly, and I have not got 
another. So I will only say this much more : When 
are the forty florins due ? (for the last time). If possible 
send me them in natura. Then, I shall have to 
serve my time in the army this year, and shall require 
my baptismal register, so I beg of you most earnestly 
to send it to me as soon as possible, as in the end they 
will very likely seize upon me in spite of my weak 
eyes. 

The light is just going out ; I am not going out 

just yet. 

Your miserable Son, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



Leipsic, Nov. 28th, 1830. 
MY beloved Mother, 

What can I give you to-day but nameless wishes and 
hopes for your future and my own ? A thunderstorm 
was overhanging my life yesterday, but to-day there 
is a rainbow, and only a few drops falling. You 
.may have buried many hopes and wishes during the 



TO HIS MOTHER. 127 

past year, yet for my sake no year should be dearer 
to you. 

Cast your sorrows behind you, and sublime, peace- 
ful figures will grow out of them and smile upon you. 
Thus did Deucalion and Pyrrha throw stones behind 
them, and splendid Greeks rose up from them. I 
often tell myself that. 

To give myself entirely to you, I wanted to send you 
a painted double of myself, but it will not be finished 
In time to go with this letter. 

Smile at it when it arrives, and do not desert me, 
my dear mother. 

R. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Dec. loth, 1830. 

MY beloved Mother, 

It has just dawned upon me that I possess neither 
dress-coat nor trousers for the approaching balls and 
festivities at Zwickau. Will you send me by return of 
post six yards of fine black cloth^ so that all may be 
ready before the holidays ? 

My picture will arrive shortly ; but at least 50 or 60 
thalers must be raised before I myself can get away. 
Ltihe has got no more money, and I have promised to 
pay him by the 2Oth. A shower of ducats would be 
universally acceptable. Otherwise I am pretty well, 
although I have filled my cup to the brim by falling 
violently in love the day before yesterday. The gods 



1 28 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LE TTERS. 

grant that my ideal may have a fortune of fifty 
thousand ! 

Good-bye, dearest mother. 

Your most affectionate child, 

"Rr 



ROBERT. 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Dec. I2th, 1830. 

MY good Mother, 

I am sending another letter following close upon 
yesterday's, and written in the same spirit 

First, I sent off the bronze at least a fortnight ago 
by the carrier* It happened in this way. A woman 
came to me and asked me if I were myself, and whether 
I had not got a parcel to send to Zwickau. Of course 
I gave her the bronze brackets addressed to you ; so 
they are no doubt at Zwickau, or else the woman is a 
humbug, which is not possible. You see that I am 
innocent. 

Next, the certificates will arrive to-morrow. Little 
Rascher wanted to see about getting me the one for 
this half-year ; but, in the first place, he could not find 
the Famulus, and in the second place neither he nor I 
had eight groschen (imagine, eight groschen !) to pay 
for it. I enclose the certificates for 1828. The gossip 
that is going about in that blessed Zwickau is too 
absurd for anything, although it is true enough that 
going to lecture never was my ruling passion. To put 



TO HIS MOTHER. 



129 



the finishing touch to my good conduct, I also en- 
close the Heidelberg certificates, which the good people 
of Zwickau can inspect and admire at your house. 

Next, you are right about the big opera ; I am all 
on fire, and revel all day long in sweet fairy-like 
sounds. The opera is called " Hamlet ;" the thought 
of glory and immortality gives me strength and 
imagination, and official life sneaks away in a fright. 
The journey to Zwickau would rather interrupt my 
flow of ideas, but still it is possible that I may come. 
In no case can I promise for certain. I shall come 
before you like a vision ; you must not be frightened, 
I am dreadfully pale, ugly and seedy-looking, and all 
the Zwickau ladies will be surprised and critical. My 
picture will give you the meaning of these remarks. 
It will appear one of these days, and you will exclaim ; 
" Is that Robert ?" Fourthly, Kuntzsch has written 
me a charming letter which I should hardly have 
given him credit for. 

I will execute your commission about the table- 
clock as quickly as possible, but I do not consider 
the idea at all appropriate ; at any rate it is not very 
original or novel A clock always reminds one so 
unpleasantly of one's age and the flight of time* But 
write to me quickly, telling me when is the fourth 
Sunday in Advent so that it may arrive in time. I 
have always been a bad hand at dates. Fifthly, see 
about getting me some cloth, otherwise I cannot 
possibly come, for I only possess two artistically 
threadbare dress-coats, which are delightfully careless- 

K 



130 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

looking but not at all smart and festive. Sixthly .... 
Ninthly, next Michaelmas I shall go to Weimar to be 
tinder Hummel, for the deep reason that I may call 
myself a pupil of his. You would then leave Zwickau 
and live with me in delightful Weimar, so full of 
beautiful memories. Tenthly, I am in an uncommonly 
bright, airy, and divine mood, and am revelling in a 
pure atmosphere of deep home-feelings ; and finally, 
I have not yet got beyond that stage in letter- writing 
in which I shall ever and always remain 

YOUR ROBERT, 

who loves you heartily, and sends greeting 
to the whole of Zwickau. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, December 15th,, 1830. 

MY dearest Mother, 

Your letter is written as youthfully as Jean Paul, 
and every word is a living blossom. Unless the 
great, great time in which we are now living, when 
even old men glow like youths, quite shrouds the 
Olympus of Art, I am not at all alarmed lest I 
should appear in an Encyclopaedia, or among " Por- 
traits of Celebrities," or that we should see our entire 
correspondence in print Heavens ! How shall I fare 
then as a son, and you as a mother ? You would 
hardly believe how such letters refresh me, how they 
give me fresh strength and longing to pursue my 
object Encouragement gives me power of resistance, 



TO HIS MOTHER, 131 

and imbues my courage with fresh spirit and energy. 
Such words as : " That Is your true love, your true 
friend in joy and sorrow," but indeed, no words can 
give us such sweet comforting peace as music. "But 
mind, be faithful to the companion you have chosen 
for your earthly pilgrimage/ 3 Such words raise a 
prolonged echo in the soul, especially when they come 
from the heart of a mother. But I will be faithful to 
my love, even if she should prove faithless to me. I 
should like to write much to-day, very much, but the 
pen trembles in my hand, and I am going to walk up 
and down the room, and think of the snow which is 
blown away by the first breath of spring. 



Tlie 1 5th. Evening. 

Occasionally I get on really very well I am in- 
dustrious, and am making capital progress ; In three 
or four years, I hope to be as far advanced as Mos- 
cheles, Do you remember when we sat side by side 
at the concert in Carlsbad, and you whispered to me 
delightedly : " Moscheles is sitting behind us ? " And 
how everyone respectfully made way for him, and how 
modestly he walked through the crowd ? I shall take 
him for an example in everything. Believe me, good 
Mother, with patience and perseverance, I can do 
much if I like. I sometimes lack self-confidence 
before the world, although on the other hand I can be 
very proud inwardly. God grant, that I may but con- 
tinue to be very strong, modest, steadfast, sober. The 



I 3 2 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

pure natural fire always gives most beauty and 
warmth. If my talents for Poetry and Music could 
only be concentrated into one focus, the rays of light 
would not be so broken, and I should dare to 
do much. 

I can no longer accustom myself to the idea of 
dying a Philistine, and it seems to me now as though 
I had been destined for Music from the beginning. 
Are you aware that I used to watch for the hours, 
when you went to see Madame Ruppius, so that I 
might be able to compose ? How happy I was then, 
and I shall often be so again. Your unceremonious 
invitation for New Year's Eve is more moving than 
all prayers and wishes, and if I had no other reason I 
would accept it for the sake of that letter. Perhaps I 
will come flying over for a few minutes, and disport 
myself amongst you, like a West- wind in winter. In 
the meantime take my portrait, and hang me up. 

But I must also thank you for the cheque you have 
sent me. This contempt and waste of money is a 
wretched characteristic of mine. You would not 
believe how careless I am I often actually throw 
money away. I am always reproaching myself, and 
making good resolutions, but the next minute I have 
forgotten them, and am tipping somebody with eight 
groschen ! My being away from home, and travelling 
about, have much to do with it, but most of the blame 
attaches to myself and my accursed carelessness. 
And I fear it will never get any better. 

It is all a joke about my looking pale and 



TO HIS MOTHER. 133 

miserable. I am as fresh as a rose, and as sound as a 
roach. Sometimes I have a tooth-ache. See the 
portrait ! 

By Jove, but that idea about Weimar is glorious ! 
But how, for heaven's sake, can you say that anything 
of that sort would be too great an expense ? There's 
time enough, and I simply must finish my course 
with Wieck. The other day I suggested to him, in 
a light and airy kind of way, my plan about Hummel ; 
but he took it ill, and asked me whether I mis- 
trusted him, or what ; and whether, as a matter of fact, 
he was not quite the best master ? He saw that I was 
startled by such unnecessary anger, but we are now 
quite friendly again, and he treats me most affec- 
tionately, like his own child. You can hardly have a 
notion of his fire, his judgment, his view of art ; and 
yet, when he speaks in his own or Clara's interests, 
he is as rude as a bear 

A thousand thanks for the cloth ; it is already at 
the tailor's. 

Don't be either angry or sad, if I should not be 
able to come ; in any case you shall see me before the 
old year ends. 

I am curious to see what Christmas will bring, 
I much need a dressing-gown, cigars, boots, and a 
pair of stylish cuffs. 

Much love to everybody (never forget Emily). 
Good-bye, dearest Mother, and all the other dear 
ones. R. 



I34 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Feb. i8th, 1831. 

I SHOULD feel quite at a loss, my beloved Mother, if 
you were to ask me why I have not written for so 
long. It is all the more inexplicable, as I have every 
reason for being grateful to you, and have a favour to 
ask, which I have put off from one week to another. 

I might give you a reason, though only an emo- 
tional one, namely, because your last letters have 
contained neither real praise nor blame, have been 
neither hot nor cold, motherly nor stepmotherly. A 
long-suppressed discord between two friends is much , 
more cutting and dangerous than a frank outspoken 
reproach, and perhaps that is why, without intending 
it, I delayed my answer for so long, as I have begun 
at least six letters to you. To tell you the truth, I 
have often wished that, on the contrary, you would 
all thoroughly neglect me for a bit, so as to lessen my 
debt of guilt and gratitude. As it is, you all go on over- 
whelming me with consoling, encouraging letters, and 
tokens of affection, so that I hardly dare to look up. 
Shall I, perchance, thank you for your picture, which 
I can't help kissing, it is so lovely, and so like you ? 
Or for the double household gift, worth even more to 
me ? Or for your last letter, even kinder than the one 
before, and its precious contents ? True gratitude is 
more rare than gifts, but if you will be content with a 
soft chord on the piano, or a mute look at the even- 



TO HIS MOTHER. 135 

ing sky, or a gentle remembrance, or a word before 
going to bed, then accept it as such. 

2 1 St. 

I was writing away in such splendid form, when I 
had a most unpleasant interruption from the man 
where I dine, who actually wanted money. I begged 
for patience till the first. But now, where to get 
money from ? You sent me word by Rascher, that if 
I was very hard up you might perhaps be able to 
procure me a hundred thalers. If you can do so 
without much difficulty, I beg of you to extricate me 
from this tiresome and irregular life. It could not, 
indeed, be otherwise, under the circumstances. If 
I had been provided with money when I first arrived 
in L.> I should have no debts, and be all straight; 
but there I \vas for the first six weeks without any 
money at all ; then came a few thalers which did 
not nearly cover my expenses, and so it went on and 
on, and I could not get into proper and regular habits. 
By Jove, it is quite true, when I tell you that for the last 
fortnight I have only eaten meat about twice, and 
lived upon plain potatoes ; and, although I am very 
fond of them, still it is getting rather too much of 
a good thing. I am too shy to go to Barth, and, 
after all, ten or twenty thalers would not help me 
much, as I owe both Liihe (who really wants the 
money badly) and my Eating-house keeper (who is 
most rude to me, because I have not paid him for 
three months,) from sixty to seventy thalers, not to 



136 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

mention my debt to Wieck ! I have also had to pawn 
your watch, and one book after the other finds its way 
to the second-hand bookseller's. You may imagine 
how much I am losing. The day before yesterday I 
went in despair to Wieck, and borrowed a thaler, and 
Heavens ! did I not pitch into the roast veal, that's 
all! Poverty must be a horrible thing, because it 
absolutely excludes one from human society. Now 
that I experience it, I regret many things. 

The want of money can hardly throw me into either 
melancholy or despair, because I care too little about 
it, and possessing it does not affect my happiness one 
way or the other. But it is very depressing and un- 
comfortable, 

Don't you think it possible to raise a sum of one 
or two hundred thalers in some way or other before I 
come of age ? I have but little connection with 
capitalists or English lords, and go on living in my 
usual dreary groove. Otherwise I am not getting on 
so badly, and my mind and spirit are as fresh and 
vigorous as if a dozen fountains were playing upon 
them. That is due to the heavenly muse with her 
magic wand. I am certainly more likely to become 
immortal than to earn any sort of " title." Good- 
bye, good mother ; I shall see you very soon ; but, 
for heaven's sake, write and send me something by 
tht first of March, if you possibly can. 

I am really very badly off, to all appearances. 

R. 

I once more beg your pardon a thousand times, for 



TO HIS MOTHER. 137 

not having written for so long, Where has last year 
gone ? I blush to think of the answer. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, April 25th, 1831. 

MY beloved Mother, 

I wish you could see me sitting like a king in my 
bow window. My brothers are nowhere to be found, 
and as I was once more creeping down the old Neu- 
markt, with the moon shining brightly on the houses, 
I thought of you, and remembered my promise to 
write to you soon. 

I was in a dream when I arrived here. It was a fine 
day, and when I came into my room, I found every- 
thing swept and garnished, the windows cleaned, new 
curtains put up in short, I am in clover. I found 
Edward busy, sulky, and absent-minded, which is the 
result of the Fair. 

May 1 5th. 

There are three weeks between the beginning and 
end of this letter. All this time I have not been able 
to collect my thoughts sufficiently to write you a long 
letter. And there will not be much rose-colour In It 
now. I was confined to my room for six days with 
pains in my head, my heart, and all over me. Other- 
wise I am uncommonly lively, and In an imaginative 
vein. According to the doctor's orders, I was obliged 
to get into profuse perspiration for three days running, 



138 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS, 

and my hand Is rather shaky while I am writing. I 
have got a slight touch of cholera hanging about me. 
But by the first of June I hope to be quite set- up 
again, and to be with you, my good mother. Do you 
still think kindly of me ? Your last parting words 
will never be forgotten by me. When I repeat them, 
I feel as if some good genius was folding me in his 
arms. I can never hear people tell me often enough 
that they love me, I have become so suspicious. I 
hardly like to think of my stay at Zwickau, because 
I really was in too stupid a temper (if I can call it 
temper). You and the others were really not in fault, 
I assure you I know that full well, and feel it deeply, 
and not a single sign of affection is lost upon me. 
Thank you, then, dear mother, for your care and 
attention, for your boiled beef and rice, which will 
always be my favourite dish, and all of you for every- 
thing. Julius seemed to me more cordial than ever 
this time. 

My finances occupy me and worry me to a certain 
extent Wieck said the other day that nothing would 
do me more good than to have no money at all, " for 
then I might turn out well." I have promised my 
money to Carl ; he wants to give me five per cent for 
it, which I would not accept, if it were not an advan- 
tage to him. To a merchant, 8,000 thalers are but 
little, when he can lose them in a year in speculation. 
But a fellow like myself is much more knowing. I 
have made an exact calculation of my receipts and 
expenditures up to Michaelmas. But still, I must 



TO HIS MOTHER. 139 

have the interest of my money, and eighty or a 
hundred thalers besides if I am to exist at all. My 
capital I will never touch. If you have any influence 
with Carl and Rosalie^ beg them never to send me more 
than my lawful due } otherwise there will be incessant 
muddles, which will finally come to a bad end. I will 
manage to earn, or otherwise cover, the deficit in my 
expenses. In my next letter I will send you my cal- 
culation. I have to make considerable economies,, 
at least in a town like Leipsic ; but then I hope I 
shall earn your respect Edward is very merry and 
cheerful The Fair turned out a great deal better than 
he expected, 

I just keep jogging on. It is the fault of all vivid 
young minds that they aspire to too much at once ; 
it only makes their work more complicated, and 
their spirit more restless* But quiet old age will cairn 
down and level all that. I can only have four aims 
to choose from conducting, teaching, playing, and 
composing* Hummel combines all four, but in my 
case it will probably be one of the two last. If only 
I could do one thing well, instead of many things 
badly, as I have always done \ Still, the principal 
thing for me to keep in view, is to lead a pure, steady, 
sober life. If I stick to that, rny guardian angel will 
not desert me; he now sometimes almost possesses 
me for a little. 

I must end, my dear, good mother, as Carl wants 
to be off in two hours. Continue to think kindly of 
me! ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



140 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Aug. 8th, 1831. 

" DON'T quite forget me/' were your words at our last 
parting, my good mother. Eight weeks have gone 
since then, and you have certainly reason now to 
interpret your words in a sense which should make me 
blush. If I were to tell you that I do not know* 
where to turn through pure hard work, you would 
hardly believe me, and yet it is so, but if I say to 
you, " Don't be angry with me, I was wrong," perhaps 
you will press my hand as kindly as you used when I 
came to you and said I had been naughty. 

But now to-day the sky is so deliciously blue that 
I should dearly love to have somebody to whom I 
could express how happy and summerlike I feel, how 
my intellectual, calm, artistic life drives back all pas- 
sions, and how my thoughts will often revolve round 
some ideal for the future for several minutes together, 
In short, how thoroughly I sometimes appreciate the 
present. But to whom could I say all this so well as 
to you, who have always judged me rightly, and have 
sometimes been almost too kind in overlooking and 
obviating my faults, or in trusting my heart, when 
my head was bent on going astray ? There is a very 
fine touch about a young poet, and more especially 
about a young composer. You can hardly imagine 
the sort of feeling it is when you can say to yourself, 
" This work is yours only, no man will take this pos- 



TO HIS MOTHER. 141 

session from you, Indeed it cannot be taken from you, 
for it is yours only." If you could but realize that 
" only ! " There is seldom any reason for this feeling, 
for genius comes like a flash, bursts forth in all its 
glory, and produces a sort of pacifying self-confidence, 
which need fear no criticism. During all the time I 
have not written to you, this feeling often came over 
me like a dream, from which I did not want to be 
awakened ; but then all around me was lovely, and the 
world rich and radiant. If one has at last come to a 
conclusion, and is quiet and satisfied in one's own 
mind, the ideas of honour, glory, and immortality, 
of which one dreams, without doing anything towards 
their accomplishment, all resolve themselves into 
gentle rules, only to be learned from time, life, and ex- 
perience. To bring to light anything great and calmly 
beautiful, one ought only to rob Time of one grain of 
sand at a time ; the complete whole does not appear 
all at once, still less does it drop from the sky. It is 
only natural that there should be moments when we 
think we are going back, while in reality we are only 
hesitating in going on. If we let such moments pass, 
and then set to work again quickly and bravely, we 
shall get on all right. 

This, dear mother, is a short account of my life 
during the past eight weeks, when I dare say you 
thought I was lost, while I was often thinking of you 
in quiet moments, and at all times of the day, and 
rejoicing over your pleasure to come. 

My social life has also altered. Now and then people 



I43 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

recognize my talent and think I shall do some good, 
and those who know me seem to enjoy my company. 
I cannot get over a certain shyness in society, and it 
would be just as well if I were sometimes rather 
more abrupt 

My being so much with Wieck has changed me 
for the better. He seems so much more sympathetic 
than I used to think him ; then he both praises and 
scolds me, just as he likes, and is always cheer- 
ing and encouraging. I should be very glad if you 
would write and thank him for taking so much interest 
in me, He said to Liihe the other day that he won- 
dered that my family, after having so far confided me 
to him, had never so much as asked how I was getting 
on, whether I was improving or the reverse; that 
they could not care much about me, and that he could 
not make it out, etc. Although this is not meant In 
the least as a reproach to you and my brothers, still 
I think he is right So do be kind, and write to him. 

Though I am quite well and jolly, still I dread 
the cholera, not so much the disease as its conse- 
quences. To be on the safe side I have made my will, 
but kept it as funny as possible, as I cannot imagine 
at all that I shall ever die. 

I have got several more things to tell you, but will 
postpone everything till I get your answer. So I 
will whisper Jean Paul's golden rule to you : that a 
letter is never so easily answered as after reading it 
through for the first time (in this case I ought to 
say spelling it out). 



TO JULIUS SCHUMANN. 143 

Now good-bye, dear Mother. Trust to my indus- 
try and my good genius, who I hope may always be 
with me. 

Your loving, devoted son, 

ROBERT. 

Last night I dreamed about you, but always in 
a most horrible way. Do you like the clock for 
Rudel ? If the cholera comes any nearer, perhaps I 
shall come to Zwickau or Schneeberg. 

To JULIUS SCHUMANN, AT ZWICKAU. 

Leipsic, Sept 5th, 1831. 
MY dear Brothers, 

I must confess to you that I have a painful, almost 
childish dread of the cholera, and fear it will make 
no bones of dragging me out of my beautiful every- 
day life in its talons. The thought of dying now, 
after having lived for twenty years in the world with- 
out having done anything but spend money makes 
me quite wild. For several days I have been in a 
kind of fever : thousands of plans come Into my head, 
are dismissed, and come back again. I even consider 
that Man is bound to avoid an epidemic disease, If 
possible, and if his circumstances allow him to do so. 
And as, in my case, they do allow, I should like to 
be off to sunny Italy, perhaps for six months, or 
for the present, to Augsburg with Wieck (who is 
going to Paris with Probst), or to Weimar to be with 



144 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

Hummel Then, again, I would rather stay here, be- 
cause I have not the least wish to travel, and am 
making progress in music ; altogether, I am in a fearful 
state of restlessness and indecision, and almost wish 
to send a bullet through my head. 

At first I was not going to tell you anything about 
it, and thought of starting off across Italy to Sicily 
without further ado, but I rejected that plan. Every- 
body wonders why I am not off. It is certainly not 
very tempting to remain in a place where in an 
hour you may be dead. My affairs are all settled, 
my papers placed with the proper authorities, and my 
passport to Botzen and Italy on the table. The only 
thing wanting is your own approval, and mother's ; 
then, in four days I should come to Zwickau for a 
day, and then start direct for Rome. Of course 
the journey would unsettle me very much, but it 
would not send me out of this world into the next ! 
Tell me what to do ! I cannot stay here ! If I were 
to die of cholera here or at Zwickau (I really can see 
myself lying dead) I should certainly exclaim (if I 
could), " Oh, you donkey ! Why did you not go to 
Italy ! " You yourselves would not be able to under- 
stand why I did not go, as there was after all nothing 
to prevent me. . . , The official report in yesterday's 
newspaper stated : "In Berlin 17 people caught the 
cholera, of whom 14 died, and 3 are in the doctor's 
hands/' so that not one has really recovered. I beg 
you very, very earnestly to let me know by return of 
post whether you give me leave to take this journey. 



TO HIS MOTHER. I45 



Then nothing shall prevent me from taking to my 
heels the next minute. I should have written this 
whole letter to mother if I were sure that she was at 
Zwickau. I once more beg of you to write to me by 
return of post, for it (the cholera) may be here in four 
days. 

R. SCHUMANN. 

To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, Sept. 2ist, 1831. 
DEAR good Mother, 

How nice of you to write to me again, and thus give 
me not only the pleasure of your letter but the oppor- 
tunity of making you happy by my answer an ego- 
tistical- sentence. Thanks also for your last letter with 
the waistcoat, which suits me admirably. You may 
well be angry that my thanks and letter come so late. 
But a fortnight ago I had got the idea firmly fixed in 
my brain that I was going to get the cholera, and 
ought to go far far away, to Naples perhaps, or Sicily. 
To this end I wanted to wait for your return to 
Zwickau, so as to put my papers into your hands. 
But whether some good or bad genius persuaded me 
to put off my journey, or what anyhow all my dread 
has disappeared, together with the wish to travel, 
which was never very great As to my will, I certainly 
laughed at myself as I was making it, but still it is 
better to be on the safe side. As it is only my own 
private will, signed by neither magistrate nor notary, 
I can throw over every one of my legatees at my 

L 



I 4 6 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

pleasure. After all I made it principally for your sake, 
with the exception of a few trifles, such as the piano 
Rosalie is to have, etc. 

For the present I shall not go to Weimar. The fact 
is 3 I shall shortly be the father of a fine healthy child, 
at whose christening I should like to assist before 
leaving Leipsic. It will make its appearance at 
Messrs. Probst's, and heaven grant that you may un- 
derstand it, with its first tones of youth and vivid life. 
If yo;u only knew what joys those are an author's 
first joys. Being engaged is nothing to it The whole 
atmosphere of my heart is charged with hopes and 
presentiments, and I feel as proud to be wedded for 
the first time to the great world, which is the home of 
the artist to its uttermost limits, as the Doge of Venice 
was \vhen he wedded the sea. Isn't it a comforting 
and beautiful thought that this first dewdrop of mine, 
dissolving in the illimitable ether, may possibly sink 
gently into some aching heart and help to assuage its 
grief and heal its wound ? 

But even without this reason (although it is just as 
well I should be at hand to correct the proofs) I 
should stay some time longer at Leipsic because of 
the cholera. Weimar is quite as much exposed to it as 
Leipsic, since they are both in the beaten track. But 
at Weimar there is not a soul I could speak to besides 
Hummel, so my life there would be a sad one, and I 
might be mercilessly taken to a hospital It is quite 
different here, as you know. Probst, who is going to 
Paris, has offered me the use of his two rooms for 



TO HIS MOTHER, 147 

nothing. The house is pleasantly situated in the 
midst of green gardens, and has the finest view in the 
world. The offer was made so frankly that it did not 
seem like accepting charity. Still, if I should not 
accept it, I may take a room in the house where Liihe 
lives, so as to have some one near me in case of 
need. You would hardly believe how useful Liihe is 
to me, how kindly he cheers and encourages me, or 
finds fault when I have made a mistake. But for 
him I should long ago have sunk into melancholy or 
some similar jaundiced state. I do not interfere with 
his love affairs and arrangements any more than he 
does with mine. I can assure you that I have never 
lived so pleasantly, economically, and steadily as 
during the last three months. I have just thought 
of some delightful lines by Goethe which I chanced to 
read yesterday : 

" Width of world and breadth of life, 
Many a year of honest strife, 
Search and question never ending, 
Ne'er completing, oft amending ; 
To the oldest ever true, 
Taking kindly to the new ; 
.With cheerful mind pure motives wed ; 
Methinks you'll make a stretch ahead/' 

Is not that glorious ! And is not every word to the 
point ? Whisper this verse to me occasionally. 

Wieck spoke very highly of your letter. He said 
you judged me so correctly that he hardly knew how 
to answer you. 

In the last Leipsic Revolution, which does indeed 



148 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

baffle description, I played an Important part, as a 
man fell ten yards In front of me. Fury and terror 
reigned supreme. Madame [Nolkel] begged me to call 
on her just at this time, so I must conclude my letter. 
Accept It kindly! I hope you may have bright 
happy days at Schneeberg. If the cholera should 
break out here, I have made up my mind to write to 
you every Saturday, to show you that I am alive and 

well 

Write to me again soon. 

Your fondly loving 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



To G. Z. 

Leipsic, Sep. 27th, 1831. 

SHOULD you require a young contributor to assist 
you in your possibly rather overwhelming literary 
work, I could act in that capacity. The enclosed spe- 
cimens might be followed by a long succession of 
similar " Caecillana/ 7 but you must not judge my 
future articles, which will be more strictly theore- 
tical, by these, which are merely an endeavour to 
reproduce the first impression made by a genial com- 
position of recent date? As I have great reason to be 
modest, I beg of you to omit whatever you feel inclined, 
or what may be distasteful to you. 

1 From Schumann's letter-book. Fink was then Editor of 
the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung of Leipsic. TR. 

2 Chopin's Op. 2. 



TO THE FAMILY SCHUMANN. 149 

I do not myself much care for the title " Caeciliana." 
As they are to be a series of critical essays, you might 
use the name " Odeon " with as much right as Has- 
linger did, (Jean Paul had a similar "Museum"), or 
they might be called " Critical Imaginings/' or 
" [Synoptical] Papers," etc., but I leave all that to your 
own judgment. To conclude, I would ask you to 
send me a line, saying whether the enclosed can 
appear in the Zeitung> and if so when ; and, sup- 
posing my whole scheme and style meet- with your 
approval, whether I may send you some more, or less. 

Yours truly, 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

To THE FAMILY SCHUMANN. 

1831. 

DEAR kind People, 

You must receive my child 1 lovingly. If to some of 
you it is unintelligible, because you do not under- 
stand its speech, even those will have the advantage 
of imagining it lovelier than it really is. You must 
not be angry that I did not dedicate my first work to 
any of you, but in the first place such a dedication 
would have been too near and dear, and secondly, 
the composition was not good enough, as there 
are many better things in my desk with your names 
on them, such as " Papillons musicals " for my three 
sisters-in-law, a Concerto for my mother, and a big 

1 Op* i, Variations on the name Abegg, then just published. 



I 5 o SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

4i Exercise 5 ' 1 in double notes for my brothers to prac- 
tise. 

An affectionate farewell to you all, and think with 

pleasure of your 

R. 



To HECKEL AT MANNHEIM. 

Leipsk; Oct. i4th, 1831* 

HONOURED Sir, 

You may remember my coming to you more than 
two years ago, as a Heidelberg student, to try your 
beautiful piano. It is through an accident that I 
have remained in your debt for two whole years, as 
the friend whom I commissioned to pay you got rid 
of the money in some other way. 

As the name Abegg is familiar in Mannheim, I 
take the liberty of sending you twelve copies of my 
Variations. In asking you to distribute them among 
the Mannheim friends of music, allow me to assure 
you that in doing so you would be sure of the deepest 
gratitude of the young composer, who is braving pub- 
lic opinion for the first time. 

I will gladly allow you 50 per cent, and should you 
be fortunate enough to get rid of all the copies, I 
would ask you kindly to make the payment to Herr 
Ltidwig Schumann, of this place, whom I know well, 
or to my brother, the bookseller at Zwickau. But if 

1 Toccata. 



TO HIS MOTHER, 151 

* 

the worst comes to the worst, please return the Varia- 
tions to the above address, any time before Easter 
week. 

Kindly forgive these lines. 



To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, Oct. Hth, 1831. 
MY beloved Mother, 

I certainly wish I had you in my new lodgings at 
this moment For I have left my cold bare rooms at 
N.'s, with their shabby-genteel air, and have taken up 
my abode near the river. So now, from my front- 
room I see a beautiful green garden with ted houses 
peeping in, and have a view of the whole Eastern sky, 
and can see the sun rise, which I enjoy like a child 
every morning over my coffee. But my back-room is 
far nicer ; there is something so warm and cosy about 
it. I look out on bright gardens, and a clacking mill- 
wheel with a wide rushing stream, while in the evening 
I see the moon rise and get the most glorious sunsets. 
Now, if you were with me, I would tell you lots of 
things, how lovely the world is at times, how 
pleased I was with your letter, and how difficult it is 
to imagine you ill, when you can write such letters. 

Nov. 2 1 st. 

ACCEPT the above fragment as an apology for this 
long silence, my dearest mother ! You would not 



i 5 3 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

believe how dissatisfied I am with myself, and how 
angry I feel every day over my negligence. You 
would all laugh If I were to say that I had got no 
time, and yet It Is so. Good Heavens ! there is a 
singer living next door to me, and he Is now beginning 
his scales, so that I cannot keep an idea In my head. 
I will go on this afternoon. 

Nov. 25th, 

YOU cannot think how pleased I was with the latest 
Zwickau letters, especially with Therese's ; Indeed, I 
want nothing better. But as to the delightfully 
mysterious sentence in your letter, asking for the real 
explanation of the dedication, why, I could only laugh 
heartily at your sentimental suspicions, as the countess 
Is an old creature of six-and-twenty, very intellectual 
and musical, but snappish and ugly. But not to rob 
you of all hopes of an aristocratic connection, I must 
confess that the younger sister is a perfect angel (her 
name Is Emily), though rather too ethereal for your 
son. 

28th. 

ACCEPT then, dearest mother, my child-like wishes 
for to-day, which brings the first bit of blue sky we 
have seen for a long time. What pure memories this 
day must awaken in your heart, for your whole life 
has been the pursuit of truth, without caring for reward. 
Shall I, at your age, be able to look back Into the 



TO HIS MOTHER. 153 

past with as much calmness and Innocence as you can, 
my good mother ? And will others be able to do so ? 
Although I know well how kind your feelings are to- 
wards me, yet I am afraid you will hardly take an 
excuse for my long silence. 

10 p.m. 

I CAN only now go on with my letter. I really seem 
to be more sought after since my Variations were 
published; and my room has been full of singers, 
amateurs, artists, painters and others. You must 
put down the enthusiastic style of my letter to that 

My dear mother, I wish I could look into your eyes 
to see whether I might tell you what splendid firm 
resolves were made and registered after the receipt of 
your letters. If the life of Man is indeed a maze, one 
does now and then come upon the statue of a god. 
Unfortunately I have not given anybody the slightest 
encouragement to keep up the correspondence. For- 
give me, but I hate everything that does not proceed 
from an inward impulse, and how shall I sit down and 
write when I am not in the mood ? 

Forgive me, you too, dearest mother ! I am just 
now looking at your picture ; there is something sad 
about it. Were you perhaps at that moment thinking 
of 

Your 

ROBERT. 



1 54 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic ; the last day of the year, 1831. 

MY dear, darling Mother, 

I am writing on the last day of the year the last, 
how full of meaning is the word ! . . . Think it well 
over, and remember that I am your last one. 

Accept my hasty but best wishes for the year that 
is to be born to-morrow. When it strikes twelve be 
certain that I am thinking of you, and have a vivid 
recollection of a tea-party on New Year's Eve at Aunt 
Weber's. 

My holidays were so quiet that I hardly heard a 
sound or spoke a word. I sank into a kind of stupor, 
which has seized me occasionally of late years, and 
forthwith attacked a gigantic work which requires all 
my energies ; and I cannot tell you how fresh, proud, 
and well I feel at this moment. God grant that my 
gigantic work may remain one, I am going to dedicate 
it to Moscheles in London. Do you know the address 
of his brother at Prague ? I should be very glad to 
have it. 

The "Papillons," dedicated to my sisters-in-law, will 
appear shortly. Your name, my dear mother, shall 
not grace a Concerto or Rondo, but a sweet, bright, 
sacred Song, Do you like the idea ? 

Now, good-bye. Best love to everybody. I must 
be very industrious for a week. 

Your 

ROBERT. 



TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 155 

To FRIEDRICH WIECK, FRANKFORT.* 

Leipsic, Jan. nth, 1832. 

I MIGHT easily begin this letter with " etc., etc," my 
honoured friend and master, for I have been writing 
to you almost every hour, in spirit I mean. Now at 
last I sit down with the firm resolution, not to put down 
the pen until I have finished my letter. First of all 
let me congratulate you on Clara's success. It is 
certainly true that if the world forgets very soon, yet 
it does not often overlook anything extraordinary, 
though I often compare it to a herd of cattle which 
is startled for a moment by the lightning and then 
calmly goes on feeding. Such flashes were Schubert, 
Paganini, and Chopin, and now Clara will be another. 
You cannot think how I long to be back again with 
her and all of you. I always ought to live with my 
superiors, or my equals, or with people incapable 
of passing an opinion upon me. I easily get proud 
and cynical. I shall never get on with Dorn ; he 
wants to persuade me that music is nothing but fugues. 
Good Heavens, how different people are ! But I cer- 
tainly feel that theoretical studies have had a good in- 
fluence upon me. Formerly I wrote down everything 
on the impulse of the moment, but now I follow the 
course of my ideas more, and sometimes stop short 
and look round to see where I am. I daresay you 
have had similar twilight moments in your life ; some, 

1 From the letter-book. 



1 56 SCHUMANN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

like Mozart, never experience them, others struggle 
through them like Hummel ; some are always in that 
state, like Schubert, and others laugh at it like 
Beethoven of course, this is merely an opinion. 

But how are you ? Please do not be alarmed if 
this letter does not proceed in a very logical way, for 
I have so much to tell you that I hardly know where 
to begin. Well, here goes : 

Chopin's Op. I 1 (I firmly believe that it Is Op. 10) 
is in my hands. A lady would say that it was very 
pretty, very piquant, almost like Moscheles. But I 
think you will let Clara study it, for it is full of in- 
spiration, and not difficult. But I modestly maintain 
that there are two years and about twenty composi- 
tions between Op. I and Op, 2, 2 

Jan. 1 2th. 

KNORR disturbed me yesterday. Who knows how 
long the preceding pages might have remained in my 
desk as an everlasting fragment, if the enclosure to 
Madame Wieck did not remind me to send it off. 

K played Chopin's Variations the other day, as 
you know. His performance was neither good nor 
bad, neither artistic nor commonplace, neither great 
nor small he merely played Chopin's Variations, 
That is why they did not please very much; and 
my neighbour at the concert whispered to me ; 

3 Rondeau on Don Giovanni. 
" Variations on La ci darem. 



TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 157 

"This composition seems a miserable affair/' and I 
only nodded, for, my dear sir, if one were to argue 
about such things with every idiot one meets, one 
would be as great an idiot oneself. Dorn, who was 
standing next to me, was delighted with my neigh- 
bour's opinion, and said to me afterwards : " Well, I 
cannot see either that the Variations show anything 
more than the influence of Herz." But there again I 
never answered a syllable, unless it was by a look, for 
the next day Dorn asked me : " Have I offended you ? 
I understand these things quite as well as you do," etc. 
The next item in the concert was a Psalm by Romberg. 
The fugue began; I nudged Dorn and called his 
attention to the behaviour of the audience. Everybody 
%vas talking and coughing. He understood me, and 
was silent. 

Where have I got to ? Excuse me, my honoured 
master. I have got so much to tell you, that I shall 
perhaps forget what is most important. But if you 
will only answer this letter by a few lines, you may de- 
pend upon a long letter from me with news about the 
cholera, the Poles, the Herzites, and Beethovenites, 
and about yourself and Clara (to whom I send 
thousands of messages), in fact, about everybody and 
everything. 

Febr. ist 

I HAVE opened my letter again, as the Variations will 
only be sent off on Wednesday, and besides, they 
must have a certificate of health, which they certainly 
require. 



1 58 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

DEAR honoured Clara, 

I could hardly suppress a slight smile yesterday, on 
reading in the Didaskalia " Variations by Herz, 
played by Fraulein Clara Wieck." Forgive me, my 
dear young lady, but indeed, there is one form of 
address, nicer than any other, namely, none at all 
Who would say " Mr. Paganini" or " Mr. Goethe" ? I 
know you have a thoughtful mind, and understand 
your old moonstruck maker of charades. So let me 
say ; Dear Clara ! I often think of you, not like a 
brother of his sister, or merely In friendship,, but 
rather like a pilgrim thinking of a distant shrine. 
During your absence I have been in Arabia, collecting 
fairy-tales for your benefit, namely, six new stories of 
men and their doubles, a hundred and one charades, 
eight amusing riddles, and then some awfully fine 
brigand stories, and the tale of the white spirit Oh, 
how it makes my flesh creep ! Alwin 1 has grown into 
a very nice boy, and his new blue coat and a leather 
cap like mine, suit him uncommonly well There 
is nothing wonderful to be said about Gustav, except 
that he has grown to such an extent, that you will 
be quite surprised ... Clemens is the quaintest, 
sweetest, most obstinate fellow. He chatters like 
anything, and has got a very sonorous voice. He has 
also grown a good deal ; but as to Alwin, his violin 
is running away with him. As regards your cousin 
Pfund, I am sure there is not a man In L., excepting 

1 Alwin, Gustav, and Clemens were Clara's brothers. 



TO HIS FAMILY. 159 

myself, who longs to be in Frankfort as much as he 
does. Have you been composing at all ? And if so, 
what ? I sometimes hear music in my dreams that 
is, when you are composing. With Dora. I have got 
as far as three-part fugue, and have besides finished a 
Sonata in B minor, and a set of " Papillons." The 
latter will appear in a fortnight in print, I mean. 
Dorn is giving a concert in three weeks. At the 
concert for the Poles, 300 people had to go away, it 
was so full. The weather is glorious to-day. How 
do the apples taste in Frankfort ? And how are you 
getting on with the high F in Chopin's Variations ? 
My paper is at an end. Everything is at an end, 
except friendship, 

in which I shall ever remain 

Fraulein C. W.'s 

warmest admirer, 

R. SCHUMANN. 



Leipsic, Apr. i/th, 1832. 

DEAR Mother, 

Dear Therese, Rosalie, and Emily, 

Dear Edward, Carl, and Julius, 

The weather Is so delightfully balmy to-day, that the 
only thing I can wish for is a car made of roses, 
drawn by an army of butterflies, harnessed with gold 
and silver threads, and flying with it towards home. 
Then I would say to them : Bear my " Papillons n to 
Therese, Rosalie, and Emily, and flutter round them 
as gaily as you like ; tell my dear old mother about 



160 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



my dreams and musings, and explain my silence, 
which is so much mute eloquence. Tell her also that 
I shall send her a nice long letter by a carrier pigeon, 
and though it won't excuse my silence, still, it will 
break through it, like a rainbow shining through 
crystal prisms, or through the river. Tell my good 
brothers that I think of them affectionately, and hope 
that their lives may be as easy as your flight, and 
have as deep a meaning. Tell them all, that you 
found me among peaceful meadows and quiet dales, 
and that you will soon accompany me on my home- 
ward journey, at quiet Easter-tide, or blossoming 
Pentecost Then tell them ail to read the last scene 
in Jean Paul's " Flegeljahre " as soon as possible, 
because the " Papillons " are intended as a musical re* 
presentation of that masquerade j and then ask them 
if they can find anything there reflecting Wina's 
angelic love, Walt's poetical nature, or Vult's spark- 
ling intellect Tell them all this, and a great deal 
more besides. Fly away then, winged messengers, 
and soon return with one word of love from mother, 

brothers, and sisters, to 

Your 

ROBERT. 

To L, RELLSTAB, BERLIN/ 

Leipsic, Apr. igth, 1832. 

KINDLY accept my most sincere thanks for the 

friendly, kind-hearted criticism of the Abegg Varia- 

1 From the letter-book 



TO L. RELLSTAB. 161 



tions," which hardly deserve higher praise. Not so 
much for the sake of the Editor of the Iris, as 
because I consider you a poet and a kindred spirit 
with Jean Paul, I am now going to add a few words 
about the origin of the " Papillons," as the thread 
which connects them is a very slender one indeed. 
You may remember the last scenes in the " Flegel- 
jahre/ 3 with the " Larventanz," "Walt," "Vult," 
"Masks/ 3 "Wina," " Vult's Dances," "The Exchange 
of Masks/' "Confessions," "Anger," "Discoveries," 
the hurrying away, the concluding scene, and the de- 
parting brother. I often turned to the last page, for 
the end seemed like a fresh beginning, and almost 
unconsciously I found myself at the piano, and thus 
one " Papillon " after the other came into existence. 
I trust you may consider their origin an apology for 
the whole composition, as the separate numbers often 
require explaining. 

Hoping that the Iris may never lose that pithi- 
ness and freshness which runs through every page,, 
and that you may continue to suppress everything 
unwholesome and sickly, I will now close this letter, 
which is my first approach to a great and honoured 
person. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

Do me the favour to remember me most kindly to 
Herr Wilhelm Haring, 1 whom I found a pleasant com- 
panion in a trip on the Rhine, and who told me many 
interesting things about you. 

1 Wilibald Alexis. 
M 



162 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

To HEINRICH DORN. X 

LeipsiCj Apr. z$th, 1832. 

HONOURED Heir Director, 

What can have induced you to break with me so 
suddenly ? I suppose I begged so often for indulgence 
and forgiveness, that you got sick of it. But I could 
not have believed that my guide would have deserted 
me so close to the goal ; and only now, having assisted 
two of my friends as far as syncopations, do I 
appreciate your thorough and certain method jqf 
teaching ..... 

Do not imagine that I have been lazy, or come to a 
standstill, since you parted from me. But my whole 
nature seems to rebel against any instigation from the 
outer world, and I feel as if my ideas ought to come 
to me quite independently, to be then worked out and 
put in the proper place. So I have been going quietly 
on where we left off (after Marpurg), but I confess I 
do not give up ail hopes of some day again studying 
the theory of canon with you, and I quite see the in- 
trinsic usefulness of theoretical studies, as everything 
wrong and false only comes from exaggeration or 
misapplication. I missed your help very much in 
arranging Paganini's Caprices for the piano, as the 
basses were often doubtful ; but I managed to get on 
by keeping everything very simple. Otherwise, I have 
finished six " Intermezzi " with " Alternatives/' and a 
Prelude concluding with a fugue on three subjects 
s From the letter-book. 



TO HIS FAMILY. 163 

(think of that) in the old style, which I should like to 
show you. But now, if I ask myself why I have 

written this letter, I must answer, " for my own sake." 
Is not this egotistical ? 

But please forgive and excuse 

Your 

FAITHFUL PUPIL. 



To HIS FAMILY, 

Leipskj Apr. 28th, 1832, 

DEAR Family, 

If you have not already given away the two copies I 
sent you, please send one to Madame Bauer and one to 
Amalie Scheibe. 

I feel very well ; I arn very industrious, and have 
almost quite given up smoking cigars and drinking 
beer. So now I shall do. 

The next things to appear will be, " Intermezzi per 
il Pfte., dedicati W. della Luhe," published by Hof- 
meister. Then, " Exercice fantastique," dedicated to 
Clara Wieck. Here is an extract from Rellstab's 
Iris, which will interest you ; * 

" The theme seems to us somewhat laboured, and 
yet monotonous, as the same progression is continually 
repeated in a similar way, in the first part, and again 
In an insignificant and unvarying inversion in the 
second part/' &c, 

1 The criticism on Op. i. 



1 64 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

Let me tell you by way of consoling you, that this 
does not affect me much, as the theme was not my 
own, and could not be harmonized differently or more 
simply. Then : 

" As to the variations, they are the work of a skilful 
pianist, and form quite as grateful and brilliant a 
bravura-piece as many by Czerny, Herz, etc., and con- 
sequently they deserve to be equally appreciated'' 

Then : 

" 1 should be glad if I had any influence on the 
doubtless very musical lady to whom this work is 
dedicated. If so I should at once give the talented 
composer the most complicated problems, to be solved 
by such a musical name " [Abegg]. 

Otherwise, the criticism contains no blame, which 
is a good thing, for Rellstab is the most cutting and 
dreaded of them all. When I sent him the " Papil- 
lons," I wrote him a polite note, and received an 
equally polite answer. I thank mother and Emily 
most heartily for their letters. The servant is waiting, 
and I must end. 

I am nearly always in a good humour now, thanks 
to Spring, the child of blossoms. But February and 
March are fatal months, during which I have been 
dull and depressed all my life. Hence my utterly 
inexcusable silence. My consolers are Industry and 
Confidence. If life weighs us down to-day like lead, 
to-morrow we shall rise above it, like a butterfly over 
the flowers. 

Good-bye ! Write soon. I am very poor, and am 



TO HIS MOTHER. 165 

looking forward to the meeting we are to arrange 
one of these days in Altenburg. What is Therese 
doing ? 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, May 8th, 1832. 
BELOVED Mother, 

I have just been reading your last three letters 
(among them two dated January), so as faithfully to 
answer anything which may have been forgotten, I 
should like to send you a few extracts from my diary, 
both to give you a correct idea of my life and mode 
of thought, and as an excuse for myself, but I find 
that this very month is uncommonly barren of incident 
" The artist must always keep the balance even with 
ihe outer world, else he will perish/' That is what 
I did at first, but perhaps it made me too much 
inclined to retire within myself, while travelling and 
lively surroundings had made me more observant of the 
objects around me. As you know, your son is equally 
exaggerated in his ideas of right and of wrong, so this 
self-examination (it sometimes went as far as analysis 
of motives), often degenerated into hypochondria, which 
prevented my seeing my future in its true light, and 
was in itself very disturbing and depressing. Then, 
although Art with all its objects and aims, which 
never stand still, has an immense attraction for me, 
yet I was often vain enough to think that I did not 



1 66 SCHUAf ANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

exert myself enough for the other and more practical 
side of life. I examined myself and my past life more 
thoroughly, and endeavoured to throw some light on 
my proposed destination, and on my passive and 
active work, without coming to any definite decision. 
And just as all that is most beautiful and delightful 
only produces indifference and disgust when enjoyed 
to excess or at the wrong time, so it was that I soon 
found out that only sensible, honest, and persevering 
hard work has any effect on one's progress, and pre- 
serves the charm of Art, especially in Music, which is 
at first so exciting, and very soon palls. Then, I have 
for some time been dissatisfied with my social life. 
Wieck, who was the only person I cared to associate 
with, because we were mutually interested in one 
another, had gone to Paris ; Liihe certainly came 
every day, but his conventional opinions, clever as 
they are, kept me from becoming more intimate with 
him ; Moritz Semmel, whom I respect most highly 
for his clear-sightedness, strong will, and love of work, 
was the only one I found pretty satisfactory as long 
as I was looking at the bright side of life, but our 
paths in life were so diametrically opposed, that we 
were a good deal separated, which seems to me all the 
more inexplicable, as one of us could have supplied 
what was wanting in the other. Then my life became 
more and more lonely, and at times I was subject to 
a loss of tone, only equalled by the hatred / have 
always had for any kind of inactivity. 

Then two of my compositions were published. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 167 

Wieck was away, and his opinion I value very highly 
in many respects, as he is rarely one-sided ; Dorn, my 
theoretical master, had improved my mind immensely, 
and, by steady application, I had succeeded in obtain- 
ing that beautiful clearness which I used so often to 
dream of, but never before possessed. From this 
date my life was quite changed ; I stood alone, and 
almost hesitated to part with my MS, Now it is 
printed, and can be seen and criticized by all the 
world. I have heard some few opinions about it, some 
pitying, some appreciative, some condemning ..... 

In many a sleepless night I have seen my goal 
before me like a distant picture, and, while I was 
writing the " Papillons," I felt clearly that a certain 
independence was striving to assert itself, which is, 
however, mostly condemned by the critics. Now the 
"Papilions" are fluttering about in the beautiful 
spring air, and Spring itself is at our doors, looking at 
me like a child with sky-blue eyes. And I am be- 
ginning to understand my existence the spell is 
broken, and my letter is in your hands. 

Now, my dear mother, you have a sketch of my life 
and mental struggle, the cause of my silence and of 
this letter. How often do I see you in my dreams, 
but always in some threatening or terrible attitude. 
Then I take up your picture and look lovingly at it, 
and you seem to smile. Believe me, I often put off 
writing because I did not want to sadden you by the con- 
stant wavering between my wishes and my resolutions, 
which was a consequence of the above reaction. But 



168 SCHUMANN^ EARLY LETTERS. 

your last letter was so kind and encouraging that it 
would have been a sin to be silent any longer. 

Now, if I were to draw you a picture of my home- 
life, I might say that it is Italian in the morning and 
Dutch in the evening. And so it is. My lodgings 
are respectable, roomy, and comfortable. About 5 
A.M. I jump out of bed like a deer, and keep my 
account-book, diary, and correspondence in capital 
order ; then I alternately study, compose, and read a 
little till ii o'clock, when Liihe regularly appears 
and always sets me a splendid example of order and 
regularity. Then comes dinner, and then I read either 
a French book or the newspaper. I regularly go for 
a walk from 3 to 6 ? generally alone, and towards 
Connewitz, where, of course, it is lovely, and I say to 
you as I do to myself : " One might live in Paradise 
if one would only accept life in all simplicity and 
sobriety, and keep one's wishes within reasonable 
bounds." Then I can often clap my hands with plea- 
sure and confess that true happiness is not to be 
found only in America, When I get home about 
6 o'clock I improvise till nearly 8, then usually go to 
supper with [Kompel] and Wolff, and then come home. 

But as I am always perfectly frank with you, 
my good mother, I don't mind confessing, quite 
unblushingly, that this order of my day had so many 
interruptions and exceptions during February and 
March that they became almost the rule. You your- 
self asked Rascher whether I really drank so much ; I 
believe he took my part, but I should not have done 



TO HIS MOTHER. 169 

so, for there is some truth In it. But as drinking 
Bavarian beer was rather a prosaic habit than a 
poetical passion, it was not so easy to shake it off, for 
it is infinitely easier to cure oneself of a passion than 
of an old habit. But if you ask me whether I have 
cured myself, I firmly answer, "Yes." 

About midday. 
How much do I not owe to Goethe! 

May 5th. 

To-DAY is the anniversary of Napoleon's death ! 
Yesterday I was interrupted by Wieck and Clara, who 
had come straight from Paris. What a lot there was 
to talk about! I will tell you about Goethe in my 
next letter ; this one is too long as it is. 

I must answer your former questions in a hurry. 
I do not live with Liihe ; the address you have got 
is the right one. My relations with Wieck are very 
satisfactory, as I have already told you. I associate 
also with Dorn and Herlosssohn, but most of all 
with my own thoughts and ideas about the future. 
Every one advises me not to go to Hummel at 
Weimar, as they say he is ten years behind the 
times. But I shall go at Michaelmas all the 
same ; first, for the sake of the change, which 
always gives one fresh ideas ; and, secondly, be- 
cause it is good policy, as I must anyhow go to 
Vienna, and the name of "Hummel is still a great 
one there. I do not dream of becoming a " travel- 



I 7 o SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

ling Virtuoso ; " It is a bitter and ungrateful existence. 
If I am Industrious I shall have reached Op. 20 in 
two years. Then my fate will be decided, and I can 
live quite as comfortably in Zwickau as in Paris or 
Vienna. Wieck is most anxious for me to go to Paris, 
but so far I have felt neither inclination nor energy 
for it You say, " Look out for a competent man 
who can judge you correctly ; go to him with confi- 
dence and ask him to be your guide." Ah, dear 
mother, that is just what I have always done, but then 
everything went wrong, and my originality suffered. 
I follow my intellectual Instincts, and though I am 
sure I listen to the opinions of experienced men with 
modesty and diffidence, still I do not blindly accept 
them. My money is safely put out on good security. 
You can easily see that I cannot manage with the 
bare interest, and I am sure I shall want 200 thalers 
a year more for five years, though I am equally sure 
that I shall make the balance even by honorariums, 
etc. If you can assist me now and then, pray do. I 
shall be sure to make up for it later. I no longer give 
a thought to the cholera. 

I can think of nothing more delightful than that I 
might be able to write a book which would be a help 
to my brothers for some years. Perhaps I shall some 
day. I have got the idea, at any rate. 

Well, good-bye, my good mother. As I have been 
so frank with you, be equally so with me. 
--.Lots of love to all. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 171 

Therese has given me a very kind invitation to 
Gera. If nothing prevents me, I shall accept it, and 
then go to Zwickau for a few days. How is this, 
mother, my old craze for travelling has pretty well 

disappeared. 

Good-bye, mind write very soon. Do not be put 
out with Wieck ; he started two days after getting 
your letter. But how could you imagine that I should 
have kept back the letter, when I myself had asked 
you to write it ? 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, May 26th, 1832. 

MY beloved Mother, 

I am writing to you in great haste to let you know 
that I am quite well and in good spirits, and have, 
therefore, enjoyed the spring as I have never done 
before. As you promised me in your last letter to 
write again very soon, I put off thanking you for your 
loving letter and its important enclosure, which 
arrived just in the nick of time. 

I never really meant to go to Gera. But Therese 
wrote so affectionately, or at least it seemed so to me, 
that I could not send her a point blank refusal 
Neither do I think that Edward wants to go. But he 
did say that if he could sell his business he and 
Therese would go and live in the capital for good. 
What do you think of that ? 

You cannot think how dear Rosalie is to me now, 



172 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS, 

and how much I feel parting with her. What are 
beauty and finery compared with unaffected cordiality 
and simplicity ? So mind you love her very dearly, 
my good mother. You will love me all the more for It. 

I have just had a letter from Hummel, who speaks 
very encouragingly about my compositions. 

He says : " I have carefully looked through your two 
last compositions, and am very much pleased with your 
evident talent The only thing that I might say 
about them is that occasionally there is a too sudden 
change of harmony. You also seem to me to give 
way rather too much to your own peculiar originality, 
and I should not like this habit to grow upon you, 
because it would detract from the beauty, freedom, 
and clearness of your compositions, even when well- 
written." He goes on to say : " If you continue to be 
so industrious and steady, I have no doubt but that 
you will entirely accomplish all you are aiming at" 

Rosalie will tell you more. Hummers former 
letters will no doubt interest you, so I will look them 
out and send them to you, 

I am sure Rosalie will gladly give you a truthful 
account of my doings in other respects, telling you 
how much interested Wieck is in me, that he is quite 
in love with my " Papillons," that Clara plays them 
most delightfully, etc. Rosalie will also tell you my 
reasons for rather going to Vienna than to Weimar. 
In any case I shall spend a few days at Zwickau and 
Schneeberg before starting. 

Answer me soon, my dear mother, and give my best 



TO FRIED RICH WIECK. 173 

love to Emily and Julius. I often love to think of 
you. Your fondly loving 

ROBERT. 

To FRIEDRICH WIECK, LEiPSic. 1 

Leipsic, June 3rd ? 1832. 
MOST honoured Friend, 

Many thanks for your trial of my patience ; please to 
give the rest of it to Johann. I enclose the names of 
my latest compositions. You would oblige me infi- 
nitely if you would talk the matter over with Hof- 
meister ; I am not good at that sort of thing, and am 
too shy to make offers. I do not think that four 
thalers a sheet would be too much for the " Caprices," 
and a louis d'or for the " Intermezzi " and " Fan- 
dango ;" then some complimentary copies of the 
pieces, perhaps eight or ten of each. If Hofmeister 
accepts these conditions, I wish he would put a notice 
In tibtZeitungi because that would compel me to finish 
my work quickly. I compose easily and rapidly ? but in 
working it out I am always trying all sorts of experi- 
ments, which almost make me despair. I should be 
very glad if all the pieces could appear at short 
intervals, and in a certain order. By the day after to- 
morrow, I hope to be quite finished with " Paganini," 
preface and all. I came to see you yesterday, but 
found you out Every day that I don't see you or 
Clara is a blank in my Leipsic life. 

Yours faithfully, 

R. S 

1 From the letter-book. 



174 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

To FRIEDRICH WIECK, LEIPSIC." 

Lelpsic, June 8th, 1832. 

GIVE the " Caprices " a favourable reception. They 
were a delicious but rather herculean work. Please take 
a pencil, sit down next to Clara, and mark whatever 
strikes you. I am keeping back the original on pur- 
pose. The preface will be finished in about three 
days. I have got such a quantity of materials for it, 
that I cannot be slow and careful enough about 
making my choice. 

Kindest regards. 

Six hours ago I began my twenty-third year. In 
reality it is only my second. 

To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, June I4th, 1832. 
MY beloved Mother, 
I am sure Rosalie has been telling tales out of school, 

because you have chosen the very things that I wished 
for so much, and wanted so badly. The pocket-hand- 
kerchief looks splendid, especially with my blue coat 
Accept my best thanks for your letter, and such 
useful and beautiful presents. Sending coin was a 
splendid idea, and better than a dozen sentimental 
birthday poems or moral effusions. The lateness of 
the hour prevented my answering your letter the 
very moment I got it. After a walk with Edward, 

1 From the letter-book. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 175 

Wieck, and Clara, we sat together till eleven o'clock 
at night over a bottle of Laubenheimer, and were all 
thoroughly happy in our hearts* 

In the afternoon I had been alone to Zweynaundorf, 
mind and heart full of happiness and bright prospects 
for the future. With what different thoughts I visited 
the same place three years ago ! How undecided and 
uncertain I was in my manner of thinking. How 
much firmer and more settled I seem to be this 
year; my imagination and consciousness beautifully 
balanced, and my thoughts and feelings quite insepa- 
rable from one another. When I came home in the 
evening and found your letters I was very happy, and 
prayed my guardian angel to continue to make me a 
pleasure to you. Edward's affair, and the death, 
which I felt deeply for Rosalie's sake, certainly often 
made me anxious ; but I did my best to quiet Edward, 
and comfort him with the hope of better times, when 
the recollection of past unhappiness is so very consol- 
ing. But Edward was so quiet and resigned, so 
industrious and steady, even after several plans had 
come to nothing, that I did not despair. But how 
can I better describe Edward's joy when I had pro- 
cured the money under easy and favourable conditions, 
than by telling you that I saw his weary eyes brighten 
with fresh life, and fill with hope and radiance. That 
was a moment never to be forgotten. ..... 

I did intend writing you a very long letter, but to- 
day I really must remember Julius, Rosalie, and 
Emily, who think of me so much and write so often. 



176 SCHLWANX'S EARLY LETTERS. 

My letters to them will tell you more about the happy 
life I am leading* 

I enclose a letter from Hummel ; it is the first I can 
lay my hands on, but is the latest in date. 

Everybody tells me that my " Papillons " are pretty 
universally popular. I will tell you more about this, 
and enclose a favourable criticism in my letter to 
Julius. Clara and Wieck are very fond of me ; Ed- 
ward liked them very much and they him. 

Edward will have told you of the singular accident 
I have met \vith. 1 This is why I am going to Dresden 
next Monday with Wieck. Although I go partly by 
the advice of rny doctor, and partly for the sake of the 
change, I shall still have to work a good deal. In 
any case I shall write from there. 

Accept my fondest affection and reverence. 

R. 

TO JULIUS SCHUMANN. 2 

LeipsiCj July i8th, 1832. 
DEAR Brother, 

You know how much I dislike writing, though I often 
think of you so affectionately. But all my thoughts 
and actions are so absorbed by Art, that I am nearly 
forgetting German, especially how to make the letters 
of the alphabet If I could only tell you everything 
in music, how I should astonish the world by my 

1 Injury to the first finger of his right hand. 

2 From his letter-book. 



TO JULIUS SCHUMANN 177 

thoughts ; though I seem to have done that as it is, 
contrary to my expectations, as you may see from the 

enclosed, 1 which I have read through about ten times, 
to find out a misprint in the name. I cannot tell you 
how bravely I am making way, and how happily 
and industriously I work at my one object in life. 
The world lies so bright before me, and outward 
circumstances have such a beneficial influence upon 
me, that I have to pray my guardian angel not to make 
me too ambitious, and to preserve in me the childlike 
simplicity of a true artist And I feel how much this 
will delight all your hearts, for I know what an 
interest you always take in me, in spite of my long 
silence, which was really only a pause, before starting 
again more vigorously. 

You are perhaps supposing me still in Dresden. 
Have been back for a fortnight, after a very harmo- 
nious time there. But the weather was so unfavour- 
able that it soon drove me away again. As a rule I 
do not care about men who have been much in print ; 
still I was often in the company of Reissiger and 
Kragen (an excellent composer). Herr K. also came 
to see me, but did not find me chez mcL 

The little Italian village fascinated me like an old, 
old memory. Mother will tell you why. Oh, that 
autumn could always be like May, only more mature 
and beautiful. 

I hear there has been a fire at Schneeberg. Please 
tell me all about it. During the whole of this letter, 
i A yer y favourable Vienna criticism of the Papillons. 

N 



178 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

my " Exercice Fantastique " has been running In my 
head to such an extent that I had better conclude, 
lest I should be writing music unawares. The preface 
which I wrote as an Introduction to " Paganini's 
Caprices " will be published by Hofmeister in French 
as well as German, and that will give them a great 
air of importance. You will have read all about 
Clara. We are like brother and sister. Best love to 
Emily and all your children. I always imagine Emily 

stepping airily along in a green hat and veil 

Please send me back Hummel's letter, and also 1,000 
thalers, I am very poor, yet do not want much. Tell 



me something about that darling Rosalie. 



R. 



To BACCALAUREUS KUNTZSCH/ ZWICKAU. 

Leipsic, July 27th, 1832. 

YOU cannot imagine with what affection I often think of 
you, my most honoured friend and master. You were 
the only one who recognized my predominating talent 
for music, and pointed betimes to the path where my 
good angel was bound to lead me sooner or later. 
The only return I can make you for the encourage- 
ment and good advice you gave me as a boy, is to ask 
you to allow me to dedicate a composition to you, in 
the hope that you will grant my request. 

1 The Baccalaureus Kuntzsch was Schumann's early pianoforte 
teacher at the Zwickau Lyceum, and the two were attached to 
one another till Kuntzsch's death in 1854. Schumann dedicated 
to him the studies for the pedal-piano (Op. 56) in 1846. TR. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 179 

You will find the Vienna criticism enclosed, my ho- 
noured friend. This praise is quite too delightful and 

undeserved. Would you kindly show it to my rela- 
tions ? It will also interest my friend Erthel. 

A few months ago I finished my theoretical course 
with Dorn, having got as far as canons, which I have 

been studying by myself after Marpurg, who is a 
capital theorist. Otherwise Sebastian Bach's " Wohl- 

temperirtes Clavier" is my grammar, and is certainly 
the best I have taken the fugues one by one, and 

dissected them down to their minutest parts. The 
advantage of this is great, and seems to have a 
strengthening moral effect upon one's whole system ; 
for Bach was a thorough man, all over, there is 
nothing sickly or stunted about him, and his works 
seem written for eternity, Xow I must learn to read 
scores and study instrumentation. Do you happen to 
have any oldish scores, say of old Italian" church 
music? I will write to you later about my plan, 
should you think fit to answer these lines. 

Remember me very kindly to my old patrons 
Erthel and Von Schlegel, and kindly accept the assu- 
rance of my esteem and friendship. 

Yours faithfully, 

R. S. 

To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, Aug. gth t 1832. 
MY dear Mother, 

My whole house has been turned Into a doctor's shop. 



i So SCHUMAWS EARLY LETTERS. 

I really got quite uneasy about my hand, but carefully 
avoided asking a surgeon, because I was so afraid he 
would say the damage was Irretrievable* I had begun 
to make all sorts of plans for the future, had almost 
resolved to study theology (not jurisprudence), and 
peopled an imaginary parsonage with real people, 
yourself and others. At last I went to Professor 
Kiihl, and asked him to tell me on his honour whether 
my hand would get well. After shaking his head a 
good deal, he said, "Yes, but not for some time, not 
for about six months." When I once heard the word 
a weight was taken off my heart, and I readily pro- 
mised to do all he required. It was quite enough, 
namely, to take Thierbader^ let Schurig de- 
scribe them to you to bathe my hand in warm 
brandy-and-water all day long, to put on a herb 
poultice at night, and to play the piano as little as 
possible. The remedies are not exactly pleasant 
ones, and I very much fear that some of the nature 
of the ox may pass into mine ; but on the whole they 
appear to be very beneficial And I feel so much 
strength and spirit in every limb, that I really fee! 
inclined to give some one a good thrashing ! Pardon 
this nonsense, my dear mother ! I need not say that a 
journey to Zwickau is not to be thought of under the 
circumstances. But if you like to come and pay your 

1 To bathe the affected part in the blood of a fresh-killed ox> 
or to envelop the body entirely in the skin of the animal. This 
treatment was greatly recommended by the ancients, and seems 
to have come into use again early in this century.- TR, 



TO HIS MOTHER, 181 

child a visit, see if you are not received with open 
arms ! You cannot stay with me, as Edward knows. 
But why not at the Hotel? You can get splendid 

rooms there by the month very cheaply. And it really 
would be the most comfortable- I will manage every- 
thing for you. Does not Emily feel Inclined to come, 
or to accompany you ? I quite long to see her again. 
My journey to Vienna is put off for the present, 
for the same reasons. When my hand is all right I 
shall go, after having spent some time with you. 
One ought not to go to Dresden till one has made 
one's reputation and name, as it Is impossible to do 
so there. Reissiger does not attract me. Our paths 
are so different I still consider that music is the 
ideal language of the soul ; but some think It is only 
meant to tickle the ear, others treat it like a sum in 
arithmetic, and act accordingly* You ate quite right 
in saying : " Every man must work for the universal 
good and benefit of mankind " but not in a con- 

o 

ventional way, say L By climbing you get to the 

top of the ladder. I don't even wish all men to 
understand me. 

I have certainly not forgotten my promise about 
the dedication. My latest pieces, published by Hof- 
meister, did not seem appropriate, as they were mostly 
exercises, etc. I shall have to stick to the songs. 

Allow me to call your attention to the last 

numbers of the Comet, which contain some " Remi- 
niscences of Clara Wieck's Concerts " from my pen. 
Perhaps you will recognize the style. 



i S3 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

Please take care of all the old music in my room. 
I shall be glad of it by-and-by. To-morrow l I shall 
have a serious contemplation of the past. I always 
think of my father with affection and veneration. 

My fondest love to you, and all the others. 

R. 

To TOBIAS HASLINGER, VIENNA." 

Aug. 1 3th, 1832. 

THE countenance of your firm, and the idea of getting 
known in different places is such a great temptation 
to a young composer like myself, that I am induced 
to send you the accompanying " Phantasieiibung " 
for you to look over at your leisure, and if it should 
meet with your approval to offer it to you for publi- 
cation. I should hardly venture to do so did I not 
hope that, through the kindly criticism in your musical 
circular I may have become known to you, whose 
name is so intimately connected with every branch 
of art* 

The piece might, perhaps, form a sequel to Cramer's 
and Kessler's studies, and in that case I could let you 
have a second study in double notes, written much in 
the same style, but not so difficult It has yet to 
be copied. The enclosed has been carefully revised 
by me, and is quite correct My first condition is 
the question, whether the piece could appear about 
the 2Oth of December next ? You will, I hope, excuse 

1 August loth. Day of his fathers death. 

2 From the letter-book. 



TO TOBIAS HASUNGER. 183 

my naming a particular time in this way, but I owe 
a certain duty to my honoured master, whose birthday 

is about that date. Then I should ask you to let 
me have twelve copies gratis, including one dedication 

copy on fine paper, and also to insert a previous 
notice in the Leipsic Musikalische Zeitung, for which 
I can arrange at once if you like. As regards pay- 
ment, Messrs. Hofmelster and Probst paid me six 
thalers a sheet But as I have decided to come and 
live at Vienna for some time next spring, we could 
arrange all that when we meet I would willingly 
wait for payment till the sale of a certain number of 
copies has compensated you to some extent for your 
trouble and expense. I shall hope for a favourable 
decision as to the above conditions, and for a speedy 
answer to say whether you agree with them. In case 
you should refuse altogether, which I trust you will 
not do, I would ask you to return the MS. 

If you should happen to know the writer of the 
criticism in No. 76, please convey to him the as- 
surances of my esteem and friendship. I will respond 
to so much pleasant encouragement by working with 
fresh industry, steadiness and order. I beg you will 
accept my good wishes for all your admirable under- 
takings (I am deeply interested in the propagation of 
Bach's music), and with the assurance of my highest 
esteem, and kindest regards, 
I remain^ 

Yours very faithfully, 

ROB. SCHUMANN. 



1 84 SCHC/JfANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

TO MUSIKDIRECTOR G. W. MULLER. 1 

Leipsic, Nov. 2nd, 1832. 

I TAKE the liberty of writing to ask you, whether 
you would feel Inclined to give me lessons in instru- 
mentation, and assist me in revising a symphony- 
movement of my own, shortly to be performed in 
Altenburg. I cannot tell you how much obliged I 
should be to you if you would do this, as I have been 
working quite in a way of my own, without any 
sort of guidance, and am also not at all confident of 
my ability for symphonies. 

I leave every other condition to your kind decision, 
I further beg of you to let me know as soon as 
possible, when I should find you at home, to talk the 
matter over, and settle when we can begin. 

Yours very faithfully, 

R. S. 

To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsiq Nov. 6th, 1832. 
2 a.m. sharp. 

MY beloved Mother, 

What a lot of good news I have got to tell you to-day ! 
The first thing is, that we shall certainly meet within 
a fortnight ; I have been thinking about it all night, 
and at last resolved to get up to write and work. My 

1 From the letter-book. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 185 

second piece of news is, that Clara Wieck is going to 
give a concert in your town, and my third, that a 
symphony-movement of mine is to be played at 
it. You really must accept all this as an apology 

for my long silence. I have been working incessantly 
for a fortnight, and begin to be quite anxious and 
doubtful whether I shall have finished in time, I 
have given up my lodging for two months (If you will 
have me for so long), have let my piano to Liihe for 
that time, in short, everything is ready for a start 
except the symphony. One thing worries me. I still 
owe about fifty thalers, with small prospect of paying 
them. If you or my brothers could spare me that 
amount you would be doing me a great service, and 
please let me have an answer very soon. As to my 
hand, the doctor keeps consoling me, but I ant quite 
resigned, and believe it to be incurable. At Zwickau I 
shall take up the violoncello again (for which one 
only wants the left hand), as it will be always very 
useful in orchestral compositions. Then the right 
hand will be resting, and for me rest is the best 
doctor. What I said about theology was only an 
idea, written down without consideration, although I 
was in such bad spirits that it was not without serious 
meaning. I no longer think of it Otherwise 1 am 
very steady, and work quietly and deliberately, so 
never fear for the future. How I am looking forward 
to seeing you, my own dearest mother ! One thing 
more. If I should be rather silent at times, do not 
think me discontented or melancholy. When I am 



186 SCHUMANN*S EARLY LETTERS. 

thoroughly absorbed In a book, an idea, or a person, 
I talk very little. I have been much cheered and 
encouraged lately in various quarters. Clara will give 
you much to think about. Wieck feels quite sure (as 
I do too) that Edward will not refuse him his piano. 
Ask him and Therese beforehand, in my name and 
Wieck's. I am under great obligations to him. 

Good-bye, dear good mother. With best love and 
in hopes of a happy meeting, 

Your 

ROBERT, 



To RELLSTAB, BERLIN.* 

Zwickau, Dec. 7th, 1832. 

HONOURED Sir, 

I recollect that Leipsic was at first very much sur- 
prised at your criticism of the " Papillons," because 
nobody understood them, while I sat quiet and un- 
observed in a corner, knowing perfectly well the hidden 
meaning of your remarks. What a debt of gratitude 
I owe you for them ! 

The only thing that saddened me was the " beauti- 
ful corpse. 51 Is that really a description of my song ? 
And why should there not be an opera without words ? 
And what was ever created, unless by an objective 
genius, whether the author knew it or not ? 

Pardon me, I don't mean this for a counter-criti- 

1 From his letter-book. 



TO RELLSTAB. 187 



cism, and besides, the conclusion made me feel so glad 
and thankful, that even your challenge after the first 
part of the last movement did not affect me much. 
But I accept, and my answer is contained in the en- 
closed " Pagan iniana." Please give my work your 
kind consideration, and grant me your powerful help. 
Though I am only pleading for an adopted child, yet 
I have reared it with care and pleasure, and not with- 
out some selfish interest either 3 for it is to be a test for 
the critics of what I can do in theory. Seriously, the 
work was delightful, but not altogether easy, as the 
harmonies are often vague and ambiguous, (and even 
incorrect), and many of the caprices are by no means 
perfect in form and symmetry. When one first plays 
through this sort of movement for a single instrument, 
one feels as if one were in a stuffy room, but after- 
wards, when one has grasped the fine spiritual threads 
running through it, everything grows light and beauti- 
ful, and the strange genius is made clear. But I would 
rather write six of my own, than again arrange three 
of anybody else's. 

I should be extremely obliged to you, if you would 
allow a critical notice of my work to appear in your 
Iris. I will not wince if it should fall like a thunder- 
bolt 

I hope to come to Berlin in a short time ; I trust you 
will allow me to introduce myself to you. But I shall 
arrive with a symphony tinder my arm. 

My brothers, the booksellers here, are most anxious 
to enter into literary connection with you, and beg 



iSS SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

me to recommend them to your kind consideration for 

the future. 

Yours respectfully and faithfully, 

R. S. 

TO HOFMEISTER IN LEIPSIC 1 

Zwickau, Dec. ijtb, 1832. 

PRAY accept the "Intermezzi" in all kindness, most 
honoured sir ! I have been carefully filing and polish- 
ing them, but more with a view of pleasing the artists 
than the public. Bring out my timid child into the 
sunlight very soon, if you are not too busy. I am well 
on the whole, and am working hard at my symphony 
in my cosy little nursery. Of course, in instrumenting 
the first movement, I often put in yellow instead 
of blue; but I consider this art so difficult that it will 
take long years' study to give one certainty and self- 
control If you could assist me in getting it performed 
in L. this winter, it would encourage me more than 
anything. I fear that does not sound very modest ! 
You have always received me so kindly as a disciple of 
art, that I thought I might venture on this petition. 
Would that I could one day repay you in word and 
deed ! Remember me to the Wiecks. Kind regards 
to yourself, and success to all your undertakings. 

Yours, 

Very faithfully, 

R. S. 
1 From the letter-book. 



TO ROSALIE SCHUMANN. 189 

To ROSALIE SCHUMANN AT ScHNEEBERG, 1 

Zwickau, Jan. gth, 1833. 
MY beloved Rosalie, 

You do not hear from me very often, but I daresay 
you will be all the more pleased with a few words of 

affection and gratitude. I have thought so much of 
you and yours during the last few days, that I often 
felt as if I were amongst you, and could call " Rosalie." 
I was only reminded of the change by the quiet in the 

house, and now and then seeing a careworn face. But 
mother is all right, and as good and kind to me as ever, 

in spite of my late undutiful silence. 

I said something to her yesterday, which I now re- 
peat for your special benefit, namely, that sad feelings 
are very attractive and strengthening to the imagina- 
tion. Try to believe this, and to look into the future 
(which is never really so cloudy as it looks from a 
distance), with that bright and cheerful spirit which 
ought to accompany us through every age, especially 
as you have the advantage over other people, that the 
strong serious element in your character makes you 
neither careless nor indifferent to the present 

Though I preach, I am still your brother, and 
respect and love you more every time I see you. 
I should like to tell you much more ; how deeply I felt 
your thoughtful kindness and attention, ivhen I ivas 
your guest all that time ; how fond I got of your 

1 From the letter-book. 



190 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



brother and excellent mother, and how touched I was 
by your forbearance In small things, and your patience 
In matters of Importance, But I will put all this 
off to a future time when my plans are clearer. 

Meanwhile accept this token of sincere affection, 

from 

Your R. 

To R WiECK. 

Zwickau, Jan. loth, 1833. 

I AM sending a hurried apology if I can manage to 
concoct one. Great concert In Schneeberg. After the 
symphony 1 Thierfelder wrote that I was to remodel the 
first movement entirely, revise all the individual parts 
and the score, and to polish up the other movements. 
I am up to my eyes in work And yet you are sur- 
prised and angry with me ! Seriously, It is easy to 
write to you, but I really do not feel equal yet to 
writing to Clara. Can't you understand that ? 

Many thanks for your kind attention. I got the 
original Iris-critique yesterday, and was very much 
pleased. That sort of thing gives one a fresh impetus, 
and makes one love one's work. 

Your Idea is new, but rather Parisian. I am look- 
Ing forward like a child to Chopin's new things. I 
do not like his publishing so many pieces at once, 
simply because It Is not very wise ; for one's reputation 

1 This must be the Symphony in G minor, which still remains 
In MS. The first movement was first played at a concert given 
by Clara Wieck, at Zwickau, Nov. iSth, 1832. TR. 



TO FR. WIECK. I9 



creeps along with tiny steps like a dwarf, and must 
not be hurried, though of course renown soars on the 
wings of the wind, as in Clara's case. Remember me 
to her, she is so dear and good ; I hope soon to see 

and hear her Mazurka. You are responsible for mak- 
ing Zwickau enthusiastic for once in its life. When 
Clara is mentioned all eyes seem to grow brighter and 
more eloquent. 

I have ensconced myself here, and am keeping very 
quiet in my web. Hence my silence* Though there 
Is little food for the mind here, there is plenty for the 
heart. At the beginning of February I shall appear 
with the symphony under my arm, finished. If you 
could help me to get it played it would be the most 
delightful encouragement 

I was very much amused to hear that the phantom 
Schumann drove with you the other day, although 
mother was quite horrified. But I ask Clara to tell 
me who was this phantom Schumann ? (It makes me 
shudder to write of myself in this way, as of a third 
person.) The symphonic illustrations in Clara's letter 
,are splendid, and caused much amusement at Zwickau, 
especially the naif sentence In parentheses, " Here 
my father helped me." I quite seemed to hear her 
whispering it in my ear. 

Fink's criticism of the " Euryanthe Variations JJ is 
really too crazy. He wants stroking down ; I expect 
one of these days he will have to be stroked, tickled, 
and pinched, etc. 

Please remember me kindly to Hofmeister, whom I 



192 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

have really frightened. For I was simple enough to 
write to him that 1 thought my " Intermezzi " would 
please critics and artists more than the public. Of 
course he wrote back naturally enough, saying, "Your 
remark quite startled rne. As a man of business the 
opinion of the public is all-important to me, that of 
the critics worth nothing/' So I regularly put my foot 
in it with my cosmopolitan ideas. 

My sister-in-law Therese is at Gera ; I will gladly 
give your message to Rosalie personally, as I shall 
see her at Schneeberg In four days, (The concert is 
on the i /th.) My mother and brothers send their kind 
regards to you and Clara. We speak of you so often 
almost every day. 

I shall write a long letter to Clara from Schneeberg. 
I think the Piano-concerto ought to be in C major or 
A minor. 1 I am teaching your Caprices to Antonie 
von Tilly. Madame Blirgermeister Ruppius, who 
once called me a rascal, sends her compliments. 

My kind regards to Madame Wieck and Clara, and 
the same to yourself. How much I owe you ! 

R. SCHUMANN. 



To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, April gih, 1833. 
MY beloved Mother, 
I was much interested to find that among all the 

1 This was actually the key of his Pianoforte-concerto, written 
in 1841. TR. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 193 



qualities assigned to me last night by the Psycho- 
meter, or " mind-gauge Jl (of which more presently) 
there was not one that showed I was a good corre- 
spondent If I were to excuse my silence by telling 
you that during the first week after leaving Zwickau 
I was running aimlessly about, without being able 
to find a comfortable lodging to my taste, I might 
say the same of all the following weeks, which 
were taken up with prosaic domestic arrangements. 
Still, after that time I can find no reason for my 
neglect, and I declare I consider myself, what shall I 
say ? most despicable, after your having treated me 
with such infinite consideration, tenderness, and affec- 
tion, never to have written you a line to express my 
gratitude. How often have I called to mind every 
day passed in Z., repeated all the kind words which I 
only heard from you, and thought of all the burdens 
age has to bear, and which youth should try and lighten 
by sharing them. And yet when I had painted your 
picture in the tenderest colours, I always revolted 
against a cold sheet of letter-paper* and fancied I 
could tell you nothing you did not know before I 
mean rny deep sympathy with your joys and sorrows, 
which I must always have a share in. And now for- 
give me, dearest mother. The spring is shining on us 
so brightly, it seems hardly to realize that the sleeping 
blossom must one day turn into fruit Perhaps my 
letter-writing is also a latent talent, to be developed 
by time, and if you shake your head at this it will 
only strengthen my resolution to do better. 

O 



194 SCHUMANN'S EAJRLY LETTERS. 

Very often what we look for in the distance lies so 
near that we need only stretch out our hand to seize 
it. So it was with my lodging. For eight weary 
days I was rushing about in a kind of frenzy, but 
never thought of the house where I had been going 
in and out for years, 1 mean next door to Riedel's 
(or Rudolph's) garden, where I found two pretty, 
simple little rooms, full of sun and moonlight, not to 
mention the look-out on to green meadows, and (in a 
week's time, I hope) gardens full of flowers. I felt 
quite entitled to them when I took possession, and 
s if I ought only to share them with some blessed 
Jaceful poet . . . . And now, if you keep your pro- 
mise of going for atrip this summer, I am so delighted 
cO think that we shall not have to tire ourselves 
walking through the streets, before we can see the 
moon and stars rise, or look at a brilliant aloe, as 
there is a conservatory close to my window filled with 
shiny green plants, Edward knows exactly where my 
lodging is, or Is at all events acquainted with the 
skittle-alley, which adjoins my Switzerland (minus 
the Alps) in rather a prosaic fashion. 

You can imagine that I am very happy and com- 
fortable under the circumstances ; and if, as I believe, 
outward surroundings have a direct influence on one's 
thoughts and actions, then I really have nothing left 
to wish for, unless it be that the charm of novelty may 
not wear off, like the delicate tints of the butterfly, 
which, but for its colours, would be merely an insig- 
nificant winged insect. Seriously, though it might be 



TO HIS MOTHER. 195 

said that every fresh beauty delights one for the first 
moment. Is criticized in the second, and becomes 
habitual in the third, still it would be of great ad- 
vantage to mankind, if the sentence could be reversed. 
You will guess from the tone of this letter, that some- 
thing must have happened to me, for it seems to be 

calmer and more deliberate than usual 

And really, I have not examined myself so thoroughly 
for years (not even on holidays), as I did last night, 
after having tested the Psychometer I told you about 
The whole thing, an invention of Professor Porfius, is 
so far unexplained, but undoubtedly depends upon the 
magnetic interchange of metals and physical forces ; 
but it is so interesting by its decided and finely- 
drawn character-sketches, that I came away more 
amazed than satisfied. Having been brought into 
magnetic contact with the machine, an iron rod is 
given to you, which the magnet either attracts or 
repels, according to whether you possess this or that 
quality, temper, characteristic, etc., or not My 
character was hit off to a T, although I do not quite 
trust some of the good qualities, I tried in vain for 
the following, which amused me much : flattering, 
impenetrable (like a courtier), bold, decided, heroic, 
boastful, envious, luxurious. My energy and strength 
of mind were also (very rightly) pronounced doubt- 
ful, but absolutely unpleasant epithets, such as 
"covetous," "revengeful/ 5 "cunning/ 1 "dogmatical," did 
not appear at all But, like lightning, the magnet 
darted to " Hypochondria " (not Melancholy), and 



I 9 6 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

to " quiet;' "shy," "ingenious," (not "dexterous," 
curiously enough), a delicate/' "" good-natured/ 5 ^ob- 
stinate/' " genial and original/' and " preponderance 
of sentiment/' I \vas not made out economical 
any more than extravagant (want of means pre- 
vents the latter, I thought to myself). Then came 
u indulgent/' " prudent/ 3 " loving/ 1 " intellectual," 
" modest/' (my confession is anything but that,) " en- 
thusiastic/' " sensitive/' " susceptible " (?), " sagacious/' 
" meditative " (philosophic brain), " noble-minded," 
"sociable," "reason predominating/' (rather a con- 
tradiction, the only one I detected,) rt persevering/* 
and " sincere" Ambition and pride (perhaps virtues 
in a good sense), but more often weaknesses, were 
also excluded. Enough of this. The interest of 
the whole invention has led me on, in spite of my- 
self, to make this digression, but I am sure you will 
not deny the truth and subtlety of the more highly 
developed characteristics. Charlatanism and humbug 
are out of the question in this case. It is very curious, 
but man is far more hurt, when his inborn qualities 
and talents are misunderstood, than when one of his 
virtues is not appreciated. For instance, I would 
never exchange "witty " for "persevering." 

If you come to see me, dear mother, I know two 
golden words, which will suit you admirably, namely^ 
" Indulgent " and {t loving." Bring them to bear upon 
your son ; I have been obstinately silent for long, but 
show that you have forgiven me by a speedy answer. 

More of other matters next time. As you always 



TO CLARA WIECK. 197 

get the Wiener Anzeiger after date I send you the 

conclusion of the very favourable criticism in No. ICL I 
" The importance of the work must be the excuse for 
this unusually long notice. The problem was one of 
endless difficulty, but it was begun with equal affec- 
tion, perseverance, and care, and now it is concluded 
in a way that will give all pianists true pleasure and 
much enjoyment, and ought to make them feel very 
grateful to the composer/' 

My paper is coming to an end. Thousands of 
loving messages to darling Emily, Therese, and my 
brothers, whom I hope to see very soon. 

From your ROBERT. 

Write soon ! 



To CLARA WIECK, LEIPSIC 

Lelpsic 7 May 23^ 1833. 
DEAR Clara, 

Good morning I In your prosaic town you can 
have no idea of what a morning is like in Rudolph's 
garden, when everything, from the birds to myself, Is 
singing, humming, and rejoicing. Why not go to 
Connewitz some such day as this ? And when is It 
to be ? And how wretched those people must be who 
have to drive out ! Or are you going to try your 
strength with the Vienna lady ? * And if so when ? I 

1 Critique of Op. 3, Studies after Paganini's Caprices. 

2 A pianiste named Eder, who was giving a concert at Leipsic 
at that time* 



198 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

was very much charmed with her. Please send me 
an answer to all these questions. 

On such mornings as this, I often indulge in beau- 
tiful thoughts. For instance, I love to think that this 
bright life is to last for the whole of June and July/ 
or that man is a butterfly, and the world the flower 
over which he flutters (too far-fetched !), or that the 
same sun which looks into my room is also shining 
into Becker's at Schneeberg ; or how nice it is, when a 
sunbeam quivers over the piano, as though playing 
with sound, which, after all, is only sounding light. 
Of course everybody has not always got a reason 
ready. But in ail this, do you not recognize a certain 

ROBERT SCHUMANN ? 

Please send me your Variations, including those on 
the Tyrolienne, 



To HIS MOTHER. 

Lelpsic, June 28th ? 1833. 

MY beloved Mother, 

I am inclined to think that a kind of vanity is the 
reason that I have not written for some time. For 
weeks I have been waiting for the appearance of the 
" Intermezzi/' indeed, I give you so little pleasure, that 
I should like to send you a printed composition with 
each letter. But I really dare not be silent any 
longer. 

The very fact of my thinking so often about you, 



TO HIS MOTHER. 199 

and all your anxieties and troubles, sometimes dis- 
turbs me abruptly, in the midst of my happiest and 
brightest Imaginations, although grief Itself Is some- 
times turned Into beauty. And then I often say to 
myself : " Ought you to be so happy, when your 
people at home are perhaps unspeakably depressed, 
with doubts about your future ? " And then again I 
see a sweet youthful figure, whom I can only call 
Emily, with more forgiveness than reproach In her 
eyes, and I can but answer her look by saying : ** Are 
you angry? You are right, but I love you all the 
same." And now, first of all, how Is our good Julius? 
The lovely past months of May and June, when 
every day was like a month of bliss, could not 
possibly make anybody worse. And how are you ? 
I fully appreciate your delicacy in always sending my 
birthday-letter on the day itself. Very many thanks 
for It and . the enclosure. I find more cheerfulness 
and confidence In the letter Itself than In many of your 
preceding ones. Great griefs do not weaken strong 
minds, although I think Providence might make the 
burdens of old age lighter than those you have had 
to bear for some time, dear mother. Age always sees 
the extent of a misfortune far sooner than youth, 

which always makes the best of its troubles , 

Now to tell you about myself. While you have been 
hearing nothing of me, my life has not been without 
brightness and charm. A lot of young men, mostly 
musical students, have formed a circle round me, 
which I have extended as far as Wieck's house. We 



200 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

are principally taken up with the idea of starting 
a new, serious, musical paper, to be published by 
Hofmeister, and the notices and prospectus are to 
appear next month. Its whole tone and style is to 
be fresher and more varied than the other papers, and 
we want particularly to break up the old conventional 
track, though I fear there is but little prospect of my 
ever agreeing with Wieck about art, notwithstanding 
my increasing intimacy with him. " So many men, 
so many minds/' even though it should come to 
blows ! The directors are Ortlepp, Wieck, myself, 
and two other musicians, almost all fine players 
(except myself with my nine fingers), and this will 
give the whole business an air of solidity, since the 
other musical papers are edited by amateurs. Among 
our other contributors I may mention Liihe, Hofrath 
Wendt, Lyser (who is deaf), Reissiger, Kragen at 
Dresden, and Franz Otto in London. 

Perhaps I may gain something by this undertaking, 
which I and many other artists are longing for ; 
indeed, I naturally hate irregularity, and therefore, 
perhaps, it may give me a more decided and business- 
like mind as a background to my character, which 
would be to me what the frame is to the picture, or the 
vase to the fluid it contains. I say nothing of the 
financial advantages which may follow by-and-by. 

I am having my hand treated homceopathically. 
Dn Hartmann laughed, and said no Allopath could 
cure it, and it should be all right in three months. 
And he produced a tiny little powder, and prescribed 



TO HIS MOTHER. 201 

me a strict regimen, very little beer, and no wine or 

coffee. Electricity I had tried before, and perhaps it 
did harm, as the affected part was merely deadened by 
such a powerful remedy. I have not much faith in 
homoeopathy, but was pleased with the doctor's con- 
fidence, and that is something at all events. 

I expect Edward has told you that I have seen a 
good deal of Kalkbrenner, a most polite, amiable, 
vain Frenchman. Now that I have made the ac- 
quaintance of the most celebrated artists (excepting 
Hummel), I realize all that I have already achieved, 
and it really is a good deal One expects to hear 
the latest novelties from celebrated men, and only 
finds one's own dear old mistakes wrapped up in 
famous names. Truly names are half the battle* 
But in preference to all men players, I would give the 
palm to two girls, namely, Mdlle. Belleville 1 and 
Clara, Clara is as fond of me as ever, and is just as 
she used to be of old, wild and enthusiastic, skipping 
and running about like a child, and saying the most 
intensely thoughtful things. It is a pleasure to see 
how her gifts of mind and heart keep developing" 
faster and faster, and as it were, leaf for leaf . The 
other day, as we were walking back from Connewitz, 
(we go for a two or three hours 7 tramp almost every 
day), I heard her saying to herself: " Oh, how happy 
I am ! How happy! 51 Who would not love to hear 
that ? On that same road there are a great many 

1 Afterwards Madame Oury, well known in this country. TR. 



202 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

useless stones lying about in the middle of the foot- 
path. Now, when I am talking, I often look more up 
than down, so she always walks behind me, and 
gently pulls my coat at every stone to prevent my 
falling; meantime she stumbles over them herself! 

On my birthday, which I shall always remember by 
a glorious thunderstorm, Wieck and some of my friends 
had arranged a supper-party at our usual restaurant, 
and Clara was there too. It was a charming coincidence, 
that the innkeeper's pretty daughter turned sixteen 
the same day. I entered upon my twenty- fourth year 
sadly enough, yet somewhat quaintly. When I got 
home my door was locked, and as it is separated by the 
canal from the house itself, it was impossible to knock 
the people up, and I had to return to the eating- 
house, and sleep on a chair. The whole of the ninth 
of June I was in the most cut-and-dried sort of mood, 

I had a great treat the other day in reading Bul- 
wer's " Eugene Aram," which will, I trust, be a perfect 
gold-mine to my dear brothers* As the novel is 
founded on fact, your horror of new romances will 
not prevent your reading it It proves very clearly 
how a single crime grows and sends forth endless 
branches. 

My symphony } which was played here shortly 
before Edward arrived, has made me many friends 
among the principal friends of art ; such as Steg- 
mayer, Pohlenz, and Hauser. When I introduced 
myself to Matthai, the Concertmeister, I was so 
absent that I made the comical mistake of saying : 



TO CLARA WIECK. 203 

"My name is Matthai." Isn't that like me? You 
can Imagine that I am very busy with preparations 
for the paper. If my pen once gets into practice 
again, it will make our correspondence all the more 
lively. The Intermezzi will soon follow. 

Mind you write to me soon, my beloved mother. 

With a thousand greetings and good wishes for 
your welfare and happiness, 

Your R. 



To CLARA WIECK. 

Leipsic, 1833. 
DEAR Clara, 

I have a great longing to see you. The Gilnz's are 
coming for a drive with me. If you have time, and 
feel so inclined, do turn our trio into a quartet, if your 
parents have no objection. Please let me know. You 
must decide when we are to start. 

Longingly 

Yours. 

To THE SAME. 

GOOD morning, my dear Clara, and would it at last be 
advisable to go to Connewitz to-day? Please ask 
your father and send me a line in answer. 

R.S. 

1 No signature. 



204 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, July I3th, 1833. 

DEAR good Clara, 

I want to know whether you are alive and how you 
are. I can hardly wish you to remember me, as I get 
thinner every day, and am shooting up like a dry 
beanstalk without leaves. The doctor has even for- 
bidden me to long for anything (z>., for you) very 
much, because It would be too exhausting ; but to-day 
I tore the bandages off my wounds, and laughed in his 
face when he wanted to prevent me from writing, and 
even threatened to give him my fever, if he did not 
let me do as I liked, so he left me alone. 

I did not intend telling you all this, but something 
altogether different ; in fact I am going to ask you to 
do me a favour. As there is no electric current 
between us to remind us of one another, I have had 
a sympathetic Idea, namely that to-morrow, exactly 
at eleven o'clock, I shall play the Adagio from Chopin's 
Variations, and shall think intensely, exclusively, 
of you. Now my petition is that you will do the same, 
so that we may meet and communicate in spirit The 
trysting-place of our respective doubles will probably 
be over the Thomaspfortchen. If there were a full 
moon, it might have been a mirror reflecting our 
letters. I am anxiously looking forward to your 
answer. If you do not do as I ask you, and a string 
should break to-morrow at twelve o'clock, be sure 
that's me. With all my heart, I remain 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 205 

To HIS MOTHER. 

Leipsic, July, 1833. 
MY dear, beloved Mother. 
A journey to Zwickau Is not to be thought of for the 

present ; 1 am like Rosalie, and have had ague for the 
last six days. How gladly I would have kept the 
knowledge of it from you, but I felt I must send you 
an answer in reply to your very natural wish. To-day 
1 am free from the attacks, but feel too much pros- 
trated by your letter to be able to write In a suffi- 
ciently quiet and consoling spirit to Julius. Perhaps 
I shall feel more equal to it to-morrow, if the fever 
keeps away. My homoeopathic doctor, in whom I 
have now more confidence, hopes to cure me entirely 
In three weeks, and I need not assure you that I shall 
not fail to do my duty (not for the last time, I hope) 
towards a beloved and deeply respected brother. 

As It all seems so hopeless, why do you not try 
homoeopathy, which acts so easily and naturally? 
If sorrows come upon me by-and-by, your last 
delightful letter will give me strength and power of 
endurance. 

Good-bye, beloved mother; always go on loving 
me. I can hardly return your love by looks, much 
less by words ; perhaps I shall be able to repay you 
later on by good deeds. Do not worry about me, I 
am strong, and my Illness will pass over without the 
evil consequences which followed In poor Rosalie's 
case. With fondest love. 

Your ROBERT* 



2o6 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



To CLARA WIECK. 

Leipsic, 1833. 
DEAR Clara, 

If you can spare the two books of " Songs without 
Words " just for to-day, please send them to me. I 
am in a great hurry, so kindly excuse these un- 
rhythmical lines. There is just time for a greeting. 

R. SCHUMANN. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Aug. 2nd 3 1833. 

DEAR Clara, 

People who are bad at flattering, can hardly have a 
more uncongenial task, than first, to write a letter of 
dedication, and secondly, to answer it. On such 
occasions one has to be so completely crushed and 
overcome by modesty, regrets, gratitude, etc. ! So to 
anybody else but you I should have to say politely, 
How have I deserved this distinction ? Have you 
considered ? Or I should get metaphorical, and say 
that the moon would be invisible to man, if the sun 
did not cast its rays upon it occasionally. Or I might 
.say, See how the noble vine climbs up the humble elm, 
so that a tree which has neither blossoms nor fruit 
may be refreshed by its presence. But I will only 
send you my warmest thanks, and if you were present 
I would press your hand (even without your father's 
leave). Then I might express a hope that the union 
of our names on the title-page might foreshadow the 



TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 207 

union of our Ideas and opinions In the future, A poor 

fellow like myself cannot offer you more than that. 
My work will probably always remain a fragment, 

like many another composition, as lately I have only 
improved in the art of scratching out. Something 
else will follow. Say good morning to Kragen from 
me, and ask him whether he will act as godfather to 
the work, I mean whether I may dedicate it to him. 

As It looks so very threatening to-day, I regret 
that I cannot go to you for music this evening. 
Besides, I am so cosily ensconced in my corner, that 
only the very tips of my wings are peeping out of the 
chrysalis, and they might so easily come to grief! 
But I shall certainly hope to see you before you start. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

A year ago to-day we drove to Schleussig. How 
sorry I am that I spoilt your pleasure on that occasion ! 

To FRIEDRICH WiECK. 1 

Leipsic, Aug, 6th, 1833. 
MY honoured Friend, 

You will only find the letter to my brothers enclosed. 
If you have time to-day, please tell me privately 
whether anything important has been forgotten. I 
must call your attention to a passage written yester- 
day, ivhich I have marked. 

If I understood you rightly, you said ; " If you take 
up the matter energetically I promise you my help ; 

1 From bis letter-book. 



208 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

but if you get lukewarm " You meant to say 

that In that case you would retire altogether. How 
is this ? Are you not co-editor of the paper ? Will 
you not share our sorrows as well as our joys ? If 
you undertook to do so, as you led me to suppose 
you would, from the interest you took in the matter, 
how could any coolness on my part be an excuse for 
you ? Do you only want to help us in a half-hearted 

way ? 

If anyone else, whose way of expressing himself I 
did not understand so well, had said this to me, I 
should have answered : Keep everything to yourself. 
When I am in full swing, the most I shall ask of you 
is to put on the curb ; when you get excited I will do 
the same by you, but if I should grow slack you must 
lend me your wings. That is only fair. Do you 
suppose I am thirsting for fame ? Or that I really 
care so much about the editorship if you give that 
name to looking after the correspondence, and so on ? 
If you don't see that this entails the greatest possible 
self-sacrifice on my part, of course I shall not be able 
to convince you. And I only submit to this guidance,. 
because I know all the circumstances best, and because 
1 don't like giving up an idea, which I foresee will lead 
to endless intellectual advantages, both for mind and 
heart. 

But I think I know your way of talking, and 
perhaps my interpretation of your remarks is rather 
hypochondriacal, so I must needs conclude, that you 
are somewhat doubtful about my perseverance in 



TO FRIEDRICH WIECK. 209 

the future, for which no doubt you have some reason. 
For who will answer for all the chances, unexpected 
interruptions, etc ? And I said that I would only 
bind myself to work with you steadily for two years 
at the outside, though I don't say that I will give up 
altogether even then. But I consider that time quite 
sufficient, to learn a good deal from the regular work, 
and to strengthen and confirm my artistic opinions, 
without any danger of getting stiff, or losing my 
admiration of the higher beauty of art But I quite 
admit that I should like to hear your opinions ex- 
pressed more gently* For instance, you might say : 
We will both put our shoulders to the wheel, and if 
one of us drops off, let the other be wide-awake and 
energetic, or if one draws in his horns, let the other 
put them out. 

I beg your indulgence for my frankness, for if our 
structure begins to shake in this way in its very foun- 
dations, it is easy to foresee its ultimate downfall. If 
such a complicated undertaking is to be firmly con- 
eluded, its forces must support one another alternately 
and unconditionally. But if, according to what you 
said yesterday, you will only give us conditional 
assistance, of course it can only damage our prospects. 

It would be foolish to imagine that I have told you 
anything in all this letter that you don't know already. 
But I hope you will favour me by an explanation of 
your opinions to-day. 

Yours faithfully, 

R.S. 
p 



io SCHUMANN* ] S EARLY LETTERS. 

To CARL SCHUMANN, ScHNEEBERG. 1 

Aug. 5th, '33. 
(Extract) 

[N fact, how can an enterprise come to grief which 
has been begun in the interests of art in its purest 
sense, by men who make art their object in life ? 
Especially when it is based on well-founded opinions, 
and experience gained by previous undertakings ? I 
say how can it possibly fail ? There is a great deal in 
its favour, The wrapper must be engraved on copper. 
As a vignette I propose a genius with a mask in his 
hand. 

If the undertaking cannot be made to answer, Wieck, 
Knorr, Ortlepp, and myself will renounce all payment. 
My post as editor is worth about 150 thalers, which I 
will also give up, if the worst comes to the worst The 
contract is to be drawn up for two years. 

Hofmeister would at once put himself in communi- 
cation with him. I recommend the greatest haste 
about the advertisement. The first number will con- 
tain a portrait of Spohr. Mind you see about the 
engraver. 

I should not like the price to exceed 4 thalers 
(a year). How would the net profits be then ? I will 
arrange about the vignette* 

1 From the letter-book 



TO FRANZ OTTO. 211 

To FRANZ OTTO ix HAMBURG. 1 

Leipsic, Aug. 9th, 1833, 

DEAREST Franz Otto, 
What a lot I have got to tell you, of joy and sorrow, 

gorgeous castles in the air, dreams of immortality, 
tears in short, of many things. Your wretched ex- 
perience would not have mattered so much, if it had 
not prevented your enjoying and appreciating a plea- 
sant time. Well, now you can drink your fill of 
German spirit, and the German eagle's blood. Believe 
me, in other countries, Germans endure more than 
mere physical homesickness. 

My dear friend, accept this^ letter as the beginning 
of a rapid and regular correspondence ; but I must cut 
it short for to-day. Take it as the herald of a brighter 
musical future. We need a Hermann with Lessing 
under his arm to make a rush among the mob. Do 
not retire from the fray, but come and strike a blow 
with us. I expect Wieck has told you that a new 
musical periodical is coming out, which is to be the 
representative of poetry, and will mercilessly attack 
all the weaknesses of the age. Although I don't 
-exactly know what your opinions are, still I have 
always felt that I could rely upon you as a warm 
friend of all that is thorough and genuine, and having 
always regarded you in that light, I feel that 1 am 
quite justified in calling upon you to lend us a helping 

1 From the letter-book. 



212 SCHUMANN'S EAJRLY LETTERS. 

hand. Of course, you help us in a passive sense as it is, 
by writing, but besides that we require active criticism 
to make victory quite certain. 

You must begin by being very funny with some 
English letters, to make a sensation in the very first 
numbers, which will be published on trial at the 
beginning of October. My dear fellow, pray sit down 
the moment you receive this, and mend a pen with a 
view to writing your " English Letters." I need not 
tell 3*ou how much depends on the first numbers ; and 
though they must not promise too much, yet they 
must let the public feel that a long- felt w r ant has been 
supplied. If you do not care to frame or embellish 
your thoughts, leave that to me ; I will see that their 
original form is not interfered with. As you are so far 
away, it would be best for your contributions to take 
the form of letters, as being the most amusing, and 
under the circumstances most natural, and I recom- 
mend you to write to some ideal person, for instance > 
a sweetheart, Vult Harnisch, or Peter Schoppe. 1 
I will leave all that to you. The importance of the 
matter and an old feeling of friendship will induce 
you to let me know as soon as possible whether we 
may count upon some English letters for the first 
numbers. If the undertaking answers, and you keep 
on writing regularly, I think we may promise you a. 
small remuneration. 

Perhaps during the first year we might give a few 

1 Some of Jean Paul Richter's characters. 



TO FR1EDRICH HOFMEISTER. 213 

extracts from your opera. Mind you bestir yourself. 
I am going to supply some new Intermezzi, Im- 
promptus (a story), and a Sonata. Are you soon 
coming back to Leipsic ? More in my next. 

Good-bye. Give your mind to all this, and send an 
answer. R. S. 

To FRIEDRICH HOFMEISTER, LEiPsic 1 

A FEW weeks ago I sent you half a sheet of paper 
with all about our newspaper arrangements. May I 
ask you to return it to me, if it is not troubling you 
too much ? I doubt whether my brother will under- 
take it now, as he is too busy with his more important 
publications. You are not going to neglect the right 
moment for an enterprise which can only bring you 
honour and glory ? Perhaps a clever editor may 
turn up. 

Do you want any more money ? I shall be glad to 
let you have 1,400 thalers in Saxon four per cent, 
bonds. You can give me cheques, and after they have 
become due, send me back the papers in natura. 
They are more likely to rise than fall ; but In either 
case the risk is yours. Kindly send me word whether 
I can see you to-day, or in the next few days. 

Yours faithfully, 

R. S. 

I have had no second proof of the intermezzi. 
How long Is this to go on ? 

1 From the letter-book. 



2 1 4 $ CHUM A NN'S EARL Y LETTERS. 

TO G. W. FINK. 1 

(With the " Impromptus.") 

August, 1833. 

ALTHOUGH I am rather surprised and hurt at your 
silence respecting several of my compositions which I 
sent you some years ago, especially as I am aware of 
no reason for this slight, still I make a last attempt 
to induce you to write a critique on the enclosed 
Impromptus." I must beg that you will not class 
me amongst those who try to Increase the difficulties 
of an editor ; and allow me to assure you that I 
should never have taken this somewhat indiscreet 
step, if my anxious old mother did not sadly ask me 
in every letter : " Why is there nothing about you in 
the Leipsic paper ? " and each time I have to answer, 
" Mother, I don't know." May this reason be a suffi- 
cient apology for my letter. 

Faithfully, 

R. S. 

To His MOTHER. 

Autumn, 1833. 

You, too, seem to have given up everything. Well, 
God help you. I, too, my good mother, am in need 
of consolation. I cannot help but only weep. You 
appear to have no idea of my painful disease, or you 
would not invite me so repeatedly. I need hardly tell 

1 From the letter-book. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 215 

you that If I were well you would not have to say a 

word. But having already refused in my last letter, I 
really must try and convince you that I am anything 
but flourishing, as every breath of air brings on an 
attack 1 have not been allowed out for a fortnight, 
and may not even wash myself. Very likely I might 
have to go from the coach straight to bed, and per- 
haps never leave it again. Of course, I feel hurt by 
your doubts. And then I have heard nothing about 
Julius, and want to hear how he really is whether he 
still retains speech and consciousness, whether he has 
any hope left, whether he got my letter, and has asked 
to see me, or often thinks of me. The good that it 
would do me to know all this ! Whatever you do, 
don't deprive him of the hope of seeing me soon. 
Could I not have a few lines from himself? Do ask him. 
May your splendid strength of mind never desert 
you, my poor dear afflicted mother. While I am 
writing this he is perhaps struggling with death. Oh, 
my God ! Farewell ! 

R. 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Nov. 2/th, 1833. 
* * * * * 

I WILL say nothing of the past weeks. 1 I was more 
like a statue than anything else, without either heat 

1 After the death of his brother Julius, and his sister-in-law, 
Rosalie, 



216 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

or cold, but excessive work brought back life by 
degrees. But I still feel so nervous and upset that I 
cannot sleep alone* I have got a thoroughly good- 
natured fellow to keep me company, and find I am 
able to teach him a good deal, and that cheers and 
interests me. Would you believe it, I have not the 
courage to travel alone to Zwickau, for fear of some- 
thing- happening to me. Violent rush of blood to the 
head, inexpressible nervousness, shortness of breath, 
sudden faintness, alternate In quick succession, al- 
though less just now than in the last few days. If 
you had any idea of the dead condition to which this 
melancholy has brought my mind, I am sure you would 
forgive me for not having written. One thing more. 
Do you know that a certain R. S. is thinking of you 
almost every hour ? Do write to him very soon. Try 
and be happy ! Deep down in my heart there is some- 
thing I would not miss on any account the belief in 
a certain amount of human goodness, and in the exist- 
ence of a God Am I not happy ? 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, Jan. 4th, 1834. 
MY good Mother, 

I have only read your letter to-day. When I got it 
a week ago, and saw by the beginning what a gloomy 
spirit it was written in, I had not the energy to finish 
reading it. Even the mere thought of other people's 
troubles is so disastrous in its effects as to rob me of 



TO HIS MOTHER. 217 

all power of action ; beware, therefore, of letting me 

know anything which could make me at all anxious, 
or I shall have to give up your letters altogether. I 

must particularly request you, in all kindness, not to 
remind me in any way of Julius and Rosalie, either 
In speaking or writing to me. I have never before 
known sorrow ; now it has come upon me, but I can- 
not get over it, and it has crushed me a thousandfold, 
Still, for the last few days I have felt fresher and 
better than 1 have for a long time,, and perhaps by 
degrees happy thoughts will come back, and then I 
will be as kind to people as they are to me now. 
You will hardly believe that If you think I am going 
deeper and deeper into my shell, you are mistaken ; 
a word from anybody makes me happy now, and I 
should like to thank people for every syllable they 
say to me. I am living very simply, and have got out 
of the habit of taking stimulants at all. I walk a 
great deal, especially with that splendid fellow, Lud- 
wig Schunke, of whom I dare say you have heard. 
I have been working harder, too s than I did in those 
last weeks. Don't overlook the " Davidsbiindler"in 
the Comet. They are by me, and are making some 
little sensation. They will form a kind of volume, 
and by-and-bye I shall have It published separately 
by Carl and Edward. I have also been getting on 
better in composition, I expect you have got the 
Intermezzi by now. The next thing will be a Toccata 
published by Hofrneister, and an Allegro (dedicated 
to Kuntzsch), in the Pfmnigniagasint for which I am 



2iS SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

to get thirty thalers. The three Sonatas dedicated to 
you are to be my masterpiece. My daily companions 
are Herlosssohn, Wieck, Stegmayer, Schunke, Stelle, 
Ortlepp, Lyser, Berger, Biirck, and Pohlenz. I see a 
good deal of Fink too. The other day he invited me 
to a big musical matinee. You see I don't lack plenty 
of intellectual intercourse, and am made welcome in 
the most select circles. 

You ask me whether I can make my money last. 
Honestly, no. My income, including my earnings, 
does not at present amount to more than four or five 
hundred thalers, and unfortunately I have never spent 
less than six hundred. But, believe me, these cares 
are insignificant compared with the great sorrows of 
life. When our griefs are healed, happiness and 
energy return, and soon dispel all petty worries. I 
am quite easy on that score, and beg you to be so too. 
We often think we see dark spots in the sky, while in 
reality they are glorious suns, not discernible to our 
feeble sight. 

I can well understand the sadness of your lonely 
life. Why not go and live with Carl or Edward? 
Your children love you dearly, and you owe them the 
longest possible life. I am sure they will try and 
make it as happy as possible. Of late I have con- 
stantly felt an inexpressible desire that you might 
come and live at Leipsic for a time, though, of course, 
I am well aware that there is but little here to make 
up for all that is dear to you which you would have 
to leave behind. But still I feel that I should like to 



TO HIS MOTHER, 



try and work off my heavy debt to you, as I often 
reproach myself that I do not show you sufficient 
consideration and gratitude. I know very well how 
difficult it is for elderly people to get used to 
new surroundings, which are so different from what 
they have been accustomed to, and I should never 
forgive myself if you did not find your new life what 
you expected. Think it well over and let me know 
your opinion. I refrain from describing the joy I 
should feel if you were to agree to my suggestion. 

Give my fondest love to Emily, of whom I am in- 
expressibly fond, to Edward, who will certainly be 
happy some day, as he only works for the happiness 
of others ; to Carl, and to the children. I thought of 
you all very sadly on Christmas Eve, but I am so 
poor now, oh, so poor ! Remember me to all the 
Lorenz family. 1 

Perhaps we may meet before the spring, and then 
your eyes, dimmed by so many sorrows, shall give me 
strength to get better. 

Your fondly loving son, R. 

Thousands of thanks for your golden present, which 
I had not expected in the least 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, March 19111, 1834. 
MY good Mother, 
I cannot answer your three letters better, than by 

1 The family of his sister-in-law Emily, 



220 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

telling you how much they cheered and consoled me. 
How can I thank you, how repay you, for your con- 
stant self-sacrificing love, which I have so often mis- 
understood, and for your kind and considerate atten- 
tion ? There was a time when you often appeared in 
my dreams, but always either xvarning or indignant. 
How different it all is now ! You stand before me 
like some good genius, whether I am asleep or awake, 
and are always gentle and loving, and as though 
transfigured by youth. Would you believe it, I 
dream of you almost every night, and nearly always 
pleasantly? Why should this be so, unless it is that I 
now appreciate your disinterested love for all that is 
true and noble, more than I used in my younger days, 
when one is apt to regard a noble action as a mere 
duty, and self-sacrifice as a necessity ? The very fact 
of our being so much more intimate now than we used 
to be, is the reason of my silence, as I consider it most 
wrong and sinful to approach you when you are dreary 
and unhappy. The delicious mild weather of the last 
few months has made me almost quite well* I trust 
that the balmy spring days we have had this winter 
may cheer and console you, and show you that your 
good angel will surely bestow some blossoms even 
on your old age, and if rather pale, they are all the 
more ethereal. You should have seen me and my 
friend, Ludwig Schunke, walking about with light- 
ened hearts and fresh energy, and heard us talking 
about you. He is a capital fellow and true friend, 
and is always ready and willing to go in for every- 



TO HIS MOTHER. 221 

thing good and beautiful. One speck of blue In the 
sky often gives more pleasure than when it is all 
blue ; and I would rather lose all my friends to- 
gether than this one. Perhaps we shall burst in upon 
you one of these days, and solicit your kind hospi- 
tality. Only perhaps, for the new musical paper re- 
quires all our energies at present. Rascher will pro- 
bably bring you a prospectus. The scheme is mine. 
Capellmeister Stegmayer, Wieck, Schunke, Knorr, 
and myself, are the directors. A new enterprise is 
always full of hopes, I am glad to have given my 
life such a satisfactory and attractive background. 
Besides honour and glory, I may also expect some 
profit, so that now you may really be easier about my 
means of subsistence in the future. Of course there 
is plenty to do, both to learn and teach ; but great 
difficulties will be met by great talents, and I expect 
much success, and Infinite intellectual advantages. 
Edward will probably look upon it as a matter of 
business. Kuntzsch is certain to subscribe. Do ask 
him to send me, as soon as possible, the three first 
volumes of the old Leipsic Musikalische Zeitung^ and 
also the three first of Fink's editing, I should be 
so much obliged to him, if he would, 

Stegrnayer is another delightfully musical man, to 
whom I owe very much. But he leads such a wild 
life, that there is no getting on with him. Just 
imagine, the other night I actually danced at the 
Capellmeister's, and three times, only think of that! 
Once with his wife, once with Clara, and then with the 



222 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

daughter of the American Consul List I have just 
remembered the miserable accounts I used to give, 
when I came back from a ball in former days, and you 
wanted to know the names of my partners ! I have 
also been skating a good deal with Schunke on a 
lonely pond near Connewitz. Well, perhaps, every- 
thing will get better by degrees 

Do not worry yourself about my finger! I can 
compose without it ; and I should hardly be happier 
as a travelling virtuoso, You have spoilt me too 
much at home for that. It does not interfere with my 
improvising. I have even regained my old nerve In 
improvising before people, and performed at Earth's 
the other day, where I went to dinner. 

Liihe and Herlosssohn are now editing a " Ladies' 
Encyclopedia/ 7 In which I have undertaken the mu- 
sical articles (15 thalers per sheet). Don't be In the 
least unhappy about Relistab's criticism of the Inter- 
mezzi Opposition only strengthens one. Every 
man should go his own way. If one goes to Italy, 
-another to Greece, and they chance to meet, neither 
>can say that the other is on the wrong road. I 
fully appreciate your delicacy in not alluding to It 
When I read the criticism, my first thought un- 
doubtedly was that it would make you sad. But, as I 
gave you credit for plenty of penetration and tact, I 
did not worry myself any more about ft. So don't let 
It trouble you either. 

I am looking forward with almost childish delight 
to seeing Edward and Carl. They say Carlis going to 



TO HIS MOTHER. 223 

marry again. What truth is there in it? Perhaps I could 
arrange to travel back to Lelpsic with Edward, If I 
only had some Idea of the day when he is to start 
from Zwickau. Write and tell me. If my work does 
not admit of this plan, I shall certainly hope to have 
you with me at Leipsic for some time. That would 
make me very happy. You can stay with me very 
comfortably. It is like this. Schunke and I between 
us have hired three nice rooms on the first floor of the 
house where I am living. We wanted to be together, 
but in adjoining rooms we should have disturbed one 
another by our piano-playing, so we hired a room 
In between as well. I am sure the landlord will 
gladly provide us with bedding. Do you hear what 
I say ? Let me have your answer, dearest mother. 

A visitor is just arriving. I love Emily as much as 
you do. Blessings upon her and her children, and 
upon you all 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

TO THE SAME. 1 

Lelpsic, March 2611X3 1834. 

ACCEPT this little present, my dear, dear mother, with 
many thanks for your letter, which made me so inex- 
pressibly happy. Your proposals are delightful Every- 
thing shall be thought over. Just now I have got a 
great deal to do. Yesterday alone 1 wrote fourteen 
letters. The carrier is waiting. Good-bye again and 

1 With a present of Eau de Cologne, 



224 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

again. Oh ! You have not answered my question 
about Carl. Shakespeare is a good undertaking. 
Well, I trust everything will turn out for your hap- 
piness. 

" With cheerful mind pure motives wed." 

Your ROB. 
To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, April 9th, 1834. 
MY beloved Mother, 

I wish you might be as fortunate in a good son as I 
am in having such an excellent mother ! I can only 
send the same old answer to both your letters. But 
it will ever be the same, and though poor in words, it 
shall be all the richer in deeds. I must have improved, 
because I think of you much oftener and more joy- 
fully than I used. 

But do please write your letters on better paper. 
It does not look at all nice. Don't you remember 
how much I always used to praise you, when you had 
on your beautiful white lace cap, and black silk gown? 
I never could bear to see you in your old gray one. 
Don't be angry with me for saying this. It just struck 
me as I was reading your letter over again. 

Very many thanks for the money you sent me F 
There are 1 2 groschen over, which I expect you will 
have to add on to our old debt. Didn't you get a 
letter from me at the same time with the Eau de 
Cologne ? Only a few lines, it is true, but still they 
spared me a reproach, which otherwise you would have 



TO HIS MOTHER. 



been justified in making. In that very note I told 
you of my resolve to give up my visit to you for the 

present You are perfectly right in everything, April 
is most dreary. But May shall be glorious, If you 
come to me. Mind you send Edward very soon. I 
have a great longing to see some of my own people, 
though I must say that all the Leipsic people are 
very nice and kind to me. 

It Is a bad job about Fink. He is frantic as It Is, 
and will not tolerate anyone except himself. I am 
sorry that an old man, who is otherwise so highly 
respected, should lower himself In such a contemptible 
way. In any case there will be a tussle In consequence ? 
however dignified the spirit of it shall be. Depend 
upon it I shall insist on maintaining the word in 
Italics. If it should come to intellectual blows, five 
backs (especially with youth on their side) can stand 
more than one which is old and very much bent Of 
course we have had proper prospectuses printed. Let 
me know what struck you particularly In them, I 
have always considered your remarks very shrewd 
and to the point, and when you don't know much 
about things, you get a sort of inkling of the truth, at 
all events. I am writing and composing most indus- 
triously. There Is any amount of work to do. When 
Edward comes over for the Fair, I can put him In the 
way of MSS. by the most talented authors, such as 
Laube, Lyser, Schlesier and Biirck. Do you and he 
hope to do good business at the Fair ? I am not so 
anxious about Carl. 

Q 



226 SCHUMANN 9 S EARLY LETTERS. 

One favour more. Send the enclosed passport at 
once to Rascher with my kindest regards, and ask him 
to draw me up a new one available for one year, and 
to send it to me as soon as possible. Instead of 
" artist" he had better put " musician " do you under- 
stand ? Who would have thought that little Rascher 
would ever make out a passport for little (t Sch. 
Robert " ! Thus men grow up without any will of 
their own one to be an oak, the other a laurel. The 
kind hand of fate has transplanted me into a new 
soil, for which the foliage was so ardently longing. 
And behold ! Here, too, I am basking in the rays 
of the sun, and possibly shall produce nothing but 
blossoms. 

Well ; good-bye, my dearly beloved mother ! 

That last image has made me quite happy. 
May it have the same effect on you. Remember me 
most affectionately and respectfully to Emily, her 
parents, and children, I say, Edward, do make haste 
and come ! 

Your son, 

ROBERT. 

Apropos. Don't be frightened ! I am growing a 
moustache ! 



TO HIS MOTHER. 227 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, July 2nd, 1834* 

MY dear good Mother, 

I am not dead, or it would certainly have been in our 
paper, which, on the contrary, has, I am sure, given 
you many a token of life, industry, and gladness. 

And that same paper bears the brunt of my silence 
during the last two months. But why does not Edward 
write me a line ? Why not Carl ? Edward's silence 
particularly seems to me quite incomprehensible, and, 
as far I can see, unpardonable. I know Carl is a bad 
hand at keeping promises, although that does not ex- 
cuse him in the least And then you, yourself, who 
in love and consideration have so often overlooked 
the debt due to you from others, and never claimed it 
could you not have sent me one line, one word of 
affection, which I have never before missed on a cer- 
tain day ? It was a great grief to me. 

I know full well that it ill becomes me to reproach 
you, as I owe you an account of myself in more ways 
than one. But you are not aware that, owing to ague, 
our Editor, Knorr, has been absolutely unfit for work 
during the last eight weeks, so that I have to see 
about everything, correspondence, proofs, manuscripts, 
and, what is more, that from week to week I have 
been resolving to rush over and see you for a few 
hours ! Perhaps you have thought as much your- 
selves, but now, owing to Knorr's continual ill-health, 



228 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS, 

there is not the slightest prospect of it. I have been 
lately harbouring a secret hope that you would perhaps 
surprise me with a visit, as I could not manage to go 
to you. Nothing of the sort ! But after such a long 
separation I gladly hold out my hand to you, and if I 
have in any way wounded your feelings, I will gladly 
try and make up for it again. 

This two months' interval contains much both of joy 
and sorrow, as well as certain events which might 
decide my whole future life. If I could only sit down 
opposite to you, and tell you everything, and talk 
things over, and ask your advice ! Among the joyful 
things, I reckon first of all my whole new sphere of 
action, then the delight I take in my work, and in 
acting for the public, and the praise and appreciation 
from without which is the gratitude shown us for our 
good intentions ; I further rejoice in the increase in 
my intimate acquaintances, and in the friendship and 
respect of genuine and high-minded people, and my 
life really consists of physical and mental enjoyment 
as far as the eye can reach. 

A judgment on some of my things by Gottfried 
Weber, our greatest critic, gave me great pleasure, as 
did Rellstab's opinion of our paper, which, honestly, I 
manage quite alone. I expect you have read the last 
number, but as the Caedlia^ edited by Weber, does 
not get to Zwickau, I send you a few extracts, which 
ought at any rate not to weaken your love for me 1 
If I were found fault with in any particular way, I 
should not disguise it from you, but in this case the 



TO HIS MOTHER. 229 

blame is bound up with the praise. Read and won- 
der, for a great man speaks : 

" If we were to examine in detail five music books 
almost entirely filled with extraordinary things, we 
ought to say a great deal more about them, than about 
a hundred such by other composers, in fact, much 
more than would fill a whole number of Caecilia. 
This being the case, it is obvious that there is at 
present neither space nor time for such discussions. 
But I cannot withhold my testimony to this (presum- 
ably young) composer, and must say, that there is such 
a spirit lurking in his productions which, far from 
being immature, have been rather forced on in the 
hot-house of undue straining after originality that 
there is no knowing whether, in good time, he will not 
find his way out of the maze of adventurous tone- 
pictures, back to the paths of simplicity and nature, 
and thence to the summit of Art/ 1 .... 

" But we will by no means condemn even this road to 
Art, for by it also the goal may be reached in a round- 
about way, especially by returning to natural paths, 
and I repeat once more, who knows what a young 
artist like Herr Sch., though he does emit fiery sparks 
somewhat early, may turn out to be ? We, at all 
events, not only wish him every success, but have good 
reason to hope for it, as in many places, where that 
everlasting striving after effect and to be extraordinary 
and original, leaves him for a while, he often succeeds 
in a most praiseworthy manner." 

Weber quotes my Papillons to support his opinion, 



230 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

and they are anything but ultra-original, and I am 
inclined to question whether we young artists 
(Chopin, Hiller, etc.) have not rather more genius 
than they give us credit for, when the word is applied 
to things which we have known and done with for 
ages, I trust you understand me ? I do not mean to 
imply that I am at all dissatisfied with his criticism ; 
on the contrary, I wish you may always be as pleased 
with me as I was with myself after reading it 

Of course I am not composing quite so fast just 
now. All the same, accept this piece 1 as a token of 
my constant efforts. You will hardly find any one " 
at Zwickau able to play it For the present, / must 
absolutely devote all my energies to the Paper , there is 
no depending on the rest of them. Wieck is always 
travelling about, Knorr generally ill, Schunke does 
not yet quite know how to write and who is there 
left ? But the Paper is meeting with such unrivalled 
success, that I enjoy my work, and it does me good. 
Up to the present we have had about three hundred 
orders. In short, our life is very brisk. 

Two glorious beings of the fair sex have lately 
appeared in our set One of them, (whom I have 
mentioned before) is Emily, aged sixteen, the daughter 
of the American Consul List She is a thoroughly 
English girl, with bright sparkling eyes, dark hair, 
and firm step, full of intellect, dignity, and life. The 
other is Ernestine, daughter of the rich Bohemian 
Baron von Fricken (her mother was Grafin Zettwitz). 
1 The Toccata, Op. 7. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 231 

She has a delightfully pure, childlike mind, is 
delicate and thoughtful, deeply attached to me and 
everything artistic, and uncommonly musical in 
short just such a one as I might wish to have for a 
wife ; and, I will whisper it in your ear, my good 
mother, if the Future were to ask me whom I should 
choose, I would answer unhesitatingly, this one. But 
that is all in the dim distance ; and even now I 
renounce the prospect of a more intimate relationship, 
although I dare say I should find it easy enough. 
Are you displeased with my frankness ? I am sure 
not, as then you would also be displeased with my- 
self. 

Clara is at Dresden, and her genius is developing 
more and more. Her letters (she writes to me occa- 
sionally) are wonderfully eleven Wieck is going to 
Dresden in a few weeks, and I should like to go too ; 
but I have not yet decided, partly out of consideration 
for you, as I promised to pay you a visit, and partly 
because of the Paper, which cannot get on without 
me, if Knorr does not soon improve. 

How thoughtlessly I have been chattering to-day, 
and so selfishly too, all about myself! But write to 
me very soon, and tell me about yourself, and Emily, 
and everybody, and how you have been getting on. 
I am pining for a long letter. Oh for your love and 
your indulgence ! I have still much to tell you, but 
you may depend upon soon getting news from 

Your ROBERT. 

My ciphers in our paper are: "12.", "Euseb.", 



232 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

" Fn. n , <c Florestan." You will see that I have been 
the most industrious of all. 

Hofmeister has just sent me word that my new 
composition will be out to-morrow. So you will get 
it next time. 

To CLARA WIECK IN DRESDEN. 

Leipsic, 1834. 

MY dear honoured Clara, 

Some misanthropists maintain that the swan is only 
a larger kind of goose. With quite as much reason 
one might call distance merely an extended vicinity. 
But it really is so, for I talk to you every day (and in 
a gentler whisper even than usual), and feel that you 
understand me. At first I made all sorts of plans 
about our correspondence. For instance, I thought 
of making our letters public in the Zeitung> then of 
filling my balloon (did you know I had one ?) with 
unwritten thoughts, and sending it off to you, properly 
addressed, and with a favourable wind, I longed to 
catch butterflies to be my messengers to you, I 
thought of getting my letters posted in Paris, so as 
to arouse your curiosity, and make you believe I was 
there. In short, a great many quaint notions came 
into my head, and have only just been dispersed by a 
postilion's horn. The fact is, dear Clara, that postilions 
have much the same sort of effect upon me as the 
most excellent champagne. One quite forgets that 
one has a head, it makes one feel so delightfully 



TO CLARA WIECK, 233 

light-hearted to hear them blaring away to the world 
so merrily. Their merry strains seem to me like 
very dances of rapturous longing, and seem to remind 
one of something one does not possess. But as I said 
before, that postilion with his horn sent me out of my 
old dreams into new ones 



To THE SAME. 

Leipsic, July loth, 1834. 
N.B. The end to be read first 

MY dear Clara, 

Now I am (really) going to talk, and chatter and 
laugh with you like anything. If I had my way I 
should send you perfect bales of letters, and should 
not be (satisfied) even then ; but as it is, when I am 
thinking of you very intently, I invariably find myself 
at the piano, and seem to prefer writing to you in 
(chords of the ninth), and especially with the familiar 
chord of the thirteenth : 



#3= 



What pleasure your letter gave me, not to mention 
the (pretty) idea of your writing it on a day which 
only comes once a (year), (though of course that 
might be said of every day). I am sure you re- 



234 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

member this day last year, and the thunderstorm, and 
our having to take shelter in a house, and our visit to 
the (Rosenthal), and the (chocolate) ! 

To-day (was) much (simpler). My Davidites and I 
were together as usual, and walked to Zweynaundorf, 
rejoicing over our happy life. Next day I got your 
letter ; in the evening I began my answer, and tried 
to finish it early next morning, but one (proof) after 
another came from the printers, and thus procrastina- 
tion won the day, and I am sure you cannot be more 
(sorry) about it than I am. 

Your letter (was) yourself all over. You stood 
before me talking and laughing, rushing from fun to 
earnest as usual, diplomatically playing with your 
veil ; in short, the letter was Clara herself, her double. 

Dearest double, but what do you want ? You want 
to express your wishes, and just turn me into a 
puppet Now just think a moment. If Florestan 
did not do just the opposite of everbody else, if 
(Eusebius) drank less Bavarian beer, if a certain 
Davidite did not stick to his business, when all the 
rest had departed, etc., why then I should be very 
different from what I am. Still I have copied your 
catechism very (neatly), and flooded it, i.e., with notes, 
But you ought to hear the music ! It is a litany in 
D sharp minor. Like this : 

First Commandment. 



&&. 



t\ J J J 



- etc. 



Tim nicht von al . lem das Ge - g;en - theil. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 235 

As I said before, this letter is divided into three parts, 
like a real Sonata, namely, a laughing part, a chatter- 
ing part, and a talking part 

You have just been deciphering the laughing part 
with a very grim face. 1 It is like the RosenthaJ, 
which contains neither roses nor valleys, and is enough 
to (make) one weep. 

CHATTER. 

Tell me, kind friend, how have you been during 
lovely June? How are your friends, the tender 
one, and the elegant and haughty one ? Is Kragen 
getting on any quicker ? And how is Becker ? Do 
his eyes still glisten, when he hears anything of 
Chopin's ? What did Reissiger say to the criticism ? 
Is Mdme. Schroder soon coming back ? Do the 
Dresdeners only read the Chronik? Do they often 
row between the piers of the bridge ? Do you know 
that we are very jealous here in Leipsic, and may 
appear in Dresden one of these days, so as to remove 
any cause for jealousy ? Do the great big men in 
the Catholic Church still lead one from one side to 
the other? 

And now about yourself: Do you like thinking of 
Leipsic, and of your nearest relations, and of Giinther, 
called " the genial/' par excellence ? And of a certain 
Emily, a sensible (bright) and lovable girl, who often 

1 He refers to his illegible handwriting, which is particularly 
bad in this letter. 



236 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

speaks of you affectionately ? Then, do you think of 
Elise with her angelic face, which, I regret to say, has 
not been much seen of late ? And of Stegmayer, 
who has petitioned the Landtag- to allow us to sleep 
by day and work by night ? And of your old com- 
panion in joy and sorrow, Ernestine, 1 that bright 
particular star, which we can never appreciate enough ? 
To conclude, do you know anything of Schunke, and 
of the rest of the Editors, who are always speaking of 
their " solemnly-elected co-operator, Clarus " ? I want 
you so much to tell me about yourself! Have you 
been singing much, and what sort of things ? I ought 
to know that, I think. Do you look out of the 
(window) on fine (July evenings) ? because in that 
case I will sometimes do the same. Or do you ever 
go for a walk on the (right) bank of the Elbe, merely 
because it used to be my favourite walk ? And do 
you compose much, either earthly or unearthly ? 

In short, I want to know whether you will soon send 
me an answer. And now I ought to begin the con- 
versation proper, the grave searching movement of 
my scribbled composition. But after such a long 
separation it is difficult to hold forth solemnly like a 
(parson) about the old Adam of the past So, dear 
Clara, I trust, that as you have forgiven me so 
often, you will pardon me once more, for all the 
cross-questioning in this letter. I will postpone the 
conversational movement until I get an answer, 
(though it should be but two lines), I mean for about 

1 She lived with the Wiecks. 



TO ERNESTINE VON FRICKEN. 237 

a week. But it might easily happen one of these 
days, that somebody should knock at your door, and 
when you say " Come in " he need hardly tell you his 
name : (Robert Schumann). 

Though I am in great haste, and full of business, I 
am going to add a sort of glossary to this letter, of 
all the illegible words, which I will put in parentheses, 
It will make the letter look very curious and quaint, 
and isn't such a bad idea. 

Addio, carissima Clara, cara Clarissima ! 

Really satisfied chords of the ninth pretty year 
Rosenthal chocolate was simpler proof 
sorry was Eusebius neatly make bright July 
evenings window right parson Robert Schu- 



A fc> 
mann. 



To ERNESTINE VON FRICKEN.' 

LeipsiCj July 28th, 1834. 

IF I might speak as I feel inclined, I would first of 
all thank my good genius for letting me make your 
acquaintance, my honoured friend, and then for bring- 
ing us nearer together by the happy event in the dear 
Wieck family. 2 Of course it is only a sort of external 
relationship, and I am too modest to think that you 
would care to acknowledge a deeper, more artistic, 
mental relationship. Still, however that may be, I 
shall never be able to repay that good genius for 

1 From his letter-book. 

2 They had been god-parents to one of Wieck's children. 



238 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

giving me an insight into such a glorious life as I had 
never dreamed of, and for bringing me among so 
many delightful people, who all love you so dearly, 
and will never forget you. 

If ever I could wish time to stand still, I would do 
so now, and if ever I closed a letter with the deepest 
devotion, I am doing so at this moment 

R. S. 



To HAUPTMANN VON FRICKEN/ Ascn. 2 

September, 1834. 

HONOURED Sir, 

During the last days of your stay here I was in such 
a whirl, that quiet conversation was simply not to be 
thought of I am very glad to have retained in your 
compositions a point of union with you. Whether 
you will forge that link into a chain, to bind us 
together even in absence, I do not know, but I hope so. 
I need not tell you that I was just as delighted with 
your artistic taste, as I was pleased to find how fresh 
and youthful was your love for art. Of course you 
know, without my having to confess it, what a deep 
interest I take in the artistic career of your admired 
Ernestine. How I wish that, in spite of the distance, 
she might always know when we were making some 
little progress ! 

1 From the letter-book. 

2 Asch was the town which afterwards became the occasion 
of the composition of the " Carnaval ; ' Op. 9. 



TO HAUPTMANN VON FRICKEN. 239 

I have carefully gone over your C sharp minor 
Variations. As I know their origin, it is easy to ex- 
cuse shortcomings. What seems like a mistake in 
the transcription, often proves quite correct in the 
original. True, the intrinsic beauty of an idea will 
always be the same, in whatever garb it is clothed, 
but different things require different treatment; one 
head will look better decked with diamonds, another 
with roses ; the flute must be treated differently from 
the violin, etc That is why your variations belong 
rather to the ethereal flute than to the matter-of-fact 
piano, Of course it is not easy to destroy all sugges- 
tions of the original instrument, and it would be foolish 
to expect you always to hit off the right way of doing 
it, when you do not even profess to have a thorough 
knowledge of the piano. I myself made the same 
mistake in my first book of Caprices, and for the sake 
of remaining faithful to the original, often left ineffec- 
tive passages for the piano unchanged ; but in the 
second book I knew better, and I am sure the original 
only gained by it. So much for the technical part of 
your variations. From the artistic point of view, I 
consider them far better. There is both character and 
good feeling in the theme, but I should like to leave 
out the introduction altogether, for besides beginning 
in an unrelated key, it contains too little preparation, 
indeed, it even lessens the impression which the grave 
simple theme would make if it began by itself. The 
inversion of the melody in the first bar seems like a 
continuation of something that has gone before, and 



240 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

ought to occur later on in the piece. As it is, one is 
in doubt which is the original theme, and which the 
inverted melody. I object also to the material of the 
theme, as savouring too much of a variation. The 
flute, \vith its long drawn notes, has doubtless ex- 
pressed what you meant far better (in spite of your 
unison). That is why I should like it simpler in fact, 
in its original form. My own idea as to what it should 
be is expressed in the enclosed, and perhaps Fraulein 
Ernestine will play it to you. I have always been 
very strict as regards themes ; because the entire con- 
struction depends upon them. 

The idea of a varying Ritornello is very good and 
uncommon. It is a sort of reflection, and gives more 
scope to the imagination, than when one is tied down 
by the theme. 

As to the variations themselves, I must bring a 
charge against you which the modern school are 
rather fond of making, namely, that they are too 
much alike in character. No doubt the subject ought 
always to be kept well in view, but it ought to be 
shown through different coloured glasses, just as there 
are windows of various colours which make the country 
look rosy like the setting sun, or as golden as a sum- 
mer morning, etc. I am now really arguing against 
myself, as I have actually been writing Variations l on 
your theme, and am going to call them " pathetic " : 
still if there is anything pathetic about them, I have 

1 The variations which appeared under the name " Etudes 
Symphoniques " (Op. 13). 



TO HAUPTMANN VON FR2CKEN. 241 

endeavoured to portray It In different colours. Per- 
haps you will let me show them to you before they 
are published. Anything else that seemed to me in- 
harmonious or involved in your composition, I have 
marked in the manuscript ; I trust it will soon appear 
in the sunshine of the world, i.e. in print. The old- 
fashioned progressions which Herr Wieck pointed out 
to you can easily be improved and modernized (I 
consider the words anything but synonymous) without 
deteriorating from the work. 

I wonder whether you will be vexed with me for 
making these remarks, but indeed I have not told 
you nearly all my thoughts about the matter. I am 
always pleased to see amateurs interested in art, 
especially when they take an active part in it, and 
when their opinions are as well founded as yours are. 
That is why I have criticized you so severely and 
frankly. 

If it interests you, it will be a great pleasure to me 
to send you news from time to time of our artistic 
doings. The latest and most important event is that 
old Ludwig Bohner gave a concert here yesterday. I 
suppose you are aware that in his palmy days he was 
as celebrated as Beethoven, and was the original of 
Hoffmann's Capellmeister Krelssler. But he looked 
so poverty-stricken that it quite depressed me. He 
was like an old lion with a thorn in his foot The day 
before yesterday, he improvised at my house for a few 
hours ; the old fire flashed out now and again, but on 
the whole it was very gloomy and dull. His former 

R 



242 SCHUMANN 'S EARLY LETTERS. 

life is now avenging itself. He used to jeer at the 
world with infinite boldness and arrogance, and now 
the tables are turned upon him. If I had time, I 
should like one day to write " Bolineriana " for our 
Paper, as I have heard a great deal about him from 
his own lips. His life contains so much that is both 
humorous and pathetic. For instance, one day he 
had arranged to give a concert at Oldenburg. The 
audience had assembled, and everyone was on the tip- 
toe of expectation, when presently he appeared in the 
organ gallery, and leaning over announced, " It is not 
possible for a Louis Bohner to play before such an 
idiotic audience." And that is the way he always goes 
on. If by any chance he had a successful concert, he 
would buy quantities of gold gimcracks, and then, if 
a friend came and reproached him for such folly, 
everything went flying out of the window like a shot. 
I know dozens of such stories about him. There 
is a pathetic touch about his latest works ; he seems 
dissatisfied with himself, and simply borrows ideas 
from other composers, so that you often get whole 
pages taken note for note from Don Giovanni, etc, 

Schunke has been staying with Kreishauptmann 
Welk, and I shall call for him there later on. To 
judge by his face, he has but few springs to look for- 
ward to. Perhaps only one more. 1 If you had stayed 
a little longer, you should have made the acquaintance 
of this splendid fellow. We have both got a good 

1 He actually died Dec. 7th of the same year. 



TO HIS MOTHER. 243 

deal more In us than we could show you in those few 
short hours. 

I am getting prosy. Let me ask you a few more 
questions. Are you quite well again ? This unrivalled 
summer ought to cure everything. Is your Ernestine 
working very hard ? Ask her from me to play scales 
every day for not more than a quarter of an hour, but 
to play them all, and take them fairly fast. Without 
fingers there would be no art, and Raphael and 
Mozart could never have existed* And don't let her 
quite forget her songs and ballads. Her voice Is 
really very sweet and flexible. I send my most 
respectful regards to the parents of such a glorious 



daughter. 



R. S. 



To HIS MOTHER. 



Friday, Sept 5th, II A.M. 
MY beloved and never-forgotten Mother, 
I shall be with you six hours after you get this letter* 
My old friend, Dr. Glock, will come with me, and 
Ernestine will arrive with her father at about eight in 
the evening. We shall say good-bye to one another 
at your house. Neither her father nor anybody else 
here knows anything of my journey. This midsum- 
mer romance Is probably the most extraordinary 
episode of my life. You will hardly believe that It was 
you who really brought about our engagement. I will 
tell you all about it when we meet. The enclosed 



244 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

letters will explain matters to a certain extent. Mind 
you tell Emily, as I want to introduce her to Ernestine. 
They are truly a couple of angels, both in heart and 
mind. Otherwise don't tell anybody at present, as I 
shall stay with you till Thursday under the strictest 
incognito. 

Your devoted child, 

ROBERT. 1 

To THE SAME. 

Leipsicj October ijtli, 1834. 
MY beloved Mother, 

What must you think of me ! Not a word of thanks 
have you had for your last comforting letter, and all 
your tender advice in the last days we spent together. 
I feel so painfully moved whenever I think of you, that 
yesterday I made the firm resolve to spend more time 
with you, and being together will be better than any- 
thing I can do at so great a distance. Would you be 
pleased to see me turn up as early as next week ? I 
am only waiting for a bright day, and then you shall 
have me with all my joys and sorrows. I have got 
such a lot to tell you ! The unhappy day is now ap- 
proaching when Rosalie died ; I cannot quite for- 
get her even now, and feel sure that I shall have some 
fits of melancholy, which separation from Ernestine 
will make rather worse than usual. I thank Heaven 

1 Schumann was engaged to Ernestine von Fricken,, but the 
engagement was broken off the following year. 



TO HENR1ETTE VOIGT. 245 

for giving me strength to tear myself away from here, 
and hope that being with you will make me quite well 
again. I am sure you will all be very kind to me. 
Will Therese be good enough to lend me her piano 
for a fortnight ? I shall want to try over some new 
works to be criticised in our Zeitung> and have got 
some of my own things to finish off. If she would 
rather not, I shall not be able to stay long, but other- 
wise you will not get rid of me for three weeks. To- 
day is Friday ; you may look out for me between 
Sunday and Tuesday. 

Ernestine writes long letters to me every week. 
Her love is a perfect godsend to me. The curious 
girl imagines that you cannot bear her. I am going 
to write to her to-day. When we meet we will talk it 
all over, see how things are going on, and settle how 
we are to communicate with one another, and all the 
rest of it. My servant is at my elbow, and my letter 
must go. 

With fondest love, 

YOUR ROBERT. 



To HENRIETTE VOIGT IN LEIPSIC. 

Zwickau, Nov. 2nd, 1834. 

I HAVE just been reading your old letter 

This sheet was really intended for Ernestine, May 
I confess to my dear Henriette, that I don't see the 
difference, whether I write to her or to you ? Even 



246 SCHUMANN^ EARLY LETTERS. 

Ludwig 1 remarked that you are really represented by 
me now ; consequently, at Zwickau, I am not myself, 
but you. In that case, how 1 wish I had some con- 
sideration for others, which shows itself in deeds 
instead of words ; some anxiety to write to a lonely, 
loving heart yes, I wish I were like you, whom I 
represent, in everything. I might easily make an 
excuse out of all this, and say: "One has enough 
letters to write as it is, for instance, to Henriette, and 
Ernestine, without having to write to oneself ; " but I 
think a simple appeal, such as " Do not be angry," 
will have more effect than anything. What is more, 
for years I don't remember a single letter of mine 
which does not begin with stupid excuses for my 
negligence, and I am sure that must be a great bore 
to my correspondents. 

My dear friend, I love and honour you enough to 
believe that you will not regard this silence as anything 
except a mere pause, which is a mute interruption, 
but by no means a cessation. I get poetical when I 
think of you, and my relations hear of it when I ex- 
press my thoughts. At such moments you stand before 
me like a vision, now thoughtful, now advising, some- 
times a trifle stern, but more often pleasant, and 
always kind and loving. Then Ernestine joins you, 
with her madonna-face, and her childlike devotion to 
me, as gentle and bright as the blue sky piercing the 
clouds like the eye of heaven ; and then Ludwig em- 
braces you with the tenderness which proclaims itself 

1 Ludwig Schunke. 



TO HENRIETTE VOIGT. 247 

in his looks, and the grief in his face which he meets 
with a noble disdain the group is complete. I must 
draw a veil over it for a few moments. ..... 

Nov. 5th, four days later. 

I arrived here on the Sunday after that Friday of 
our Good-byes. The proper thing would be, for the 
friend who is leaving never to be expected to write, for 
the one who remains is at all events surrounded by 
scenes which arrest the images of the past with far 
more certainty than the strongest imagination. He 
who goes away is distracted by new faces and new 
surroundings ; he is, as it were, between the past, 
present, and future, or rather just at the point where 
they all meet, and are mixed up in a singular fashion. 
In fact the detached link suffers far more than the 
rest of the chain from which it has been torn. 

7 th. 

Every moment increases my guilt. How I am 
haunted by your face and Ludwig's ! Now I am 
going to sit down with the firm resolve not to get up 
again till the letter is finished. 

If I could only be with you for a short time you 
would soon know a great deal more than I am able 
to tell you piecemeal in my letters. What a lot I did 
intend to do here ! How I meant to enter into corre- 
spondence with certain Leipsigers, and to work away 
at the Zeitung) and the "Ladies* Encyclopaedia;" 
but I have done nothing of the kind. My studies 
consist of writing to Ernestine, who sent me a letter to 



248 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

your address the day after I arrived. Since then 
there has been no end to the distractions. One sees 
such dozens of familiar faces in one's native town, and 
they all want a smile and a few words of recognition, 
from our old cook up to the Colonel's wife, What an 
amount of flattery and absurdity one has to listen to 
and to answer ! But now I am amply repaid by old 
kindred spirits turning up again, who have stood the 
test of separation for many years, and by finding my- 
self in my sweet native valley, where everything seems 
to look at me with familar eyes. One never learns 
these tilings, and yet all of us know them, for they are 
impressed upon us by habit. All this sort of thing 
does me good, but on the whole my state of mind is 
much the same as of old, and simply makes me shudder. 
I have really got a knack of retaining unhappy ideas ; 
it is my evil spirit who denies and ridicules any idea 
of external happiness. I often carry this self-inflicted 
torture to the verge of sinning against my entire 
existence, and then I get thoroughly dissatisfied with 
myself, and feel as if I should like to migrate into 
another body, or else keep rushing on for all eternity. 
Ernestine has written to me in great delight. She 
has sounded her father by means of her mother, and 
he gives her to me ! Henriette, he gives her to me I 
do you understand that ? And yet I am so wretched ; 
it seems as though I feared to accept this jewel, lest it 
should be in unworthy hands. If you ask me to put 
a name to my grief, I cannot do so. / think it is grief 
itself, and could not express my feelings more cor- 



TO HENRIETTE VOIGT. 249 

rectly ; but alas, It may be love itself, and a longing 
for Ernestine. And I really cannot stand it any longer, 
so have written to ask her to arrange a meeting one of 
these days. If you should ever feel thoroughly happy, 
then think of two souls who have placed all that is 
most sacred to them In your keeping, and whose future 
happiness is inseparably bound up with your own. 

How very confused my letter is to-day. But my 
fingers are itching to finish It off, and it shall leave 
the house this very hour. It was my turn to console 
you, and I have only given you dust and ashes. Tell 
me all you know about Ludwig, 1 and I shall write 
accordingly. How shall I ever bear the thought of 
giving him up ? If he should die, for Heaven's sake 
don't write and tell me, or cause me to be written to. 
I need hardly have told you this. 

I have just been looking up at the sky. It has 
struck five. White fleecy clouds are floating by. I 
see no light In your room, but can distinguish a 
delicate figure in the background, resting her head 
upon her hand. I see by her sad eyes that she Is 
wondering whether she can still believe in what are 
usually termed the most sacred ties those of love 
and friendship. I should like to approach and 
humbly kiss her hand, but she turns away. 
Well, remain true to me, dear friend. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

Schunke, then on his death-bed. TR. 



2so SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



To THE SAME. 

Zwickau, Nov. 24th, 1834. 

I AM like Cordelia, the last to bring you my wishes. 
Shall I repeat what people of far greater merit have 
expressed so far better ? 

And if you were Lear, and asked what I could wish 
you, I would answer, " Nothing, for that would be 
admitting that you did not possess everything." 

And then if you angrily insisted on my wishing 
you something, I would say, t( Everything, for indeed 
you deserve it." 

And if you were still not contented, I would say : 
" Well, I wish that you may always have something 
left to wish for;'' because I think it is a kind fate, 
which always creates a new wish in place of the one it 
has fulfilled. 

May it be so, my friend ! Let this be enough for 
you ! On such days, one would rather let one's eyes 
express all one feels, for we are forbidden to talk in 
church. 

My mother takes the liberty of supplementing her 
wishes by Bulwer's works, and Ernestine and I send 
the Allegro, and beg to assure you that the composer 
is better than his work, and not nearly as good as her 
to whom it is dedicated. 

All the rest shall follow next time. Many kind 
regards to the honoured H. Voigt. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 



TO JOSEPH FISCHHOF. 251 

To JOSEPH FISCHHOF IN VIENNA. 

Zwickau, Dec. I4th, 1834. 

HONOURED Sir, 

Our Ludwig Schunke is dead, or rather, he passed 
gently away. I think it is only right you should be 
told, as he so often spoke of you affectionately. You 
were the friend of that glorified youth, and will not 
take it amiss in a younger man, like myself, that I do 
not say more of this loss which the world and art have 
sustained. If in me who am left, you have hoped to 
find ever so little to make up for him whom you have 
lost, I will be the first to give you the grasp of friend- 
ship, in token of the bond which was begun and sancti- 
fied by our departed friend. 

My first petition is this, I should like to insert an 
In Memoriam of our Ludwig in the Zeitung, and 
though my heart should break, I will do it, and, if 
possible, it shall not be unworthy of him. Would you 
kindly let me know, as soon as may be, all you know 
of his life, especially about his visit to Hofrath S. at 
Vienna. 

Them, I need hardly mention, that I should like 
you to put a notice of his death into the Haslinger 
Anzeiger* He died on December /th. Among his 
works there is an excellent piano concerto, and twelve 
waltzes (the last things he wrote), on which his ap- 
proaching death seems to have cast a slight shadow, 
in spite of all their freshness. 

I have begun our friendship by asking favours, and 



252 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

now I am going to be bold enough to add a third to 
the preceding two. It is that you may continue to 
patronize our Zeitung, a youthful enterprise, which 
our friend helped in starting, with so much pleasure 
and energy. For reasons which I will explain later 
on, I must just now entreat you for some letters and 
essays. We could not have hit upon a more rascally 
publisher. If we don't make a change at Christmas, 
we certainly will at Easter. We have quite suffi- 
cient grounds of complaint to take the paper out of 
Harfmann's hands. He will doubtless resent it, and 
complications will arise. But the Paper certainly 
must not flag just now, when it is enjoying such a 
large circulation, I, for my part, will vouch for your 
being paid, without fail, for any work you may send 
in, and hope shortly to offer you the most advantageous 
conditions. Kindly send all contributions to my 
private address, Mile. Dumas, Quergasse, No. 1246, 
Leipsic. The editors would feel much obliged if you 
could give them the names of a few more contributors, 
who would understand the aims of our Paper. Seyfried 
has promised to contribute, but Kiesewetter has 
refused. 

Will the Haslinger Anzdger be continued ? As 
a small paper I prefer it to any other. Do you know 
who is my kind critic in No. 76 ? That sort of thing 
makes work a pleasure, and gives one bright ideas. 
I shall shortly send you two books of Intermezzi, a 
Toccata and an Allegro, and want your opinion of 
them. If you can manage one of these days to arrange 



TO CLARA WIECK. 253 



a meeting, accept my best thanks beforehand. There 
can be no Art without encouragement On the favourite 
lonely islands of the Pacific, Mozart and Raphael 
would have been mere clodhoppers. 

Excuse my hieroglyphics. I am longing for your 

answer. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN, 

We have had nothing from you since your last con- 
tribution at the beginning of October, Should Hart- 
mann have intercepted, or possibly returned one of 
your letters, let me know at once. 



To CLARA WIECK. 

Zwickau, Aug. 28th, 1835. 
(To Leipsic.) 

IN the midst of all the autumn festivities and other 
delights, an angel face is always peeping at me, and 
it is exactly like a certain Clara of my acquaintance. 
How shall I begin my narrative, without English 
machine-made note-paper, miles long ? And where 
shall I leave off ? If that be indeed the purest music, 
when Imagination, like Faust's mantle, is shrouding 
forms of strength and beauty our journey ought to 
have been delightful. Ulex will have told you some- 
thing about the first stage, although he knows little 
enough about it, because he was more lived upon than 
let to live. I wish you knew all about the second stage. 
In my mind's eye I see pigeon-shooting in one corner, 



254 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

in another a grand concert of Schinittbach's, then again 
a christening at Thierfelder's at Schneeberg (not to 
mention less important events, such as rat-hunts, 
potato-feasts, drinking-parties, and excursions). I 
thought men could only be found in Leipsic, and was 
pleased and surprised to meet with them elsewhere. 
. .- . . We have thought of you so much, and I must 
be utterly mistaken in all sympathetic influences, if I 
ana wrong in saying that we were quite as much in 
your thoughts. 

I don't know what you may have been doing, and 
yet I do know, too : Rosenthai in the morning, Rosen- 
thai in the afternoon, Kintschy 1 in the evening. How 
you would envy us (if you were capable of such a thing) 
if we could compare that with our delightful doings. 
Early in the morning a sun and air-bath on the top of 
a hill, in the afternoon a siesta in the valley, in the 
evening a ramble up hill and down dale with a lovely 
woman by one's side, namely Therese, on whom 
Renter's eyes rest occasionally in quiet admiration. I 
should like to describe Emily. Being near her makes 
one gentle and thoughtful, while Therese excites and 
captivates one. Both these Graces send greeting to 
their younger sister. You know how fond I am of 
you, so good-bye. 

ROBERT SCHUMANN. 

RS. It is nice that I should happen to write to 
you on Goethe's birthday. 

1 A restaurant in the Rosenthai. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 255 



To THE SAME. 

Waiting for the Zwickau coach, 10 p.m., 
Feb. 1 3th, 1836. 

I WAS terribly sleepy. I have been waiting two hours 
for the express coach. The roads are so bad that 

perhaps we shall not get away till two o'clock 

To-day I have been excited by various things ; the 
opening of my mother's will, hearing all about her 
death, etc, but your radiant image shines through the 
darkness and helps me to bear everything better. . . . 
At Leipsic my first care shall be to put my worldly 
affairs in order. I am quite clear about my heart 
Perhaps your father will not refuse if I ask him for his 
blessing. Of course there is much to be thought of 
and arranged. But I put great trust in our guardian 
angel Fate always intended us for one another. I 
have known that a long time, but my hopes were never 
strong enough to tell you and get your answer before. 

The room is getting dark. Passengers near 

me are going to sleep. It is sleeting and snowing 
outside. But I will squeeze myself right into a 
corner, bury my face in the cushions, and think only 

of you. 

YOUR ROBERT. 

You will get my next letter the day after your con- 
cert. Write to me often ; every day. 



EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS TO 
CLARA WIECK. 



EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS TO 
CLARA WIECK. 

Leipsic, Dec. 22nd, 1837. 
(To Vienna.) 

AMONG the thousand voices which are now joyfully 
calling to you, perhaps you may distinguish one which 
gently whispers your name. You look round, and 'tis 
I " You here, Robert ? " say you. Why not, when 
I never for a moment leave your side, and follow you 

everywhere, even though not seen by you ? 

Taglichsbecktold me you had played him the Sonata, 1 
and old Vieuxtemps talked of the Carnaval he had 
heard you play ; I was delighted to hear it. None of 
my things will really do for playing in public, but 
among the Phantasiestiicke there is one, "In der 
Nacht," and another, " Traumeswirren ;" they will be 
out soon, then just look at them. I am so deserted 
and lonely on my way that I often long to call you 
and ask for advice, for you have always understood 
me easily and gladly. Apropos, Liszt has written a 
long and very accurate article about me In the French 
paper ; it pleased and surprised me very much. If 
you see him in Vienna mind you greet him for this 
with one of your sweetest looks 

1 In F sharp minor Op, n. 



260 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

I saw a good deal of Vieuxtemps ; he has an 
artistic nature, and like all great people, catches one's 
eye at first sight, added to which he is uncommonly 
modest 

The other day I was at Miss Novello's ; we talked 
French. Even in German people can hardly get a word 
out of me, so I said precious little, and of the most 
commonplace kind. She has made herself very 
popular here, and is besides a blooming girl, as fresh 
as her voice. Moreover, a lot of young geniuses have 
arrived, who often come to see me. I certainly enjoy 
being among younger men than myself, although, 
curiously enough, I have all my life chosen older men 
for my friends. 

Leipsic, Jan. 5th, 1838. 

..... THE Davidsbiindler dances and Fantasie- 
stiicke will be finished in another week. There are 
many bridal thoughts in the dances, which were 
suggested 'by the most delicious excitement that I ever 
remember. I will explain them all to you one day. 
Fancy, Henselt has been herel Our first meeting 
was, I may say, like that of two brothers. I had not 
imagined him to be so strong, unaffected and sturdy- 
looking, and his opinions and ideas are quite in keep- 
ing with his appearance. But since then we have been 
getting more intimate from hour to hour, and although 
I really know very little about him, I am extremely 
fond of him. But I must tell you that as a player he 
far surpassed all that your accounts of him led me to 



TO CLARA WIECK, 261 

expect. Sometimes there is really something demoniac 
about him, rather like Paganini, Napoleon, or Madame 
Schroder. At other times he seemed like a trouba- 
dour, you know, with a lovely large cap and feathers. 
I thought more of him every hour. Only once or 
twice, when over- exerted with playing, I noticed that 
he seemed weaker, but on the whole he got better 
and better up to the moment of saying good-bye, and 
simply poured forth music in bucketfuls. 

Wednesday, 6 a.m. 

ALTOGETHER Grillparzer's poem is more beautiful 
than anything that has ever been written about you. 
It made me think how divine it is to be a poet, and be 
able to hit off the right thing in a few words to last 
for ever. Mendelssohn happened to be with me when 
I got it, and he said the same, " Schaferkind " ' c droop 
your white fingers/' It is all so delicate, and quite 
brings you before one. With the general public these 
few lines will do you more good than any amount of 
essays, however feelingly they are written, for even a 
common man stands in awe of the true poet, trusts 
him and does not oppose him. In short, the poem has 
made me happy, and if your lover, indeed anybody 
who is in love, could sing and write verses, he would like 
to have written some of the same kind. ..... Have 

you not received the " Davids-tanze ?" (one copy is in 
silver print). I sent them to you last Saturday week. 
You might patronise them a little, do you hear ? They 
are my particular property. But my Clara will under- 



262 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

stand all that Is contained in the dances, for they are 
dedicated to her, and that more emphatically than any 
of my other things. The whole story is a Poltera- 
bend?* and now you can imagine it all from the begin- 
ning to the end. If ever I was happy at the piano it was 

when I was composing those I have been 

revelling in Schubert's Duo, 2 but cannot consider it a 
regular piece for the piano* Still, I have sent to your 
mother's for the original manuscript 



Leipsic, Feb. nth, 1838. 
(To Vienna.) 

APROPOS, 1 should like soon to be off to Paris 

too ; what do you think ? For two months, perhaps. 
The letter from Simonin de Sir gave me great pleasure. 
Altogether, my compositions are making way here 
and there, I am glad to see ; and my style is far more 
free and clear, and, I think, more graceful. In fact, 
for the last year and a half, I have felt as though I 
possessed a secret* That sounds odd. There is still 
a great deal in me. If you remain faithful everything 
will come out, if not it will remain where it is. The 
next thing will be that I shall write three string- 
quartets Do let me know how you like the 

Phantasiestiicke, and Davidsbiindlertanze, but tell 



1 Eve of a wedding-day. TR. 

2 Grand Duo, Op. 146, dedicated by the publishers to Madame 
Schumann. It has since been instrumented by Joachim for the 
orchestra. TR. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 263 

me quite openly, and think of me not as your lover, 
but as your husband. Do you hear ? 

I should think you might play " Traumeswirren J> 
and " Des Abends " in public some day. I fancy that 
" In der Nacht " is too long. And tell me how my 
Etudes were received in Vienna. Do you hear? I 
have got nobody now with whom I can talk about 
art. You alone are left to me. 

I have just discovered that it strikes twelve at the 
end of the " Davids-tanze " : FEE 



Leipsic, March. i7th, 1838. 

Now we have only got to obtain the affection 

and confidence of your father, to whom I should so 
love to give that name, to whom I owe so many of 
the joys of my life, so much good advice, and some 
sorrow as well, and whom I should like to make so 
happy in his old days, that he might say : " What 
good children ! " If he understood me better he would 
have saved me many worries, and ivould never have 
written me a letter which made me two years older. 
Well, it is all over and forgiven now ; he is your father, 
and has brought you up to be everything that is 
noble ; he would like to weigh your future happiness, 
as in a pair of scales, and wishes to see you just as 
happy and well protected as you have always been 
under his fatherly care, I cannot argue with him, 
and feel sure that he wants to secure you every earthly 
happiness. I will whisper a word in your ear, I love 



264 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



and honour your father for his many good and 
splendid qualities, far more than anybody else can do, 
excepting yourself. Like all fine energetic natures, 
he inspires me with a deep and spontaneous affection 
and submission. So I am doubly grieved that he will 
have nothing to say to me. 

But perhaps Peace may yet descend upon us, and 
say, " Well, take one another." 

Saturday. 

I HAVE found out that nothing sharpens 

one's imagination so much as to be, expecting and 
longing for something, and this has been my case 
for the last few days. I have been waiting for 
your letter, and consequently have composed books- 
full of things, wonderful, crazy, and solemn stuff; 
you will open your eyes when you come to play it. In 
fact, sometimes I feel simply bursting with music. But 
before I forget it, let me tell you what else I have 
composed. Whether it was an echo of what you said 
to me once, " that sometimes I seemed to you like a 
child," anyhow, I suddenly got an inspiration, and 
knocked off about thirty quaint little things, from 
which I have selected twelve, and called them 
" Kinderscenen." They will amuse you, but of course 
you must forget that you are a performer. They 
have titles such as " Fiirchtenmachen," "Am Kamin," 
" Haschemann," " Bittendes Kind," " Ritter vom 
Steckenpferd," "Von fremden Landern," "Curiose 
Geschichte," etc., and I don't know what besides. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 265 

Well, they all explain themselves, and what's more 
they are as easy as possible. But I say, Clara, what 
are you coming to ? You tell me to write quartets, 
" but please let them be very clear ; " why, that sounds 
like a Dresden Fraulein ! Do you know what I said 
to myself when I read that ? " Yes, so clear, that she 
shall not know whether she is on her head or her 
heels." And then, "Do you thoroughly understand 
the instruments ? " Why of course I do, young lady, 
else how should I dare attempt it ? But I must praise 
you all the more for thinking of Zurnsteeg in " Ende 
vom Lied." When I was composing it I must confess 
that I thought : " Well, the end of it all will be a 
jolly wedding," but towards the end, my sorrow about 
you came over me again, so that wedding and funeral 
bells are all ringing together. 

I am very much pleased to hear that you are reading 
the " Flegeljahre." As it is for the first time, do not worry- 
too long over certain passages if you don't understand 
them at once, First try to get a general impression 
of the whole book, and then begin it over again. It 
is in its way rather like the Bible. When you come to 
this passage : ct I say Walt, I am sure I love you better 
than you love me. No, screamed Walt, I love you 
best/' then think of me. Send me a kind word to let 

me know how you like it If you only knew 

how I value your opinions, not only in Art, but 
in everything, and how much your letters cheer me 
up ! So tell me about all that goes on round you, 
about people, towns, and customs. You are very 



266 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

sharp-sighted, and I love to follow you in your re- 
flections. It does not do to get too much absorbed in 
self and one's own interests, as one is then very apt to 
lose all insight and penetration into the outer world. 
There is so much beauty, richness and novelty in this 
world of ours. If I had said that oftener to myself 
in former days, I should have done more, and should 
have got on further. 

You are pretty right about the last movement of 
the Sonata, 1 It displeases me to such a degree (with 
the exception of certain passionate moments), that 
I have discarded it altogether. And I have come 
back to my original conception of the first movement, 
which you have not heard, but I am sure you will 
like it. The third Sonata is in F minor, and quite 
different from the others. I have besides finished a 
Fantasie in three movements, which I had sketched 
out, all but the details, in June, 1836. I think the 
first movement is more impassioned than anything I 
have ever written, it is one long wail over you. The 
others are weaker, though nothing to be ashamed of. 

I am not surprised to hear that you cannot compose 
just now, when there is so much going on at home. 
To be able to compose successfully one wants happi- 
ness and perfect solitude. 

Do you always play your Concerto to suit yourself ? 
Some of the ideas in the first movement are perfect 



1 He probably meant the Sonata in G minor, to which he 
afterwards wrote another last movement. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 267 

gems, but somehow it did not give me an impression 
of completeness. When you are at the piano I don't 
seem to know you. My opinion is quite impartial 

I should like you to study fugue, as there are some 
good theoretical musicians at Vienna. Don't fail to 
avail yourself of it, if you have the chance. Bach is 
my daily bread ; he comforts me and gives me new 
ideas. I think it was Beethoven who said ; " Com- 
pared to him * we are all children/ 3 

You were wise not to play my Etudes. 2 That 
sort of thing is not suited for the general public, and 
it would be very weak to make a moan afterwards, 
and say that they had not understood a thing which 
was not written to suit their taste, but merely for 
its own sake. But I confess, it would be a great de- 
light to me if I ever succeeded in writing something, 
which when played by you would make the public 
dance with delight, for we composers are all of us vain, 
even when we have no reason to be so. You pass 
over the Davidsbiindlertanze very lightly ; I think 
they are quite different from the Carnaval, compared 
to which they are what a face is to a mask. But I 
may be mistaken, as I have not forgotten them yet. 
All I know is that they were written in happiness, 
and the others in toil and sorrow* 

I am myself looking forward to the quartets. The 

1 Beethoven said this about Handel on his deathbed, on 
getting a present from London of Arnold's edition. TR. 

2 Etudes Symphoniques, 



268 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. k 

piano is getting too limited for me. In my latest com- 
positions I often hear many things that I can hardly 
explain. It is most extraordinary how I write almost 
everything in canon, and then only detect the imitation 
afterwards, and often find inversions, rhythms in con- 
trary motion, etc. I am paying great attention to 
melody now, as you may have found out Much can 
be done on this point by industry and observation. 
But of course by "melody" I mean something different 
from Italian airs, which always seem to me like the 
songs of birds, pretty to listen to, but without any 
depth or meaning. 

Leipsic, April i3th, 1838* 

How full of music I am now, and always such lovely 
melodies! Only fancy, since my last letter I have 
finished another whole book of new things. You and 
one of your ideas are the principal subject, and I shall 
call them " Kreisleriana," and dedicate them to you ; 
yes, to you, and to nobody else; and you 'will smile 
so sweetly when you see yourself in them. Even to 
myself my music now seems wonderfully intricate 
in spite of its simplicity ; its eloquence comes straight 
from the heart, and every one is affected when I play 
before people, as I often do now, and like to do. 
And when you are standing by me, as I sit at the 
piano, then we shall both cry like children I know 

I shall be quite overcome That Fantasia 

of Liszt's was the most wonderful thing I have ever 



TO CLARA WIECK. 269 

heard you play. Play him the Toccata, and the 
Etudes, which he does not know yet, and call his 
attention to the Paganini Etudes. The Kinder- 
scenen will probably be finished by the time you 
arrive ; I am very fond of them, and make a great im- 
pression when I play them, especially upon myself. 
The next things to be printed are some Fantasias, but 
to distinguish them from the Phantasie-Stiicke I 
have called them Ruine, Siegesbogen und Sternbild, 
and D^cht^mgen^ It was a long time before I could 
think of that last word. It strikes me as being a very 
refined and most characteristic title for a piece of music. 
But you must have patience with me sometimes, 
and often scold me. I have got plenty of faults, tho' 
less than I used to have. Our having had to wait so 
long has had some advantages : we shall have got over 
a good deal that other people experience after mar- 
riage. I have just noticed that marriage is a very 



musical 2 word, and a fifth too : [TT: 



But to return to my faults ; I have got one detestable 
habit, namely, showing my affection for people I love 
most, by playing them all sorts of tricks. For instance, 
supposing there is a letter which I ought to have 
answered long ago. You might say, "Dear R., do 

1 Ruins, Triumphal Arch and Star-pictures, and Poems. 
Phantasie, Op. 17. 

2 Ehe 9 the German for marriage. 



2/o SCHUMANN^ EARLY LETTERS. 

answer that letter, it has been lying there such a 
time " but do you suppose I should do it ? No such 
thing. I would sooner make all sorts of pretty ex- 
cuses, etc. Then I have got another very saucy 
trick : I am one of the greatest admirers of beautiful 
women ; I simply delight in them, and revel in 
praising your sex. So if ever we are walking together 
through the streets of Vienna, and meet somebody 
pretty, and I should exclaim, " Oh, Clara, look at 
that divine creature," or something of that sort, you 
mustn't be alarmed, or scold. 

Now just look at your old Robert. Is he not just 
the same trifler, joker, and teller of ghost stories ? But 
I can be very serious too, and sometimes for days 
together ; but don't let that alarm you, for it is only 
when my mind is at work, and I am full of ideas 
about music and my compositions. I am affected by 
everything that goes on in the world, and think it 
all over in my own way, politics, literature, and 
people, and then I long to express my feelings and 
find an outlet for them in music. That is why my 
compositions are sometimes difficult to understand, 
because they are connected with distant interests ; and 
sometimes striking, because everything extraordinary 
that happens impresses me, and impels me to express 
it in music. And that is why so few [modern] compo- 
sitions satisfy me, because, apart from all their faults 
of construction, they deal in musical sentiment of the 
lowest order, and in commonplace lyrical effusions. 
The best of what is done here does not equal my 



TO CLARA WIECK. 271 

earliest musical efforts. Theirs may be a flower, 
but mine is a poem, and infinitely more spiritual ; 
theirs is a mere natural impulse, mine the result of 
poetical consciousness. I do not realise all this while 
I am composing ; it only comes to me afterwards ; 
you, who are at the top of the tree, will understand 
what I mean. And I cannot talk about it ; in fact, I 
can only speak of music in broken sentences, tho' I 
think a great deal about it In short, you will find 
me very serious sometimes, and will not know what 
to make of me. Then, you must not watch me too 
closely when I am composing ; that would drive me 
to desperation ; and for my part, I will promise you, 
too, only very seldom to listen at your door. Well, we 
shall indeed lead a life of poetry and blossoms, and we 
will play and compose together like angels, and bring 

gladness to mankind 

I have not been to see Mendelssohn very often, he 
generally conies to me. He is certainly the most emi- 
nent man I have met. I have heard people say that he 
is not sincere with me. I should be very grieved to 
think so, as I feel that I have become very fond of 
him, and have let him see it. But one of these days, 
tell me all you know. At all events, it will make me 
careful, and I will not waste my affection, when 
perhaps hard things are said of me behind my back. I 
know exactly what he is to me in music, and could 
go on learning from him for years. But he can also 
learn something from me. If I had grown up under 
the same circumstances as he did, and had been des- 



272 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

tined for music from childhood, I should now beat 
every one of you ; I can feel that in the energy of my 
ideas. Well, every one's life has something peculiar 
about it, and I will not complain of mine. My father, 
a man whom you would have honoured if you had only 
seen him, saw through me very early, and intended 
me for a musician, but my mother would not allow it 
Afterwards, however, she spoke very kindly, and even 
approvingly of my change of career. 

Easter Tuesday, 1838, 

... IT is very curious, but if I write much to you, 
as I am doing now, I cannot compose. The music all 
goes to you 

April 2oth, 1835. 

I WILL copy you a poem from the " West-ostlicher 
Divan 5> which refreshed me over my coffee this morn- 
ing. You want coffee to appreciate it properly, for 
Goethe has quite lost himself in Oriental customs and 
feelings. Up to the present it is the most subtle 
thing in all German literature. Listen to this : 

" Great is the pleasure in life, 

Greater the pleasure of living. 

When thou, Suleika, 

Dost make me supremely happy, 

Dost throw me thy love 

Like a ball, 

That I may catch it 

And send thee back 



TO CLARA WIECK. 273 

My devoted self, 

What a moment that is ! 

Then from thee I am torn, 

Now by Frank, now by Armenian : 

But not for days 

Nor for years can I create afresh 

Thy thousand-fold charms, 

Or loosen the glistening threads of my fortune, 

Woven in numberless strands 

By thee, oh Suleika! 

Here in return 

Are poetical pearls, 

Cast on the barren shore 

Of rny life 

By the strong tide 

Of thy passion ; 

Carefully gathered 

By delicate fingers, 

Strung on a golden thread 

For thy neck, 

For thy bosom ! 

The raindrops of Allah 

Matured in the humble oyster. 

Is not that fine? Don't you ever write poetry, 
Clara? No, for you are a poem yourself. . * . But 
here is another from the " Divan :" 

SULEIKA* 

With what inward joy, sweet lay, 

I thy meaning have descried ; 
Lovingly thou seem'st to say, 

That Pm ever by his side, 

That he ever thinks of me, 
That he to the absent gives 
T 



274 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

All his love's sweet ecstasy, 
While for him alone she lives. 

Yea, my heart, It is the mirror, 

Friend, where thou thyself hast seen ; 

This the breast, on which thy signet, 
Kiss on kiss impressed has been. 

Sweet inventing, truth unfeigned, 

Bind me close in sympathy, 
Love's serenity embodied 

In the garb of poesy. 

I have just had a visit from a little boy belonging 
to the house (they come and see me sometimes), and 
he said "he could write, too/' whereupon he executed 
some pot-hooks and hangers, and then asked me to 
tell him what he had written. Isn't that good ! That 
boy was evidently of opinion that letters existed long 
before thoughts. I could not help laughing 

April 2 ist, 1838. 
* # # # * 

I HAVE just got a letter from Kragen. He says all 
sorts of kind things about the Phantasiestiicke, and 
quite raves about them in his own way. He con- 
siders " Die Nacht " noble and beautiful, and says it is 
his favourite, and I think it is mine too. After I had 
finished it, I found, to my delight, that it contained 
the story of Hero and Leander. Of course you know 
it, how Leander swam every night through the sea to 
his love, who awaited him at the beacon, and showed 
him the way with lighted torch. It is a beautiful, 



TO CLARA WIECK. 275 

romantic old story. When I am playing " Die 
Nacht " I cannot get rid of the idea ; first he throws 
himself into the sea ; she calls him, he answers ; he 
battles with the waves, and reaches land in safety. 
Then the Cantilena, when they are clasped in one 
another's arms, until they have to part again, and he 
cannot tear himself away, until night wraps every- 
thing in darkness once more. Do tell me if the music 
suggests the same things to you. 

Fischhof wrote to me that he had heard of 

Liszt's having played the Phantasiestiicke in such 
an extraordinary way. Tell me all about it. I hear 
so little about my compositions, and that worries 
me sometimes. You are the only one who has ever 
cheered me by many a kind word. I hope you will 
continue to do so 

Leipsic, May jotb, 1838. 

YOUR father calls me phlegmatic ? Carnaval 

and phlegmatic ! F sharp minor Sonata and phlegm- 
atic ! Being in love with such a girl and phlegmatic ! 
And you can listen calmly to all this ? He says that 
I have written nothing in the Zeitung for six weeks. 
In the first place, that is not true ; secondly, even if 
it were, how does he know what other work I have 
been doing ? And after all, where am I always to get 
something to write about ? Up to the present the 
Zeitung has had about eighty sheets of my own 
Ideas, not counting the rest of my editorial work, be- 
sides which I have finished ten great compositions in 



276 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

two years, and they have cost me some heart's blood. 
To add to all this, I have given several hours' hard 
study every day to Bach and Beethoven, and to my 
own work, and conscientiously managed a large cor- 
respondence, which was often very difficult and com- 
plicated. I am a young man of twenty-eight with a 
very active mind, and an artist to boot ; yet for eight 
years I have not been out of Saxony, and have been 
sitting still, saving my money, without a thought 
of spending it on amusement or horses, and quietly 
going my own way as usual And do you mean to 
say that all my industry and simplicity, and all that 
I have done, is quite lost upon your father ? 

One would always wish to be modest, but people 
don't give one a chance ; so, for once in a way, I have 
been singing my own praises. Now you know 
what to think of me, and what you have got to 
expect 

Leipsic, July 13th, 1838. 

. .... I HAVE come across a great celebrity 1 this 
week ; you will have seen his name in the paper, 
Hirschbach. He puts me in mind of Faust and the 
black arts* The day before yesterday we played 
some quartets of his. They were wanting in form, 
but the inspiration and high ambition they contained 
are more tremendous than anything I have ever met 
with. He goes rather upon the same lines as I do, 

1 Alas for "celebrity!" TR. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 277 

and has various moods, but he is much more pas- 
sionate and tragical than I am. His form is quite 
new, as is his treatment of the quartet One or two 
things took a great hold upon me. One overlooks 
such small faults where there is so much overwhelming 
richness of imagination. He has also an overture to 
Hamlet, and ideas for au oratorio on " Paradise Lost/ 1 
The quartets are scenes from Faust. There is a pic- 
ture for you ! Added to that the deepest romantic 
sentiment, joined to the greatest simplicity and touch- 
Ing truthfulness. 

Vienna, Oct. 8th, 1838. 

I SUPPOSE you got my letter from Prague all right, 
I should like to tell you many things, both grave and 
gay, that happened during the journey. The sky was 
so beautifully clear and blue that the earth might 
have been reflected in it I looked much about me, 
both right and left. You had travelled the same road 
under much more doubtful circumstances, and there 
was not a moment that I did not think of you. Added 
to that came thoughts of the important steps I was 
about to take, of our late parting, the hope of success, 
and a feeling of self-confidence. It was more than a 
mere journey ; it divided my whole life into two 
halves ; may Heaven guide it all to happiness and 

peace, for I could not stand such discord long 

The young musicians of Prague were a great amuse- 
ment to me. They are very good-natured crea- 
tures, but are always talking about themselves, and 



278 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

praising one another's idylls and compositions, 
although each one thinks in his own heart that 
he is the best among them. I have not found a scrap 
of geniality ; H. seems to be the mot interesting. ' 
On Monday evening they all assembled at my 
HdteL A certain Dr. K., who had begun by being 
extremely arrogant at the very beginning of our ac- 
quaintance, wanted to go on in a similar vein, and 
give me good advice, until at last I got up, took him 
down as he deserved, and went away. That made a 
great sensation. He came to my room, almost in 
tears, and begged my pardon. It was a most stormy 
episode ! 

I can see this much, that the Zeitung must be 
edited in quite a different way here to its own loss, 
and that of all good people. More of this later. And 
it is quite an open question whether I shall get per- 
mission or not And I am beginning to wonder what 
is to be done next Shall I trust myself to Haslinger? 
He has behaved well, and been very kind. But I 
purposely told him nothing of my plans, for one must 
not expect too much at once. But it will all be 
decided in the next few days. To-day I am going to 
see Prince Schonburg, and Sedlnitzki, who has pro- 
mised to patronize me. You shall hear from me as 
soon as I can send you some good news. 

Vesque 1 is now my favourite of them all. It is 
rather unfortunate that his opera is just being brought 

1 Vesque von Putlingen, 



TO CLARA 'WIECK. 279 

out. It contains <many pretty bits, but Is a great mix- 
ture of good intentions coupled with incompetency, 
and of ability and indolence ; indeed, it is written in 
every possible sort of style and form. He himself 
calls it an experiment 

Monday afternoon. 

FIRST I must tell you the good news, that Sedlnitzki 
received me most kindly, and promised me his assist- 
ance. This letter was to have gone to-day, but I was 
so worn out by the great strain of the last few days, 
the continual worry about our future, seeing so many 
strangers, and running about so much in this great 
city, that I had to go and lie down. 

Well, S. said that there would be no difficulty as 
soon as Haslinger consented to be publisher, and that 
I must address myself to him first. He said it would 
be a different thing if my name were to appear as 
editor, and that there had never been an instance of 
that post having been given to & foreigner? He added 
that if I wished for this they would first have to make 
particular enquiries about my position, etc., which would 
all take up a lot of time. Then I went to see Vesque 
at the Staatskanzlei, 2 and he was very much pleased 
that S. had not refused point blank, at all events, and 
finally advised me, in case Haslinger should not 
accede to our request, to become an Austrian. That is 
how matters stand, and it all promises to be very long- 

1 That is, a North. German. 

2 The Treasury. 



2 8o SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

winded. The first thing I shall do to-morrow is to 
speak to Haslinger. It goes rather against my grain ; 
he is in a certain set, of which you know something 
too, and no doubt he will want to bring his influence 

to bear on the Zeitung. I have become quite 

serious, and have not felt any of the cheerfulness of 
Vienna 

Vienna, Nov. 3rd, 1838. 

So it is to be Vienna for certain, and I 

shall do my utmost to ensure you a happy future 
here, / am only sorry for my dear Zeititng* To judge 
by my present experience, and by all that I have 
seen with my own eyes, it is hardly possible (owing 
to the oppression from above) for anything poetical, 
life-like, and unaffected to exist here. And yet 
I have made up my mind to have the Zeititng pub- 
lished here, either after the New Year, or else during 
July, 1839. I will try it, at all events. But if they 
clip my wings to such an extent as to make Leipsic 
and North Germany call me cowardly, weak, and 
quite changed, then I really shall be at a loss what to 
do, 

Vienna, Oct. 23rd, 1838. 
(To Paris,) 

THE business of the Zeitung has turned out just as 
I expected. I could not agree with Haslinger. He 
wanted to be absolute proprietor of the paper and 
not leave Friese to be manager for North Germany, 



TO CLARA WmCK. 281 

which, of course, I could not allow So I applied 

to Gerold, a dear, worthy old man, who will manage 
the paper in Friese's interest, and his name will 

appear on the title page as publisher 

I will tell you something about myself. I like being 
among noble and highborn people, as long as they 
want nothing more of me than simple politeness. I 
certainly cannot be always flattering, and bowing 
and scraping, and am quite ignorant of all tricks of 
manner. But where real artistic simplicity is tolerated, 
I feel quite comfortable, and can express myself very 
fairly. I merely mean to say by all this that by-and- 
bye it will be a real pleasure to me to escort you here 
there arid everywhere, if you should wish me to. 
And you will manage all the rest, for I know per- 
fectly well that you can behave like a princess if 
necessary 

Vienna, Thursday, Oct. 25th, 1838. 

I HAVE seen a good deal lately of men and 

things, have made myself familiar with all existing 
circumstances, and have looked about wherever I 
could hope to find anything that would be of use to 

us There is no lack of good feeling, but a great 

want of public spirit and co-operation. The petty 
cliques must be broken up, and the various parties 
brought nearer together ; but all must be done openly 
and honestly. Vienna possesses more means than 
perhaps any other town, but a head is wanted, such as 



282 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

Mendelssohn, who would be able to amalgamate and 
govern them. And the people here like being led, 
and listen attentively when anything is properly put 
before them, and some of the better sort actually hope 
for some Messiah, to whom they might offer crown 
and sceptre at once. So I am sure there would be 
plenty of scope for the Zeitung, but the Censure l is a 
great obstacle. You would not believe to what an 
extent it prevails here, and how much mischief it can 
do. I hear the same thing on all sides, and Haslinger, 
when speaking on the subject, said, " Mark my words, 
you will regret ever having come here." 

Friday, Oct. 26th, 1838. 

I LIKE Thalberg very much ; there is some- 
thing modest and simple (in a good sense) about him, 
and he is a splendid player who will bear comparison 
with any of you. I found nothing cavalier-like about 

him, except the beauty of his rooms He seemed 

equally pleased with me, so I expect we shall see a 

good deal of one another At the theatre I am 

immensely amused by the orchestra, the chorus, and 
the soloists. Mdlle. Liitzer is frightfully stagey. I 
cannot endure her curtseys, and her cringing humility 
when she has been singing well, for she does know 
how to sing, and has breath enough for two. But as 
I said before, I should not like to have such a woman 

1 The Government department for licensing the publication 
of books. TR. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 285 

for my wife. Mdlle. Gentiluomo Is a fascinating 
creature, and in Vesque's opera she looks so pretty 
one would really like to kiss her. I certainly consider 
Wild the most talented artist at the Kdrnthnerthor 
theater. .... I also saw Taglioni. She did not en- 
chant me much, but soothed me wonderfully* She 
pacifies rather than excites one, and that in quite 
a peculiar, yet perfectly natural manner. Every- 
thing she did was novel, and yet it was known to 
everybody. You see that is her secret. I send you a 
few flowers from the graves of Beethoven and Schu- 
bert. On Beethoven's grave I found a pen, and a 
steel one to boot. Wasn't that nice ? 

Monday, Dec. 3rd, 1838-. 

I SPENT a pleasant evening with Herr von 

Sonnleithner ; they did Handel's "Judas Maccabseus," 
and I made the acquaintance of Kiesewetter and 
Grillparzer. I also liked a certain Baron Pasqualati l 
very much ; he gave some concerts once, each of which 
cost him over 300 florins, and he himself was the only 
listener. I have not yet come across a younger man> 
such as Bennett, and have to keep all my best thoughts 
to myself. Thalberg lives too far off, and that is why 
we have not met for four weeks. To-night I shall 
meet him at Dessauer's ; to-morrow he starts for 

1 The man in memory of whose wife Beethoven wrote the 
beautiful Elegischer Gesang (Op. 1 18}, and to whom he dedicates 
the work as " his honoured friend." TR. 



284 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

Berlin, etc., by way of Leipsic. He played beautifully 
at his concerts, but, do you know, his compositions lack 
real vitality. Between ourselves, dear Clara, I like 
you ten times better, I mean as an artist, and many 
people here share my opinion. It sometimes makes 
me unhappy that I have got a disabled hand, especially 
now that I am here. And I must tell you that it 
keeps getting worse. I often complain bitterly, and 
exclaim, " Good heavens ! why should this have be- 
fallen me ? " It would have been such a great advan- 
tage to me just now to have had the use of my hands; 
I am so full of real genuine music that it is like the 
breath of my nostrils, and as it is I can barely manage 
to pick it out, and my fingers stumble over one another. 
It is very dreadful, and has often caused me much 
pain. 

Well, after all, you are my right hand, and mind 
you take care of yourself, so that nothing happens to 
you. What happy hours you will give me by your 
art I I often think of that. Are you still very indus- 
trious ? I am sure you are, and very happy too, now 
that you stand on your own feet, and perhaps you will 
be still more so when somebody belongs to you for 
good, somebody who understands you, and can follow 
you up hill and down dale. And how are you getting 
on with your writings and compositions ? 

I should like to give you one piece of advice : 

do not improvise too much. A great deal is wasted in 
that way which might be turned to better account. 
Make up your mind always to write down everything 



TO CLARA WIECK. 285 

at once ; it enables you to concentrate your ideas 
more and more. Of course I know what you want 
more than anything to finish a piece satis factorily, 
and that is peace and quiet. Perhaps we shall have 
that too some day 

I have composed but very little since I have been 
here, and feel as if niy hand had lost its cunning. But 
I know this sort of mood, and shall be all the better 
for it afterwards. Vienna shall not make me slothful 
I think I can promise you that much. 

...,! often enjoy myself at the Burgtheater^ 
but of course it is very expensive. Mdlle. Pech is 
quite my style, and I feel I could love her passion- 
ately. Reichel has got glorious eyes, and knows it. 
There are no end of real artists at that theatre. 
Mdlle. Rettich has been ill for weeks, that is why I 
have not gone. 

Vienna, Dec, 29th, 1838. 

I SHOULD like to confide a good deal more 

to you about myself and my character, and tell you 
how people sometimes cannot make me out, and how 
I often accept signs of the deepest affection with cold- 
ness and reserve, and constantly offend arid repulse 
the very people who have the kindest intentions 
towards me. I have so often wondered why this 
should be so, and reproached myself with it ; for in my 
self I feel the smallest kindness, and appreciate every 
look, and the faintest movement of the heart ; and 
yet I am so often wanting in words and forms \ But 



286 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

you will know how to treat me, and will forgive me, I 
am sure. For I have not got a bad heart, and love 
all that is good and beautiful with my whole soul 
Well, enough said ; only sometimes thoughts of our 
future come upon me, and I should like our hearts 
to be as open as the hearts of a couple of children 
who have no secrets from one another. ..... I am 

reported to have said at Prague that I could write 
Mozart's G minor symphony in my sleep. Some 
storyteller invented that, for you know how modest I 
am with regard to the great masters. 

Jan. 24th, 1839. 

I FEEL so strangely sad to-day. It is gray wintry 
weather, the streets are so quiet, and you are on your 
travels. I spent the whole of last week in composing ; 
but there is no genuine pleasure in my thoughts, and 
no beautiful melancholy either. I have already told 
you about the Concerto ; it is something between a 
Symphony, a Concerto, and a big Sonata. I feel that 
I cannot write a Concerto for the virtuoso, I must 

think of something else Otherwise I have 

finished Variations, but not on any theme, and "Guir- 
lande," x as I am going to call it, everything is inter- 
woven in such a peculiar way. Then there is a 
Rondolette, a little thing, and I am going to take 
all the small pieces, of which I have so many, run 

1 Probably the piece which was published under the name of 
Arabeske/ 5 Op. 18. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 287 

them neatly together, and call them, " Kleine Blumen- 
"stiicke," as if they were pictures. Do you like the 
name ? 

Dear Clara, I trust you will allow me to make one 
remark. You often play the Carnaval to people 
who know nothing at all about me. Would not the 
Phantasiestiicke be more appropriate ? In the 
Carnaval one piece always counteracts the last, a 
thing which everyone does not appreciate ; but in 
the Phantasiestiicke one can indulge oneself so deli- 
ciously; however, do exactly as you like. I some- 
times fancy that you value the qualities which you 
yourself possess as a girl, too little In music. I mean 
sweetness, simple amiability, and natural simplicity. 
You would rather have continual thunder and lightning, 
and always something fresh, which has never been 
done before. But there are likewise some eternal old 
traditions and moods, which must influence us. The 
romantic element does not depend upon figures and 
forms ; it will always appear if the composer is any- 
thing of a poet. I would make all this much clearer 
to you on the piano, and with a few " Kinderscenen." 
But what I am rather afraid of sometimes is this : 
We may perhaps have regular disputes occasionally 
over our musical opinions, which are such a sore 
point with everybody. On such occasions show me a 
little indulgence, for when I am in a temper I can say 
the most cutting things. One thing more (I am lec- 
turing you once in a way), whatever you do, never 
again call me Jean Paul the second, or Beethoven 



288 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

the second ; I feel that I should simply hate you 
if you did. I want to be ten times less than other 
people, and only be worth something to myself. 

Vienna, March nth, 1839. 

I HAVE been all the week at the piano, com- 
posing, writing, laughing and crying, all at once. 
You will find this state of things nicely described in 
my Op. 20, the IC Grosse Humoreske," which is already 
at the printers. You see how quickly I always work 
now. I get an idea, write it down, and have it 
printed ; that's what I like. Twelve sheets composed 
in a week you will forgive me, won't you, that I 
have kept you waiting a little while ? 

How is it, I wonder, that my particular friends 
please you so little ? It grieves me, though I don't 
want to hurt your feelings by saying it But you 
should not give way to mere antipathy, and ought 
to be able to account to yourself for not liking this, 
that, or the other one. I am not fond of demonstra- 
tions of friendship either ; still, where I see fine quali- 
ties, I freely acknowledge them, and if I cannot make 
a friend of the artist, I do of the man, and vice 
versa. ..... 

Well, have you got the Kinderscenen ? How do 
you like them? Mind you play "Bittendes Kind/' 
" Kind in Einschlummern," and "Der Dichter spricht/* 
just twice as slow. Isn't this impertinent of me ? But 
I know you, Clarchen, and your impetuosity ! 



TO CLARA WIECK. 289 



Prague, April yth, 1839. 

..... OLE BULL has given another very brilliant 
concert. You have not heard him yet, I fancy. He 
is quite among the first y and yet is a student stilL 
Do you understand that ? I cannot say that I do, 
and yet it is so. He is equal to Paganini in his ex- 
traordinary execution and purity of intonation, and 
far above Lipinski. Mayseder is a child by the 
side of him, although he is a more perfect man. 
Mayseder has understood and accomplished his object 
in life, while Ole Bull has not reached the goal yet, 
and I fear never will. His style of composition is still 
very rough, but there are momentary flashes. It is 
not to be described. But I know that some of his 
chords would go to your heart 

I told you about a presentiment I had. It haunted 
me from the 24th to the 2/th of March, while I was ab- 
sorbed in my new composition. There is a passage in 
it which always kept coming back to me, somebody 
seemed to be sighing from the bottom of his heart, and 
saying "Ach Gott!" While I was composing I kept 
seeing funerals, coffins, and unhappy, despairing faces, 
and when I had finished, and was trying to think of a 
title, the only one that occured to me was " Leichen- 
fantasie." Isn't that extraordinary ? I was so much 
moved over the composition that the tears came into 
my eyes, and yet I did not know why, and there 
seemed to be no reason for it. Then came Ther&se's 

U 



290 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

letter, and everything was at once explained. 1 ..... 
Mechetti constantly sends you messages, so do let him 
have your new things. He has been extremely civil 
and nice to me, and wanted to have all my composi- 
tions, but I did not agree to that. But he is to have 
that " Leichenfantasie," which, however, I shall call 
"Nachtstucke," and after that a " Paschingsschwank 
aus Wien, ein romantisches Schaustuck." 

Leipsic, April 22nd, 1839. 

..... MENDELSSOHN goes to Frankfort to-morrow, 

and will take you the " Phantasie " 2 and the Zeitung 
(to Emily's address), so you will have them by the 
end of the month. It is a real pleasure only to 
look at Mendelssohn ; he is such a splendid artist, 
and he is very fond of me too ...... You will 

only be able to understand the " Phantasie " if you 
recall the unhappy summer of 1836, when I had to 
give you up. Now I have no cause to compose in 
such a depressed and melancholy strain. 



Leipsic, May igth, 1839. 

..... ONE thing more, so that you may thoroughly 
understand my character. You ask me sometimes 
whether I could stand household worries. We have 
no reason to expect any, but even if we had, and only 
possessed half of what we have got, it would never 



1 His brother Edward was dying. 
Op. 17. 



3 



TO CLARA WIECK. 291 

make me unhappy. The only thing that could possibly 
make me miserable would be to owe people money 
that I could not pay ; that really would but nothing 
else, I am altogether too poetical for that, though 
you will not find me in the least careless, and I have 
proved to you how exact I am in everything for your 
sake. I am sure you will be pleased with all my 
domestic arrangements. Would you believe it, the 
first thing I do every morning is to write down all that 
I have spent the day before, and calculate it to the 
last penny. Are you aware that since 1835 I have 
kept a great draft-book in which I give a minute 

account of every letter written and received ? 

The revolution is over, thank Heaven, but Paris is 
always fermenting somewhere or other, so be on your 
guard, and do not venture too far into the barricades. 
But I put more faith in your timidity than in anything, 
and so feel pretty easy about you. 

Leipsic, June gth, 1839. 

. , . . TELL me what you think of the first movement 
of the Phantasie. Does it not conjure up many images 
in your mind ? I like this melody best 



\jf bJUJ-i 


prfij J J t i 




1 


-4? ^ J - 


_ _W J 


n 


H 



I suppose you are the Ton in the motto ? 1 I almost 

1 " Durch alle Tone tonet 
Im bunten Erdentraum, 
Em leiser Ton gezogen 
Fur den der heimlich lauschet." 
SCHLEGEL. 



292 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

think you must be. How I long to hear you 
again ! And yet I think that our opinions are often 
widely different. May this never cause us hours of 
bitterness later on! It struck me only yesterday, 
when I was writing in the Zeitung> about the over- 
tures of Bennett and Berlioz ; I knew perfectly that 
you would not agree with me, and yet I could not 
write differently. Well, we will mutually instruct one 
another. 

Let me know whether you approve of your " Idylle J> 
now that I have altered it. It is certainly more 
finished and better proportioned. It seems to me that 
it would be more appropriate to call it a Notturno, 
or "Heimvveh," or c< Madchen's Heimweh." 



Leipsic, June 22nd, 1839. 

I PROBABLY made a mistake in your " Idylle/' 

still I wish you could hear me play it. I took the 
piece very slowly, and altered it on that account. But 
pray do not leave those bare fifths at the beginning. 
We have had that sort of thing too often, and it can 
only be effective when justified by what follows, as in 

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony I cannot get 

any composing at all done just now. I have begun two 
quartets as good as Haydn's, I can tell you ; still, I 
want time and peace of mind, and I shall not get that 
for some time to come. But once I can call you mine 
you shall hear plenty of new things, for I think you 
will encourage me, and hearing more of my composi* 



TO CLARA WIECK. 293 

tions will be enough to cheer me up. And we will 
publish some things under our two name$> so that 
posterity may regard us as one heart and one soul, 
and may not know which is yours and which mine. 
How happy I am ! 

Leipsic, July 3rd, 1839. 

You think I do not like your " Idyllen ?" Why, I 
am constantly playing them to myself. You often 
have such delicate themes ; I expect you are rhapso- 
dical too sometimes, eh ? But you love-sick damsels 
seem to hesitate over the development, and indulge in 
all sorts of hopes and ideas. Send me the Romanze 
at once, do you hear, Clara Wieck ? 

Leipsic, July loth, 1839. 

FROM your Romanze I again see plainly 

that we are to be man and wife. Every one of your 
thoughts comes out of my soul, just as I owe all my 
music to you. There is nothing to be altered in the 
piece, it must remain just as it is. 

Leipsic, July I2th, 1839, 

WONDERFUL ! When did you write that piece 

in G minor ? I had a very similar idea last March ; 
as you will find in the Hurnoreske. Our sympathies 
are really too extraordinary. 

Leipsic, Oct. loth, 1839. 

BUT otherwise I am quite absorbed 

in a world of dreams over my piano, and think 



294 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

of nothing except you, and can only play and 
tell my old friend stories about you. If one could 
only finish everything one begins! but how much 
time one would want to do that ! However, one of 
these days I will at all events write something into 
the book you know of, from which I used to play to 
you* I should also like to attempt something for four 
hands, but cannot think of anything suitable. Yester- 
day morning Chflard was with me for a long time, 
and I played a lot to him, first rather like a student, 
but it got better and better. However, he does not 
understand much about it, and thinks Bach an old 
composer and his compositions old. I told him he 
was neither new nor old, but a great deal more, 
namely, eternal I really almost lost my temper over 
it. Mendelssohn had a lot of Bach's great chorales 
copied for me, and I was just raving about them when 
Chelard arrived. Otherwise he is really a very modest 

artist To be asked 1 where my Don Giovanni 

was, or my Freischiitz, was a great blow to me. I 
know that I could do something greater, and yet there 
is a great deal wanting to accomplish it at present But 
trust me still. 

A remark of yours is in my mind, about my meeting 
with so little appreciation. Don't be afraid, my dear 
Clara, you shall live to see my compositions come 
into notice, and be much talked about. I have no fear, 
and it will all get better by degrees, "within itself!' 

1 This applies to a remark of Wieck's, which had been 
reported to Schumann. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 295 

Leipsic, Oct. 27th, 1839. 

.... YOU told me once that your father had re- 
marked that nobody bought my compositions. This 
occurred to me when I was at HarteFs the other day, 
so I asked them about it They looked back in their 
books, where everything is entered, down to the 
smallest particular, and now I can give you the fol- 
lowing facts : They have sold from 250 to 300 copies 
of the Carnaval and the Phantasiestiicke, and from 
300 to 350 of the Kinderscenen, though only pub- 
lished six months. Well, it really can't be so bad after 
all, said I to myself, and went cheerfully on my way. 

Leipsic, Dec. nth, 1839. 

.... CLARA, to-day 1 was in perfect bliss. A Sym- 
phony of Franz Schubert's x was played at rehearsal. 
If you had only been there ! It is not to be described. 
All the instruments are like human voices, and it is 
all so intellectual ; and then the instrumentation, in 
spite of Beethoven ! And the length of it such a 
heavenly length, like a four- volume novel ; why, it is 
longer than the Ninth Symphony. I was quite happy, 
and only wished you were my wife, and that I could 
write such symphonies 

Leipsic, Dec. i6th, 1839. 
.... BUT I think more highly of Prume 2 than 

1 The great Symphony in C. It was owing to Schumann 
himself, that this was discovered in the heap of Schubert's 3MSS, 
and sent to Leipsic. TR. 

2 A favourite violinist of the time. 



296 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

you do, Ciarchen, let me tell you something. I have 
often noticed that a person's manners influence your 
opinion of him very much. Now confess ! Anybody 
who is fond of you, who gives in to you, agrees with 
your opinion, in fact, anybody who acts at all like a 
lover, is in your good books directly. I could give 
you lots of examples. But in this way you often 
wrong people, and that is not like you, as a rule. I 
would not mind betting, that if Prume were to come 
to you some day, light his cigar, and say : Now play 
me one of those delightful Noveletten, you would 
write to me and say : Prume is really a splendid 
fellow, and certainly stands very high as an artist, 
etc., etc. Am I not right ? 

Leipsic, Jan. I7th, 1840. 

.... I REALLY have been very industrious the last 
few days, and must thank heaven for giving me energy, 
and for sending me a good idea sometimes. I have 
quite arranged the " Nachtstiicke." What do you 
think of calling them : I. Tmuerzug. 2. Kuriose 
Gesellschaft. 3. Ndchtliges Celage. 4. Rimdgesang 
mit Solostimmen ? Let me know your opinion. 

Leipsic, Febr, 22nd, 1840. 

DON'T be angry if I only write you precious little 
to-day. Since yesterday morning I have written 
about 27 pages of music (something new 1 ), and I can 

1 The Songs called " Myrthen/' Op, 25. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 297 

tell you nothing more about it, except that I laughed 
and cried over it, with delight. 

Good-bye now, my girl ; playing and making so 
much music nearly kills me, and I could simply expire 
in it. Ah Clara, what bliss it is writing for the voice, 
and I have had to do without it for so long ! 

Leipsic, March I3th, 1840. 

HERE is a slight reward for your two last letters. 
They are my first published songs, so do not criticise 
them too severely. While I was composing them I 
was quite lost in thoughts of you. If I were not 
engaged to such a girl, I could not write such music, 
and I mean that as a special compliment to yourself. 
.... I will let you have a peep at my operatic plans, 
Send to a circulating library for the second part of 
Hoffmann's Serapionsbriider. There you will find 
a story, " Doge und Dogeressa." Read it through 
carefully, and imagine everything on the boards ; then 
tell me your opinion, and what objections you have to 
make. What I like about the novel is, the simplicity 
and nobility that runs all through it Julius Becker 
is to versify the text for me ; I have sketched It all 
out I am firmly resolved to give myself this treat 
during the summer, and I am sure you will often say 
a kind word to your poet. So don't forget to send 
for the book, but don't say anything to anybody at 
present. 



298 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



Leipsic, March i8th, 1840. 

.... I AM with Liszt nearly all day. He said to 
me yesterday : "I feel as if I had known you for 
twenty years ; 3> and I feel just the same. We have 
begun to be very rude to one another, and I have 
often reason to be so, as he is really too capricious, 
and has been frightfully spoilt at Vienna, How ex- 
traordinary his playing is, so bold and daring, and 
then again so tender and delicate ! I have never heard 
anything like it But Clara, the world he lives in 
does not suit me. I would not give up Art as you 
understand it, and as I feel it sometimes when I am 
at the piano, composing ; I would not exchange such 
sweet comfort for all his grandeur and there is a good 
deal of tinsel about his playing, too. But let me be 
silent about it to-day. 

Leipsic, March 2oth, 1840. 

.... I WISH you could have been with Liszt early 
this morning. He is really too extraordinary. He 
played some of the Novelettes, part of the Phan- 
tasie, and of the Sonata, and I was really quite 
moved. A good deal of it differed from my own con- 
ception ; but it was always genial, and full of such 
delicacy and strong feeling as he probably does not 
enjoy every day. Only Becker was there besides, 
and he had tears in eyes. I especially enjoyed the 
second Novelette in D major. You cannot think 
what an effect it makes, and Liszt is going to play it 



TO CLARA WIECK. 299 

at his third concert Volumes would not contain all 
that I could tell you about the confusion here. His 
second concert has not come off yet, as he preferred 
going to bed and pleading illness two hours before* 
I can quite believe that he was, and Is, very much over- 
worked. It suits me very well, because he stays in 
bed all day, and nobody is admitted besides myself, 

except Mendelssohn, Hiller and Reuss Would 

you believe it, at his concert he played on an instru- 
ment of Hartel's which he had never seen before. I 
must say I admire that sort of thing immensely such 
confidence in his good ten fingers. 

Leipsic, March 22nd, 1840. 

BUT I can tell you this much, that Liszt 

seems to me to be more tremendous every day. This 
morning he played again at Raimund HarteFs, and 
made us all tremble ; we rejoiced over some Etudes of 
Chopin's, a piece from Rossini's " Soirees/ 7 and several 
other things besides. As a compliment to him, and 
to let the public see what sort of an artist he is, Men- 
delssohn is going to carry out a pretty idea. He has 
arranged a regular orchestral concert at the Gewand- 
haus to-morrow evening in his honour ; l only a limited 
number are invited, and several of Mendelssohn's 
Overtures, Schubert's Symphony, and Bach's Triple 
Concerto (Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Hiller) are to be 
performed ! Isn't it charming of Mendelssohn ? If 

1 Compare Mendelssohn's letter to his mother, dated March 
30th, 1840. TR. 



300 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 



you could only be there ! but I shall think of you the 
whole evening, as if you were by my side. 

Leipsic, May 4th, 1840. 

As to the text for my opera, I am always 

encountering fresh difficulties. Altogether, to tell 
you the truth, I miss the deep, German, element in it. 
But one ought to attempt all styles, and I mean to 
set to work 

I have not been for any walks yet, and look quite 
pale and washed-out. I always feel as if I had not 
done enough in the world (for instance, in comparison 
with Mendelssohn) 1 and that worries and irritates me 
sometimes, although I know that there are some who 
are lazier than myself. 

Leipsic, May 7th, 1840. 

To-DAY I have been working hard at the 

text of my opera, and begin to think that as a whole 
it will be more effective, as it has acquired a deeper 
meaning and more continuity. You will be pleased 
with it. The witch must be quite transformed into 
a fortune-teller, in the odour of witchcraft. She must 
be the soul of the whole story, and will be a rdle for 
Schroeder, which it makes one enthusiastic to think of, 
I hope to have arranged everything with Becker by 
the time you come, and shall then attack the overture 
with a will 

1 Compare Letter of April I3th ? 1838. 



TO CLARA WIECK. 301 

Leipslc, May loth, 1840. 

To-DAY is " Jubilate/' l and I should like to be joyful 
and cry at once over the happiness and misery that 
Heaven has given me to bear. But whatever you do, 
don't think I am melancholy. I feel so well and 
brisk that my work gets on almost imperceptibly 3 and 
I am so happy at the thought of seeing you, that I 
cannot keep it to myself. I have been busy all the 
morning with my opera. The first outline is quite 
finished, and I am dying to begin. Of course I some- 
times almost despair of doing justice to this great 
tragic story. For it has now become intensely tragic, 
though free from bloodshed and the usual stage 
effects. I am quite excited over all the characters 
which I have got to mould in music, and you will 
be so too. Yesterday I got a most appropriate 
and delightful letter (and an essay) from Frau von 
Chezy, about her co-operation with Weber in 
" Euryanthe," together with his sketches, letters, 
notes, etc. I should say that Weber was one of the 
most refined and intellectual of artists. The essay 
will appear in the Zeitung^ and you will read it 
with great interest. 

Leipsic, May i5th, 1840. 
I HAVE been composing so much, that it 



1 The third Sunday after Easter, so called because the mass 
for that day begins with the 65th Psalm : "Jubilate Deo omnis 
terra.' 7 TR. 



302 SCHUMANN'S EARLY LETTERS. 

really seems quite uncanny at times. I cannot help 
it, and should like to sing myself to death, like a 
nightingale. There are twelve [songs] of Eichen- 
dorff's, but I have nearly forgotten them, and begun 
something else. The text for the opera worries, me, 
Becker brought me a specimen the other day, and I 
could see that the affair has not made much progress. 
I have a perfect horror of setting weak verses to 
music. I don't want a great poet, but I must have sound 
language and sentiments. Well, I shall certainly not 
give up my beautiful plan, and I feel that I have got 
plenty of dramatic instinct You will be surprised to 
hear some of my ensembles. 



Leipsic, May 3ist, 1840. 

I CANNOT restrain my longing to see you. 

And I want you to drag me away from music. You 
will certainly be surprised at the quantity I have done 
in such a short time, all except the copying-out. I 
ought to stop for a bit, and yet I cannot. In all this 
music I am quite forgetting how to write and think 
You must have found that out by my letters. I feel so 
acutely that I ought never to have gone in for anything 
but music all my life. In your last letter you speak of 
a " proper spot " where you would like to see me, 
but do not overrate me. I want no better place than 
where I can have a piano, and be near you. You will 
never be a Kapellmeisterin as long as you live, but 



TO CLARA WIECK. 303 

mentally we are quite equal to any Kapellmeisterpaar, 

are we not ? I am sure you understand me 

I have actually reached Op. 22, I should never 
have thought that, when I was at Op. i. In eight 
years 22 compositions are about enough ; now I will 
write twice as much again, and then die. Sometimes 
I feel as if I were finding out quite new ways in music. 



END OF THE EARLY LETTERS. 




INDEX OF MUSICIANS AND THEIR 

WORKS MENTIONED IN THE 

FOREGOING LETTERS. 

N.B. Schumann's own works are in italics. 

JBEGG, variations on the name^ (Op. i), 146, 149, 

150, 1 60, 164. 
Arabeske^ 286. 

Bach, 179, 276, 294 ; Triple Concerto, 299. 
Beethoven, 1565 241, 267, 276, 283, 288, 292, 295. 
Bennett, W. S. ; 283, 295. 
Berlioz, 292. 
Blumenstilcke^ 297. 
Bull, Ole, 289. 

Camay al^ 238, 259, 267^275, 287, 295. 

Chopin, 155, 230, 235 ; Etudes, 299 ; Op. i ? Rondeau on Don 

Giovanni, 156; Op. 2, Variations on La ci darem, 148; 

Variations^ 159, 204. 
Cramer, 182. 
Czerny, 83, 164. 



^ 217, 260, 261, 262, 263, 267. 



Etudes Symphoniques, 240, 263^ 267,, 269. 
Exercice Fantastique^ 163, 178. 

X 



306 INDEX TO MUSICIANS, ETC 

Fandango ^ 173. 

Pantasie, (Op. 17), 269, 290, 291, 298. 
Fantosiestiicke, 259, 260, 262, 274., 275, 287, 295. 
Faschingsschwank aus Wien, 290, 

Handel, 101, 267 ; Judas Maccabaeus, 283* 

Henselt, 260. 

Herz, 83, 157, 164 ; Finger exercises, 78 ; Variations, 158. 

Hiller, 230, 299. 

Hummel, 133, 139, 144, 156, 169, 172, 1765 178, 201 \ A minor 

Concerto, 77, 78 ; B minor Concerto, 83 ; Sonata in F 

sharp minor, 78. 
Humor eske } 288, 293, 

Impromptus, 213, 214. 

Intermezzi, 162, 163, 173, 188, 192, 198, 203, 213, 217, 222, 252. 

Kalkbrenner, 201. 

Kinderscenen, 264, 269, 287, 288, 295. 

Kreislzriana^ 268. 

Kuntzsdi, the Baccalaureus, 129, 178, 217, 221, 

Liszt, 259, 268, 275, 298, 299. 

Mendelssohn, 261, 271, 282. 290, 294, 299, 300 ; Overtures, 299 ; 

Songs without words, 206. 
Moscheles, 131, 152 ; Alexander Variations, 101 ; G minor 

Concerto, 83. 

Mozart, 156, 243, 253, 286. 
Myrthen, 296. 

Nacktstucke^ 290, 296. 
Novelette^ 296, 298. 

Paganini, 82, 155, 158, 261, 289; Caprices^ arrangement of, 162, 

173, 174, i?8 ? 187, 197, 239, 269. 
PapiUons, 149, 159, 161, 164, 167, 172, 176, 177, 186, 229. 



INDEX TO MUSICIANS, ETC. 307 

Pasta, 79, 

Pianoforte Concerto >, 192, 286. 

Reissiger, 33, 177. 181, 200, 235. 
Ries, Mrs. Ferdinand/^ 47. 
Romberg, 157. 
Rossini, 79 ; Soirees, 299. 

Schubert, 155, 156; Grand Duo, 262 ; Quintet (Forellen), 83 ; 

Rondo (four hands), 80 ; Symphony in C, 295, 299. 
Sonata in B minor, 159 ; in F sharp minor ^ 259, 275 ; in G 

minor^ 269. 
Spohr, 210. 
Symphony in G minor, 190, 

Thalberg, 282, 283. 

Toccata^ 150, 217, 230, 252, 269. 




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Selected Works. 11 



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13 



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Selected Works. 15 



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Selected Works. 17 



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Selected WorJcs. 19 



By Mrs. 

Everything Mrs. Eiving writes is full oftaletit, and also full of perception 
and common sensed SATURDAY REVIEW. 

The Uniform Edition. Small post 8vo. $s. each. 

WE AND THE WORLD: A Story for Boys. Withy Illus- 
trations by W. L. JONES, and Design on the Cover by Miss P\ r M. 
and Edition, ^s. 

Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 

' A very good book it is, full of adventure graphically told. The style is just 
what it should be, simple, but not bold, full of pleasant humour, and with some 
pretty touches of feeling. Like all Mrs. Swing's tales, it is sound, .sensible, and 
wholesome. ' Tunes. 

SIX TO SIXTEEN : A Story for Girls. With 10 Illustrations 
by Mrs. ALLINGHAM. 6th Edition. 5^. 

Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 

c The tone of the book is pleasant and healthy, and singularly free from that 
sentimental, not to say "mawkish," stain which is apt to disfigure such produc- 
tions. The illustrations by Mrs. Allingham. add a special attraction to the little 
volume/ Times. 

*It is scarcely necessary to say that Mrs. E wing's book is one of the best of 
the year/ Saturday Review. 

A FLAT IRON FOR A FARTHING; or, Some Passages in 
the Life of an Only Son. With 12 Illustrations by H. ALLINGHAM, 
and Design on the Cover by Miss PYM. I5th Edition. 5^. 

Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 

* Let every parent and guardian who wishes to be amused, and at the same 
time to please a child, purchase " A Flat Iron for a Farthing ; or, some Passages 
in the Life of an Only S:m," by J. H. Ewing. We will answer for the delight 
with which they will read it themselves, and we do not doubt that the young and 
fortunate recipients will also like it. The story is quaint, original, and altogether 
delightful.' A t&e 



dAN OF THE WINDMILL; a Story of the Plains. With 
ii Illustrations by HELEN ALLINGHAM. 3rd Edition. $j. 

Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 

1 It is a long time since we have read anything in its way so good. . . , Such 
-a book is like a day in June as sweet and as wholesome as anything can be.' 

American Church Union. 

6 " Jan of the Windmill" is a delightful story for children and other people. 
. . The atmosphere of country life " the very air about the door made dusty 
with the floating meal "breathes freshly in the book, and the rural scenes are 
not unworthy of George Sand, if George Sand wrote for les petites filles. The 
growth of the hero's artistic power is as interesting as the lives of old painters.' 

Academy* 



20 George Bell and Sons' 



By Mrs. Ewing Continued. 

MRS. OVERTHEWAY'S REMEMBRANCES. Illustrated 
with 10 fine Full-page Engravings on Wood, after Drawings by 
PASQUIER and WOLF, and Design on the Co^er by Miss PYM. 4tli< 
Edition. 



Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 



' We think we shall not be accused of extravagance when we say that, 
without exception, " Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances " is the most delightful 
work avowedly written for children that we have ever read. There are passages 
in this book which the genius of George Eliot would be proud to own ..... 
It is full of a peculiar, heart-stirring pathos of its own, which culminates in the 
last pages, when Ida finds that her father is not dead.' Leader. 

A GREAT EMERGENCY, and other Tales. With 4 Illustra- 
tions and Design on the Cover by Miss PYM. 2nd Edition. 5^. 



Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 



* Never has Mrs. Ewing published a more charming: volume of stories, and 
that is saying a very great deal. From the iirst to the last the book overflows- 
with the strange knowledge of child-nature which so rarely survives childhood ; 
and, moreover j with inexhaustible quiet humour, which is never anything but 
innocent and well-bred, never priggish, and never clumsy.' Academy* 

SVIELCHIOR'S DREAM, and other Tales, Illustrated by 
GORDON BROWNE. 5th Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 35. 6d. 

- Cheap Edition, with Gordon Browne's Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. u 

* *' Melchior's Dream " is an exquisite little story, charming by original 
humourj buoyant spirits, and tender pathos.' 



THE BROWNIES, and other Tales. Illustrated by GEORGE 
CRUIKSHANK. 4th Edition. Imp, i6rno. 55. 

Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. is. 

Mrs. Ewing gives us some really charming writing. While her first story 
most prettily teaches children how much they can do to help their parents, the 
immediate result will be, we fear, anything but good. For if a child once begins 
* The Brownies," it -will get so deeply interested in it, that when bed-time comes 



story.' Saturday Review* 

LOB-LIE-BY-THE-FIRE; or, the Luck of Lingborough. And 
other Tales. Illustrated by GEOKGE CRUIKSHANK. srd Edition. 
Imp. i6mo. S.F. 

*A charming tale by another of those clever writers, thanks to whom the 
children are now really better served than their neighbours. ' Spectator. 

9 Mrs. Ewing has written as good a story as her " Brownies," and that Is 
saying; a great deal. " Lob-lie-by- the-fire " has humour and pathos, and teaches 
what is right without making children think they are reading a sermon.' 
Saturday Review > 



Selected WorJcs. 21 



By F. M. Peard, Author of 'Unawares* 'The Rose 
Garden] 6 Cartouche / 



MOTHER SVSOLLY. A Story for Young People. With 

8 Illustrations. Small post Svo. $s. 

' The stor3 :r is to other Christmas books what Mr. Blackmore's stories are to 
ordinary novels. It is fresh, a little quaint, and is, in fact, a charming ideal of 
the latter end of the last century.' Standard. 

THROUGH ROUGH WATERS. A Story for Young People. 
With ii Illustrations, Small post Svo. 55. 

e This is a tale of the French Revolution^ well written, in a style suitable for 
young people : an interesting little story.' Examiner. 

* It is a book intended for young readers, and they may be thankful to light 
mpon it instead of the sentimental twaddle with which they are so often supplied.' 
Academy. 

PRINCESS ALETHEA: a Story for Young People. With 
8 Illustrations by J. D. WATSON. Small post Svo. $s. 

' A pretty story of the t3 T pe familiar to the readers of Miss Yonge.' 



1 A pleasant, wholesome .story, full of interest, and certain to attract and 
benefit the young people for whom it has been written.' Scotsman, 

Uniform with the above. 

HECTOR : a Story for Young People. By FLORA SHAW, Author 
of ' Castle Blair,' &c. With 8 Illustrations by W. J. HEN- 
NESSEY. Small post Svo. ^s. 

-- Cheap Edition, with all the Illustrations. Fcap. 4to. double 
columns, is. 

* Hector, the brave, bright English boy, with his high thoughts, his love of the 
wild birds, his respect for honest labour, and his chivalrous sympathy with the 
distressed, is exactly the type of hero that it is good for children to have before 
them, and will meet with sympathy and admiration; \vhile the scrapes he falls 
into so readily will make the children feel that there is no "goodlinesb" in him to 
-awake their antagonism/ Academy* 

JBy Mrs. O'Reilly. 

* Mrs. O'Reilly's works need no commendation ... the style is so good, the 
narrative so engrossing, and the tone so excellent.' Jo/in BulL 

DAISY'S COMPANIONS; or, Scenes from Child Life. A 
Story for Little Girls. With 8 Illustrations. 3rd Edit. i6mo. zs. 6d 

* If anybody wants a pretty little present for a pretty (and good) little 
daughter, or a niece or grand-daughter, we cannot recommend a better or tastier 
one "than "Daisy's Companions/" Times. 

LITTLE PRESCRIPTION, and other Tales. With 6 Illus- 
trations by W. H. PETHERICK and others. i6mo. zs. 6tf. 

* A worthy successor of some charming little volumes of the same kind. . . . 
The tale from which the title is taken, is for its grace and pathos an especial 
favourite.' Specta tor. 



22 



George Bell and Sons' 



By Mrs. O^Reiliy Continued. 

CICELY'S CHOICE. A Story for Girls. With a Frontispiece 
by J. A, PASQUIEK. Fcap. 8vo. gilt edges, 35. 6d. 

e A pleasant story. . . . It is a "book for girls, and grown people will also enjoy 
reading It.' Atfantetem. 

f A pleasant, well-written, Interesting story, likely to be acceptable to young 
people who are in their teens.' Scotsman. 

GILES'S MINORITY; or, Scenes at the Red House. With 
8 Illustrations. i6mo. zs. 6d, 

'In one of our former reviews we praised "Deborah's Drawer." "Giles's 
Minority" no less deserves our goodwill. It is a picture of school-room, life, and 
is so well drawn that grown-up readers may delight in it. In literary excellence 
this little book is above most of its fellows.' Times. 

DOLL WORLD; or, Play and Earnest, A Study from Real- 
Life. With 8 Illustrations by C. A. SALTMARSH. i6mo. ar. 6d. 
( It_ is a capital child's book^ and it has a charm for grown-up people also, as 
the fairy haze of "long-ago" brightens every page. We are not ashamed to 
confess to the " thrilling interest " with which we followed the history oF 
"Robertina" and "Mabel."' Aiken&um. 



Captain Marryafs Books for Boys. 

Uniform Illustrated Edition, neatly bound in cloth, post 8vo. 
3-r. 6d. each ; gilt edges, 4s. 6d. 



POOR JACK. With Sixteen Il- 
lustrations after Designs by 
CLARKSON STANFIELD, R.A. 

THE MISSION ; or, Scenes in 
Africa. With Illustrations by 
JOHN GILBERT. 

THE PIRATE, AND THREE 
CUTTERS. With Memoir of the 
Author, and 20 Steel Engravings 
by CLARKSON STANFIELD, R.A. 
Cheap Edition, without Illus- 
trations, is. 6d. 



THE SETTLERS IN CANADA. 
With Illustrations by GILBERT 
and DALZIEL. 

THE PRIVATEERSMAN. 
Adventures by Sea and Land 
in Civil and Savage Life One 
Hundred Years ago. Illustrated 
with Eight Steel Engravings. 

MASTERMAN READY; or, the 
Wreck of the Pacific. Embel- 
lished with Ninety-three En- 
gravings on Wood, 



A BOY'S LOCKER. A Smaller Edition of Captain Marryat's 
Books for Boys, in 12 vols. Fcap. 8vo. in a compact cloth box, zxs. 

MASTERMAN READY. New Illustrated Edition, with 60 
Original Woodcuts. Post 8vo. v. 



SETTLERS IN CANADA. New Illustrated Edition, 
gilt, post 8vo. 5-y. Uniform with above. 



Cloth 



Selected Works. 28- 



ROBINSON CRUSOE. "With 100 Illustrations, 21 Coloured, 
by E. H. WEHNERT. Crown 8vo. gilt edges, $s. 

THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. By E. WETHERELL. With 10 
Illustrations. Post 8vo. 3^. 6d- 

UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, By H. B. STOWE. Illustrated. 
Post 8vo. 35. 6d. 

OUR PETS AND PLAYFELLOWS IN AIR, EARTH, 
AND WATER. By GERTRUDE PATMORE. With 4 Illustrations 
by BERTHA PATMORE. Crown 8vo. 3^. 6d. 

FRIENDS IN FUR AND FEATHERS. By GWYNFRYN. 

Illustrated with 8 Full-page Engravings by F. W. KEYL, &c. 6th 

Edition. Handsomely bound, 35. 6d. 

*We have already characterised some other book as the best cat-and-dog 
book of the season. We said so because we had not seen the present little book., 
which is delightful.^ It is written on an artistic principle, consisting of actual 
biographies of certain elephants, squirrels, blackbirds, and what not, who lived in 
the flesh ; and we only wish that human biographies were always as entertaining 
and instructive.' Sattirday Revteit,. 



By Hans Christian Andersen. 

FAIRY TALES AND SKETCHES. Translated by C. C. 
PEACHEY, H. WARD, A. PLESNER, &c. With 36 Illustrations by 
OTTO SPECKTER and others. Crown 8vo. 3*. 6d. 

*The translation most happily hits the delicate quaintness of Andersen 
most happily transposes into simple English words the tender precision of the- 
famous story-teller ; in a keen examination of the book we scarcely recall a. 
single phrase or turn that obviously could have been bettered/ Daily Telegraph* 

TALES FOR CHILDREN. With 48 Full-page Illustrations by 
WEIINERT, and 57 small Engravings on Wood by W. THOMAS, 
A New Edition. Crown 8vo. 3^. 6d. 

This and the above vol. form the most complete English Edition of Andersen':* 
Tales. 



WHAT SHALL WE ACT? or, a Hundred Plays from which 
to Choose. With Hints on Scene Painting, c. By M. E. 
JAMES. Third Edition, crown 8vo. ss. 6tf. 

FAIRY PLAYS FOR CHILDREN. By KATE FREILIGRATH- 

KROEKER. With Illustrations by M. SIBREE. And Songs. 2nd 
Edition, is. each. ALICE ; adapted, by permission, from ' Alice's 
Adventures in Wonderland. 1 SNOWDROP. THE BEAR PRINCE. 
JACK AND THE PRINCESS WHO NEVER LAUGHED. The Four Plays 
in i vol. cloth gilt, 4jr. 6d. 

GUESSING STORIES; or, The Surprising Adventures of the 
Man with the Extra Pair of Eyes. By the late Archdeacon FREE- 
MAN. 4th Edition. AT. 6d. 



24 George Bell and Sons 7 Selected WorJcs. 

WONDER WORLD, A Collection of Fairy Tales, Old and 
New. Translated from the French, German, and Danish. With 
4 Coloured Illustrations and numerous Woodcuts by L. RICHTER, 
OSCAR PLETSCH, and others. Royal i6mo. cloth, gilt edges, 3^. 6d. 

1 It will delight the children, and has in it a wealth of wisdom that may be of 
practical service when they have grown into men and women.' Literary W"orld. 

GRIMM'S GAMMER GRETHEL; or, German Fairy Tales 

and Popular Stories. Translated by EDGAR TAYLOR* Numerous 
Woodcuts after G. CRUIKSHANK'S designs. Post 8vo. %s. 6d. 

HAUFF'S TALES- THE CARAVAN THE SHEIK OF ALEX- 
ANDRIA THE INN IN THE SPESSART. Translated by S. MENDEL, 
Professor of Modern Languages at the Royal Academy, Gosport. 
j vol. 3-sv 6d* 

ANECDOTES OF DOGS. By EDWARD JESSE. With Illus- 
trations. Post 8vo. cloth, $s. With 34 Steel Engravings after 
COOPER, LANDSEER, &c. ?s. 6d. 

CHARADES, ENIGMAS, AND RIDDLES. Collected by a 
Cantab. 5th Edition, enlarged. Illustrated. Fcap. 8vo. xs. 

POETRY- BOOK FOR SCHOOLS. Illustrated with 37 
highly finished Engravings by C. W, COPE, R.A., W. HELMSLEY, 
S. PALMER, F. SKILL, G. THOMAS, and H. WEIR. Crown 8vo. 
gilt, 2s, 6d> ; plain cloth, is. 



LONDON: 

GEORGE BELL & SONS, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, 



20331