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Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Her husband appears to have been a person of great probity and meekness of temper, sincerely desirous to approve himself a useful member of society, and to do his duty conscientiously to all men. The seeds of many valuable qualities had been sown in him by nature; and though his early life had been unfavourable for their cultivation, he at a late period laboured, not without success, to remedy this disadvantage.
Such branches of science and philosophy as lay within his reach, he studied with diligence, whenever his professional employments left him leisure; on a subject connected with the latter he became an author. As his religion mingled itself with every motive and action of his life, the wish which in all his wanderings lay nearest his heart, the wish for the education of his son, was likely to be deeply tinctured with it.
There is yet preserved, in his handwriting, a prayer composed in advanced age, wherein he mentions how, at the child's birth, he had entreated the great Father of all, "to supply in strength of spirit what must needs be wanting in outward instruction. Friedrich followed the movements of his parents for some time; and had to gather the elements of learning from  various masters. Perhaps it was in part owing to this circumstance, that his progress, though respectable, or more, was so little commensurate with what he afterwards became, or with the capacities of which even his earliest years gave symptoms.
Thoughtless and gay, as a boy is wont to be, he would now and then dissipate his time in childish sports, forgetful that the stolen charms of ball and leapfrog must be dearly bought by reproaches: but occasionally he was overtaken with feelings of deeper import, and used to express the agitations of his little mind in words and actions, which were first rightly interpreted when they were called to mind long afterwards. His schoolfellows can now recollect that even his freaks had sometimes a poetic character; that a certain earnestness of temper, a frank integrity, an appetite for things grand or moving, was discernible across all the caprices of his boyhood.
Once, it is said, during a tremendous thunderstorm, his father missed him in the young group within doors; none of the sisters could tell what was become of Fritz, and the old man grew at length so anxious that he was forced to go out in quest of him. Fritz was scarcely past the age of infancy, and knew not the dangers of a scene so awful.
His father found him at last, in a solitary place of the neighbourhood, perched on the branch of a tree, gazing at the tempestuous face of the sky, and watching the flashes as in succession they spread their lurid gleam over it. To the reprimands of his parent, the whimpering truant pleaded in extenuation, "that the lightning was very beautiful, and that he wished to see where it was coming from!
We have ventured to give it, as it came to us, notwithstanding. The picture of  the boy Schiller, contemplating the thunder, is not without a certain interest, for such as know the man. Schiller's first teacher was Moser, pastor and schoolmaster in the village of Lorch, where the parents resided from the sixth to the ninth year of their son. This person deserves mention for the influence he exerted on the early history of his pupil: he seems to have given his name to the Priest 'Moser' in the Robbers ; his spiritual calling, and the conversation of his son, himself afterwards a preacher, are supposed to have suggested to Schiller the idea of consecrating himself to the clerical profession.
This idea, which laid hold of and cherished some predominant though vague propensities of the boy's disposition, suited well with the religious sentiments of his parents, and was soon formed into a settled purpose. In the public school at Ludwigsburg, whither the family had now removed, his studies were regulated with this view; and he underwent, in four successive years, the annual examination before the Stuttgard Commission, to which young men destined for the Church are subjected in that country. Schiller's temper was naturally devout; with a delicacy of feeling which tended towards bashfulness and timidity, there was mingled in him a fervid impetuosity, which was ever struggling through its concealment, and indicating that he felt deeply and strongly, as well as delicately.
Such a turn of mind easily took the form of religion, prescribed to it by early example and early affections, as well as nature. Schiller looked forward to the sacred profession with alacrity: it was the serious daydream of all his boyhood, and much of his youth.
As yet, however, the project hovered before him at a great distance, and the path to its fulfilment offered him but little entertainment. His studies did not seize his attention firmly; he followed them from a sense of duty, not of pleasure. The tenderness and meek beauty of the first, the humour and sagacity and capricious pathos of the last, the matchless elegance of both, would of course escape his inexperienced perception; while the matter of their writings must have appeared frigid and shallow to a mind so susceptible.
He loved rather to meditate on the splendour of the Ludwigsburg theatre, which had inflamed his imagination when he first saw it in his ninth year, and given shape and materials to many of his subsequent reveries. The Stuttgard Examinators have marked him in their records with the customary formula of approval, or, at worst, of toleration. This good hope was not, however, destined to be realised in the way they expected: accidents occurred which changed the direction of Schiller's exertions, and threatened for a time to prevent the success of them altogether.
The Duke proposed to give the sons of his military officers a preferable claim to the benefits of this institution; and having formed a good opinion both of Schiller and his father, he invited the former to profit by this opportunity.
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The offer occasioned great embarrassment: the young man and his parents were alike determined in favour of the Church, a project with which this new one was inconsistent. Their embarrassment was but increased, when the Duke, on learning the nature of their scruples, desired them to think well before they decided. It was out of fear, and with reluctance that his proposal was accepted.
Schiller enrolled himself in ; and turned,  with a heavy heart, from freedom and cherished hopes, to Greek, and seclusion, and Law. His anticipations proved to be but too just: the six years which he spent in this establishment were the most harassing and comfortless of his life. The Stuttgard system of education seems to have been formed on the principle, not of cherishing and correcting nature, but of rooting it out, and supplying its place with something better.
The process of teaching and living was conducted with the stiff formality of military drilling; every thing went on by statute and ordinance, there was no scope for the exercise of free-will, no allowance for the varieties of original structure. A scholar might possess what instincts or capacities he pleased; the 'regulations of the school' took no account of this; he must fit himself into the common mould, which, like the old Giant's bed, stood there, appointed by superior authority, to be filled alike by the great and the little. The same strict and narrow course of reading and composition was marked out for each beforehand, and it was by stealth if he read or wrote any thing beside.
Their domestic economy was regulated in the same spirit as their preceptorial: it consisted of the same sedulous exclusion of all that could border on pleasure, or give any exercise to choice. The pupils were kept apart from the conversation or sight of any person but their teachers; none ever got beyond the precincts of despotism to snatch even a fearful joy; their very amusements proceeded by the word of command.
How grievous all this must have been, it is easy to conceive. To Schiller it was more grievous than to any other. Of an ardent and impetuous yet delicate nature, whilst his discontentment devoured him internally, he was too modest and timid to give it the relief of utterance by deeds or words. Locked up within himself, he suffered deeply, but  without complaining. Some of his letters written during this period have been preserved: they exhibit the ineffectual struggles of a fervid and busy mind veiling its many chagrins under a certain dreary patience, which only shows them more painfully.
He pored over his lexicons and grammars, and insipid tasks, with an artificial composure; but his spirit pined within him like a captive's, when he looked forth into the cheerful world, or recollected the affection of parents, the hopes and frolicsome enjoyments of past years. The misery he endured in this severe and lonely mode of existence strengthened or produced in him a habit of constraint and shyness, which clung to his character through life. The study of Law, for which he had never felt any predilection, naturally grew in his mind to be the representative of all these evils, and his distaste for it went on increasing.
On this point he made no secret of his feelings. One of the exercises, yearly prescribed to every scholar, was a written delineation of his own character, according to his own views of it, to be delivered publicly at an appointed time: Schiller, on the first of these exhibitions, ventured to state his persuasion, that he was not made to be a jurist, but called rather by his inclinations and faculties to the clerical profession. This statement, of course, produced no effect; he was forced to continue the accustomed course, and his dislike for Law kept fast approaching to absolute disgust.
In , he was fortunate enough to get it relinquished, though at the expense of adopting another employment, for which, in different circumstances, he would hardly have declared himself. The study of Medicine, for which a new institution was about this time added to the Stuttgard school, had no attractions for Schiller: he accepted it only as a galling servitude in exchange for one more gall  ing. His mind was bent on higher objects; and he still felt all his present vexations aggravated by the thought, that his fairest expectations from the future had been sacrificed to worldly convenience, and the humblest necessities of life.
Meanwhile the youth was waxing into manhood, and the fetters of discipline lay heavier on him, as his powers grew stronger, and his eyes became open to the stirring and variegated interests of the world, now unfolding itself to him under new and more glowing colours. As yet he contemplated the scene only from afar, and it seemed but the more gorgeous on that account.
He longed to mingle in its busy current, and delighted to view the image of its movements in his favourite poets and historians. Plutarch and Shakspeare;  the writings of Klopstock, Lessing, Garve, Herder, Gerstenberg, Goethe, and a multitude of others, which marked the dawning literature of Germany, he had studied with a secret avidity: they gave him vague ideas of men and life, or awakened in him splendid visions of literary glory. Klopstock's Messias , combined with his own religious tendencies, had early turned him to sacred poetry: before the end of his fourteenth year, he had finished what he called an 'epic poem,' entitled Moses.
A mass of minor performances, preserved among his papers, or published in the Magazines of the time, serve sufficiently to show that his mind had already dimly discovered its destination, and was striving with a restless vehemence to reach it, in spite of every obstacle. Such obstacles were in his case neither few nor small. Schiller felt the mortifying truth, that to arrive at the ideal world, he must first gain a footing in the real; that he might entertain high thoughts and longings, might reverence the beauties of nature and grandeur of mind, but was born to toil for his daily bread.
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Poetry he loved with the passionateness of a first affection; but he could not live by it; he honoured it too highly to wish to live by it. His prudence told him that he must yield to stern necessity, must 'forsake the balmy climate of Pindus for the Greenland of a barren and dreary science of terms;' and he did not hesitate to obey. His professional studies were followed with a rigid though reluctant fidelity; it was only in leisure gained by superior diligence that he could yield himself to more favourite pursuits. Genius was to serve as the ornament of his inferior qualities, not as an excuse for the want of them.
But if, when such sacrifices were required, it was painful to comply with the dictates of his own reason, it was still more so to endure the harsh and superfluous restrictions of his teachers. He felt it hard enough to be driven from the enchantments of poetry by the dull realities of duty; but it was intolerable and degrading to be hemmed-  in still farther by the caprices of severe and formal pedagogues. Schiller brooded gloomily over the constraints and hardships of his situation. Many plans he formed for deliverance.
Sometimes he would escape in secret to catch a glimpse of the free and busy world to him forbidden: sometimes he laid schemes for utterly abandoning a place which he abhorred, and trusting to fortune for the rest. Often the sight of his class-books and school-apparatus became irksome beyond endurance; he would feign sickness, that he might be left in his own chamber to write poetry and pursue his darling studies without hindrance. Such artifices did not long avail him; the masters noticed the regularity of his sickness, and sent him tasks to be done while it lasted.
Even Schiller's patience could not brook this; his natural timidity gave place to indignation; he threw the paper of exercises at the feet of the messenger, and said sternly that " here he would choose his own studies. Under such corroding and continual vexations an ordinary spirit would have sunk at length, would have gradually given up its loftier aspirations, and sought refuge in vicious indulgence, or at best have sullenly harnessed itself into the yoke, and plodded through existence, weary, discontented, and broken, ever casting back a hankering look upon the dreams of youth, and ever without power to realise them.
But Schiller was no ordinary character, and did not act like one. Beneath a cold and simple exterior, dignified with no artificial attractions, and marred in its native amiableness by the incessant obstruction, the isolation and painful destitutions under which he lived, there was concealed a burning energy of soul, which no obstruction could extinguish.
The hard circumstances of his fortune had prevented the natural development of his mind;  his faculties had been cramped and misdirected; but they had gathered strength by opposition and the habit of self-dependence which it encouraged.
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His thoughts, unguided by a teacher, had sounded into the depths of his own nature and the mysteries of his own fate; his feelings and passions, unshared by any other heart, had been driven back upon his own, where, like the volcanic fire that smoulders and fuses in secret, they accumulated till their force grew irresistible. Hitherto Schiller had passed for an unprofitable, a discontented and a disobedient Boy: but the time was now come when the gyves of school-discipline could no longer cripple and distort the giant might of his nature: he stood forth as a Man, and wrenched asunder his fetters with a force that was felt at the extremities of Europe.
The publication of the Robbers forms an era not only in Schiller's history, but in the Literature of the World; and there seems no doubt that, but for so mean a cause as the perverted discipline of the Stuttgard school, we had never seen this tragedy.
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Schiller commenced it in his nineteenth year; and the circumstances under which it was composed are to be traced in all its parts. It is the production of a strong untutored spirit, consumed by an activity for which there is no outlet, indignant at the barriers which restrain it, and grappling darkly with the phantoms to which its own energy thus painfully imprisoned gives being. A rude simplicity, combined with a gloomy and overpowering force, are its chief characteristics; they remind us of the defective cultivation, as well as of the fervid and harassed feelings of its author.
Above all, the latter quality is visible; the tragic interest of the Robbers is deep throughout, so deep that frequently it borders upon horror. A grim inexpiable Fate is made the ruling principle: it envelops and  overshadows the whole; and under its louring influence, the fiercest efforts of human will appear but like flashes that illuminate the wild scene with a brief and terrible splendour, and are lost forever in the darkness. The unsearchable abysses of man's destiny are laid open before us, black and profound and appalling, as they seem to the young mind when it first attempts to explore them: the obstacles that thwart our faculties and wishes, the deceitfulness of hope, the nothingness of existence, are sketched in the sable colours so natural to the enthusiast when he first ventures upon life, and compares the world that is without him to the anticipations that were within.
Karl von Moor is a character such as young poets always delight to contemplate or delineate; to Schiller the analogy of their situations must have peculiarly recommended him. Moor is animated into action by feelings similar to those under which his author was then suffering and longing to act. Gifted with every noble quality of manhood in overflowing abundance, Moor's first expectations of life, and of the part he was to play in it, had been glorious as a poet's dream.
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But the minor dexterities of management were not among his endowments; in his eagerness to reach the goal, he had forgotten that the course is a labyrinthic maze, beset with difficulties, of which some may be surmounted, some can only be evaded, many can be neither. Hurried on by the headlong impetuosity of his temper, he entangles himself in these perplexities; and thinks to penetrate them, not by skill and patience, but by open force.
He is baffled, deceived, and still more deeply involved; but injury and disappointment exasperate rather than instruct him. He had expected heroes, and he finds mean men; friends, and he finds smiling traitors to tempt him aside, to profit by his aberrations, and lead him  onward to destruction: he had dreamed of magnanimity and every generous principle, he finds that prudence is the only virtue sure of its reward.
Too fiery by nature, the intensity of his sufferings has now maddened him still farther: he is himself incapable of calm reflection, and there is no counsellor at hand to assist him; none, whose sympathy might assuage his miseries, whose wisdom might teach him to remedy or to endure them. He is stung by fury into action, and his activity is at once blind and tremendous. Since the world is not the abode of unmixed integrity, he looks upon it as a den of thieves; since its institutions may obstruct the advancement of worth, and screen delinquency from punishment, he regards the social union as a pestilent nuisance, the mischiefs of which it is fitting that he in his degree should do his best to repair, by means however violent.
Revenge is the mainspring of his conduct; but he ennobles it in his own eyes, by giving it the colour of a disinterested concern for the maintenance of justice,—the abasement of vice from its high places, and the exaltation of suffering virtue. Single against the universe, to appeal to the primary law of the stronger, to 'grasp the scales of Providence in a mortal's hand,' is frantic and wicked; but Moor has a force of soul which makes it likewise awful.
The interest lies in the conflict of this gigantic soul against the fearful odds which at length overwhelm it, and hurry it down to the darkest depths of ruin.
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The original conception of such a work as this betrays the inexperience no less than the vigour of youth: its execution gives a similar testimony. The characters of the piece, though traced in glowing colours, are outlines more than pictures: the few features we discover in them are drawn with elaborate minuteness; but the rest are wanting. Every thing indicates the condition of a keen and  powerful intellect, which had studied men in books only; had, by self-examination and the perusal of history, detected and strongly seized some of the leading peculiarities of human nature; but was yet ignorant of all the minute and more complex principles which regulate men's conduct in actual life, and which only a knowledge of living men can unfold.
If the hero of the play forms something like an exception to this remark, he is the sole exception, and for reasons alluded to above: his character resembles the author's own. Even with Karl, the success is incomplete: with the other personages it is far more so. Franz von Moor, the villain of the Piece, is an amplified copy of Iago and Richard; but the copy is distorted as well as amplified.
There is no air of reality in Franz: he is a villain of theory, who studies to accomplish his object by the most diabolical expedients, and soothes his conscience by arguing with the priest in favour of atheism and materialism; not the genuine villain of Shakspeare and Nature, who employs his reasoning powers in creating new schemes and devising new means, and conquers remorse by avoiding it,—by fixing his hopes and fears on the more pressing emergencies of worldly business.
So reflective a miscreant as Franz could not exist: his calculations would lead him to honesty, if merely because it was the best policy. Amelia, the only female in the piece, is a beautiful creation; but as imaginary as her persecutor Franz. Still and exalted in her warm enthusiasm, devoted in her love to Moor, she moves before us as the inhabitant of a higher and simpler world than ours.
Seas, and hills, and horizons, are between us; but souls escape from their clay prisons, and meet in the paradise of love! Similar defects are visible in almost all the other characters. Moor, the father, is a weak and fond old man, who could have arrived at gray hairs in such a state of ignorance nowhere but in a work of fiction.
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The inferior banditti are painted with greater vigour, yet still in rugged and ill-shapen forms; their individuality is kept up by an extravagant exaggeration of their several peculiarities. Schiller himself pronounced a severe but not unfounded censure, when he said of this work, in a maturer age, that his chief fault was in 'presuming to delineate men two years before he had met one. His skill in the art of composition surpassed his knowledge of the world; but that too was far from perfection.
Schiller's style in the Robbers is partly of a kind with the incidents and feelings which it represents; strong and astonishing, and sometimes wildly grand; but likewise inartificial, coarse, and grotesque. His sentences, in their rude emphasis, come down like the club of Hercules; the stroke is often of a crushing force, but its sweep is irregular and awkward. When Moor is involved in the deepest intricacies of the old question, necessity and free will, and has convinced himself that he is but an engine in the hands of some dark and irresistible power, he cries out: "Why has my Perillus made of me a brazen bull to roast men in my glowing belly?
Schiller has admitted these faults, and explained their origin, in strong and sincere language, in a passage of which we have already quoted the conclusion. Any disposition to poetry did violence to the laws of the institution where I was educated, and contradicted the plan of its founder. For eight years my enthusiasm struggled with military discipline; but the passion for poetry is vehement and fiery as a first love.
What discipline was meant to extinguish, it blew into a flame. To escape from arrangements that tortured me, my heart sought refuge in the world of ideas, when as yet I was unacquainted with the world of realities, from which iron bars excluded me. I was unacquainted with men; for the four hundred that lived with me were but repetitions of the same creature, true casts of one single mould, and of that very mould which plastic nature solemnly disclaimed.
In attempting it, my pencil necessarily brought out a monster, for which by good fortune the world had no original, and which I would not wish to be immortal, except to perpetuate an example of the offspring which Genius in its unnatural union with Thraldom may give to the world.
I allude to the Robbers. Yet with all these excrescences and defects, the unbounded popularity of the Robbers is not difficult to account for. To every reader, the excitement of emotion must be a chief consideration; to the mass of readers it is the sole one: and the grand secret of moving others is, that the poet be himself moved. We have seen how well Schiller's temper and  circumstances qualified him to fulfil this condition: treatment, not of his choosing, had raised his own mind into something like a Pythian frenzy; and his genius, untrained as it was, sufficed to communicate abundance of the feeling to others.
Perhaps more than abundance: to judge from our individual impression, the perusal of the Robbers produces an effect powerful even to pain; we are absolutely wounded by the catastrophe; our minds are darkened and distressed, as if we had witnessed the execution of a criminal.
It is in vain that we rebel against the inconsistencies and crudities of the work: its faults are redeemed by the living energy that pervades it. We may exclaim against the blind madness of the hero; but there is a towering grandeur about him, a whirlwind force of passion and of will, which catches our hearts, and puts the scruples of criticism to silence. The most delirious of enterprises is that of Moor, but the vastness of his mind renders even that interesting. We see him leagued with desperadoes directing their savage strength to actions more and more audacious; he is in arms against the conventions of men and the everlasting laws of Fate: yet we follow him with anxiety through the forests and desert places, where he wanders, encompassed with peril, inspired with lofty daring, and torn by unceasing remorse; and we wait with awe for the doom which he has merited and cannot avoid.
Nor amid all his frightful aberrations do we ever cease to love him: he is an 'archangel though in ruins;' and the strong agony with which he feels the present, the certainty of that stern future which awaits him, which his own eye never loses sight of, makes us lenient to his crimes.
When he pours forth his wild recollections, or still wilder forebodings, there is a terrible vehemence in his expressions, which overpowers us, in spite both of his and their extravagance. The scene on the  hills beside the Danube, where he looks at the setting sun, and thinks of old hopes, and times 'when he could not sleep if his evening prayer had been forgotten,' is one, with all its improprieties, that ever clings to the memory. That all should be so happy, all so married together by the spirit of peace!
The whole world one family, its Father above; that Father not mine! I alone the castaway, I alone struck out from the company of the just; not for me the sweet name of child, never for me the languishing look of one whom I love; never, never, the embracing of a bosom friend! Encircled with murderers; serpents hissing around me; riveted to vice with iron bonds; leaning on the bending reed of vice over the gulf of perdition; amid the flowers of the glad world, a howling Abaddon!
Oh, that I might return into my mother's womb;—that I might be born a beggar! I would never more—O Heaven, that I could be as one of these day-labourers! Oh, I would toil till the blood ran down from my temples, to buy myself the pleasure of one noontide sleep, the blessing of a single tear. There was a time too, when I could weep—O ye days of peace, thou castle of my father, ye green lovely valleys!
Mourn with me, Nature! They will never come again, never cool my burning bosom with their balmy sighing. They are gone! No less strange is the soliloquy where Moor, with the instrument of self-destruction in his hands, the 'dread key that is to shut behind him the prison of life, and to unbolt  before him the dwelling of eternal night,'—meditates on the gloomy enigmas of his future destiny. Soliloquies on this subject are numerous,—from the time of Hamlet, of Cato, and downwards. Perhaps the worst of them has more ingenuity, perhaps the best of them has less awfulness than the present.
Dominick himself might shudder at such a question, with such an answer as this: "What if thou shouldst send me companionless to some burnt and blasted circle of the universe; which thou hast banished from thy sight; where the lone darkness and the motionless desert were my prospects—forever? I would people the silent wilderness with my fantasies; I should have Eternity for leisure to examine the perplexed image of the universal woe. Strength, wild impassioned strength, is the distinguishing quality of Moor. All his history shows it; and his death is of a piece with the fierce splendour of his life.
Having finished the bloody work of crime, and magnanimity, and horror, he thinks that, for himself, suicide would be too easy an exit. He has noticed a poor man toiling by the wayside, for eleven children; a great reward has been promised for the head of the Robber; the gold will nourish that poor drudge and his boys, and Moor goes forth to give it them.
We part with him in pity and sorrow; looking less at his misdeeds than at their frightful expiation. The subordinate personages, though diminished in extent and varied in their forms, are of a similar quality with the hero; a strange mixture of extravagance and true energy. In perusing the work which represents their characters and fates, we are alternately shocked and inspired; there is a perpetual conflict between our understanding and our feelings.
Yet the latter on the whole come off victorious. The Robbers is a tragedy that will long find readers to astonish, and, with all its faults, to move. It stands, in our imagi  nation, like some ancient rugged pile of a barbarous age; irregular, fantastic, useless; but grand in its height and massiveness and black frowning strength. It will long remain a singular monument of the early genius and early fortune of its author. The publication of such a work as this naturally produced an extraordinary feeling in the literary world. Translations of the Robbers soon appeared in almost all the languages of Europe, and were read in all of them with a deep interest, compounded of admiration and aversion, according to the relative proportions of sensibility and judgment in the various minds which contemplated the subject.
In Germany, the enthusiasm which the Robbers excited was extreme. The young author had burst upon the world like a meteor; and surprise, for a time, suspended the power of cool and rational criticism. In the ferment produced by the universal discussion of this single topic, the poet was magnified above his natural dimensions, great as they were: and though the general sentence was loudly in his favour, yet he found detractors as well as praisers, and both equally beyond the limits of moderation.
One charge brought against him must have damped the joy of literary glory, and stung Schiller's pure and virtuous mind more deeply than any other. He was accused of having injured the cause of morality by his work; of having set up to the impetuous and fiery temperament of youth a model of imitation which the young were too likely to pursue with eagerness, and which could only lead them from the safe and beaten tracks of duty into error and destruction.
It has even been stated, and often been repeated since, that a practical exemplification of this doctrine occurred, about this time, in Germany. A young nobleman, it was said, of the fairest gifts and prospects, had cast away all these ad  vantages; betaken himself to the forests, and, copying Moor, had begun a course of active operations,—which, also copying Moor, but less willingly, he had ended by a shameful death. It can now be hardly necessary to contradict these theories; or to show that none but a candidate for Bedlam as well as Tyburn could be seduced from the substantial comforts of existence, to seek destruction and disgrace, for the sake of such imaginary grandeur.
The German nobleman of the fairest gifts and prospects turns out, on investigation, to have been a German blackguard, whom debauchery and riotous extravagance had reduced to want; who took to the highway, when he could take to nothing else,—not allured by an ebullient enthusiasm, or any heroical and misdirected appetite for sublime actions, but driven by the more palpable stimulus of importunate duns, an empty purse, and five craving senses. Perhaps in his later days, this philosopher may have referred to Schiller's tragedy, as the source from which he drew his theory of life: but if so, we believe he was mistaken.
For characters like him, the great attraction was the charms of revelry, and the great restraint, the gallows,—before the period of Karl von Moor, just as they have been since, and will be to the end of time. Among motives like these, the influence of even the most malignant book could scarcely be discernible, and would be little detrimental, if it were. Nothing, at any rate, could be farther from Schiller's intention than such a consummation. In his preface, he speaks of the moral effects of the Robbers in terms which do honour to his heart, while they show the inexperience of his head.
Ridicule, he signifies, has long been tried against the wickedness of the times, whole cargoes of hellebore have been expended,—in vain; and now, he thinks, recourse must  be had to more pungent medicines. We may smile at the simplicity of this idea; and safely conclude that, like other specifics, the present one would fail to produce a perceptible effect: but Schiller's vindication rests on higher grounds than these. His work has on the whole furnished nourishment to the more exalted powers of our nature; the sentiments and images which he has shaped and uttered, tend, in spite of their alloy, to elevate the soul to a nobler pitch: and this is a sufficient defence.
As to the danger of misapplying the inspiration he communicates, of forgetting the dictates of prudence in our zeal for the dictates of poetry, we have no great cause to fear it. Hitherto, at least, there has always been enough of dull reality, on every side of us, to abate such fervours in good time, and bring us back to the most sober level of prose, if not to sink us below it. We should thank the poet who performs such a service; and forbear to inquire too rigidly whether there is any 'moral' in his piece or not. The writer of a work, which interests and excites the spiritual feelings of men, has as little need to justify himself by showing how it exemplifies some wise saw or modern instance, as the doer of a generous action has to demonstrate its merit, by deducing it from the system of Shaftesbury, or Smith, or Paley, or whichever happens to be the favourite system for the age and place.
The instructiveness of the one, and the virtue of the other, exist independently of all systems or saws, and in spite of all. But the tragedy of the Robbers produced some inconveniences of a kind much more sensible than these its theoretical mischiefs. We have called it the signal of Schiller's deliverance from school tyranny and military constraint; but its operation in this respect was not immediate; at first it seemed to involve him more deeply and dangerously  than before. He had finished the original sketch of it in ; but for fear of offence, he kept it secret till his medical studies were completed.
This advancement enabled him to complete his project, to print the Robbers at his own expense, not being able to find any bookseller that would undertake it. The nature of the work, and the universal interest it awakened, drew attention to the private circumstances of the author, whom the Robbers , as well as other pieces of his writing, that had found their way into the periodical publications of the time, sufficiently showed to be no common man. Many grave persons were offended at the vehement sentiments expressed in the Robbers ; and the unquestioned ability with which these extravagances were expressed, but made the matter worse.
Officious people  mingled themselves in the affair: nay, the graziers of the Alps were brought to bear upon it. The Grisons magistrates, it appeared, had seen the book: and were mortally huffed at being there spoken of, according to a Swabian adage, as common highwaymen. Informed of all these circumstances, the Grand Duke expressed his disapprobation of Schiller's poetical labours in the most unequivocal terms. Schiller was at length summoned to appear before him; and it then turned out, that his Highness was not only dissatisfied with the moral or political errors of the work, but scandalised moreover at its want of literary merit.
In this latter respect, he was kind enough to proffer his own services. But Schiller seems to have received the proposal with no sufficient gratitude; and the interview passed without advantage to either party. It terminated in the Duke's commanding Schiller to abide by medical subjects: or at least to beware of writing any more poetry, without submitting it to his inspection. We need not comment on this portion of the Grand Duke's history: his treatment of Schiller has already been sufficiently avenged.
By the great body of mankind, his name will be recollected, chiefly, if at all, for the sake of  the unfriended youth whom he now schooled so sharply, and afterwards afflicted so cruelly: it will be recollected also with the angry triumph which we feel against a shallow and despotic 'noble of convention,' who strains himself to oppress 'one of nature's nobility,' submitted by blind chance to his dominion, and—finds that he cannot! Of limited faculties, and educated in the French principles of taste, then common to persons of his rank in Germany, he had perused the Robbers with unfeigned disgust; he could see in the author only a misguided enthusiast, with talents barely enough to make him dangerous.
And though he never fully or formally retracted this injustice, he did not follow it up; when Schiller became known to the world at large, the Duke ceased to persecute him. The father he still kept in his service, and nowise molested. In the mean time, however, various mortifications awaited Schiller. It was in vain that he discharged the humble duties of his station with the most strict fidelity, and even, it is said, with superior skill: he was a suspected person, and his most innocent actions were misconstrued, his slightest faults were visited with the full measure of official severity.
His busy imagination aggravated the evil. He had seen poor Schubart  wearing out his tedious eight years of durance in the fortress of Asperg, because he had been 'a rock of offence to the powers that were. His free spirit shrank at the prospect of wasting its strength in strife against the pitiful constraints, the minute and endless persecutions of men who knew him not, yet had his fortune in their hands; the idea of dungeons and jailors haunted and tortured his mind; and the means of escaping  them, the renunciation of poetry, the source of all his joy, if likewise of many woes, the radiant guiding-star of his turbid and obscure existence, seemed a sentence of death to all that was dignified, and delightful, and worth retaining, in his character.
Totally ignorant of what is called the world; conscious too of the might that slumbered in his soul, and proud of it, as kings are of their sceptres; impetuous when roused, and spurning unjust restraint; yet wavering and timid from the delicacy of his nature, and still more restricted in the freedom of his movements by the circumstances of his father, whose all depended on the pleasure of the court, Schiller felt himself embarrassed, and agitated, and tormented in no common degree.
Urged this way and that by the most powerful and conflicting impulses; driven to despair by the paltry shackles that chained him, yet forbidden by the most sacred considerations to break them, he knew not on what he should resolve; he reckoned himself 'the most unfortunate of men. Time at length gave him the solution; circumstances occurred which forced him to decide. The popularity of the Robbers had brought him into correspondence with several friends of literature, who wished to patronise the author, or engage him in new undertakings.
Among this number was the Freiherr von Dalberg, superintendent of the theatre at Mannheim, under whose encouragement and countenance Schiller remodelled the Robbers , altered it in some parts, and had it brought upon the stage in The correspondence with Dalberg began in literary discussions, but gradually elevated itself into the expression of more interesting sentiments. Dalberg loved and sympathised with the generous enthusiast, involved in troubles and perplexities which his inexperience was so little adequate to thread: he gave him advice and assistance; and Schiller repaid this  favour with the gratitude due to his kind, his first, and then almost his only benefactor.
His letters to this gentleman have been preserved, and lately published; they exhibit a lively picture of Schiller's painful situation at Stuttgard, and of his unskilful as well as eager anxiety to be delivered from it. Neither of these projects could take immediate effect, and Schiller's embarrassments became more pressing than ever. With the natural feeling of a young author, he had ventured to go in secret, and witness the first representation of his tragedy, at Mannheim.
His incognito did not conceal him; he was put under arrest during a week, for this offence: and as the punishment did not deter him from again transgressing in a similar manner, he learned that it was in contemplation to try more rigorous measures with him. Dark hints were given to him of some exemplary as well as imminent severity: and Dalberg's aid, the sole hope of averting it by quiet means, was distant and dubious.
Schiller saw himself reduced to extremities. Beleaguered with present distresses, and the most horrible forebodings, on every side; roused to the highest pitch of indignation, yet forced to keep silence, and wear the face of patience, he could endure this maddening constraint no longer. He resolved to be free, at whatever risk; to abandon advantages which he could not buy at such a price; to quit his step-dame home, and go forth, though friendless and alone, to seek his fortune in the great market of life.
Some foreign Duke or Prince was arriving at Stuttgard; and all the people were in movement, occupied with seeing the spectacle of his entrance: Schiller seized this opportunity of  retiring from the city, careless whither he went, so he got beyond the reach of turnkeys, and Grand Dukes, and commanding officers. It was in the month of October This last step forms the catastrophe of the publication of the Robbers : it completed the deliverance of Schiller from the grating thraldom under which his youth had been passed, and decided his destiny for life.
Winesburg, Ohio (Webster's German Thesaurus Edition) Sherwood Anderson
Schiller was in his twenty-third year when he left Stuttgard. He says 'he went empty away,—empty in purse and hope. Without patrons, connexions, or country, he had ventured forth to the warfare on his own charges; without means, experience, or settled purpose, it was greatly to be feared that the fight would go against him.
Yet his situation, though gloomy enough, was not entirely without its brighter side.
He was now a free man, free, however poor; and his strong soul quickened as its fetters dropped off, and gloried within him in the dim anticipation of great and far-extending enterprises. If, cast too rudely among the hardships and bitter disquietudes of the world, his past nursing had not been delicate, he was already taught to look upon privation and discomfort as his daily companions.
If he knew not how to bend his course among the perplexed vicissitudes of society, there was a force within him which would triumph over many difficulties; and a 'light from Heaven' was about his path, which, if it failed to conduct him to wealth and preferment, would keep him far from baseness and degrading vices. Literature, and every great and noble thing which the right pursuit of it implies, he loved with all his heart and all his soul: to this inspiring object he was henceforth exclusively devoted; advancing towards this, and possessed of common necessaries on the humblest scale, there  was little else to tempt him.
His life might be unhappy, but would hardly be disgraceful. Schiller gradually felt all this, and gathered comfort, while better days began to dawn upon him. Fearful of trusting himself so near Stuttgard as at Mannheim, he had passed into Franconia, and was living painfully at Oggersheim, under the name of Schmidt: but Dalberg, who knew all his distresses, supplied him with money for immediate wants; and a generous lady made him the offer of a home. Madam von Wolzogen lived on her estate of Bauerbach, in the neighbourhood of Meinungen; she knew Schiller from his works, and his intimacy with her sons, who had been his fellow-students at Stuttgard.
She invited him to her house; and there treated him with an affection which helped him to forget the past, and look cheerfully forward to the future. Under this hospitable roof, Schiller had leisure to examine calmly the perplexed and dubious aspect of his affairs. Happily his character belonged not to the whining or sentimental sort: he was not of those, in whom the pressure of misfortune produces nothing but unprofitable pain; who spend, in cherishing and investigating and deploring their miseries, the time which should be spent in providing a relief for them.
With him, strong feeling was constantly a call to vigorous action: he possessed in a high degree the faculty of conquering his afflictions, by directing his thoughts, not to maxims for enduring them, or modes of expressing them with interest, but to plans for getting rid of them; and to this disposition or habit,—too rare among men of genius, men of a much higher class than mere sentimentalists, but whose sensibility is out of proportion with their inventiveness or activity,—we are to attribute no small influence in the fortunate conduct of his subsequent life.
With such a turn of mind, Schiller, now that he was at length master of  his own movements, could not long be at a loss for plans or tasks. Once settled at Bauerbach, he immediately resumed his poetical employments; and forgot, in the regions of fancy, the vague uncertainties of his real condition, or saw prospects of amending it in a life of literature. By many safe and sagacious persons, the prudence of his late proceedings might be more than questioned; it was natural for many to forbode that one who left the port so rashly, and sailed with such precipitation, was likely to make shipwreck ere the voyage had extended far: but the lapse of a few months put a stop to such predictions.
Fiesco he had commenced during the period of his arrest at Stuttgard; it was published, with the other play, in ; and soon after brought upon the Mannheim theatre, with universal approbation. It was now about three years since the composition of the Robbers had been finished; five since the first sketch of it had been formed. With what zeal and success Schiller had, in that interval, pursued the work of his mental culture, these two dramas are a striking proof.
The first ardour of youth is still to be discerned in them; but it is now chastened by the dictates of a maturer reason, and made to animate the products of a much happier and more skilful invention. Schiller's ideas of art had expanded and grown clearer, his knowledge of life had enlarged. He exhibits more acquaintance with the fundamental principles of human nature, as well as with the circumstances under which it usually displays itself; and far higher and juster views of the manner in which its manifestations should be represented.
In the Conspiracy of Fiesco we have to admire not only the energetic animation which the author has infused into all his characters, but the distinctness with which he has discriminated, without aggravating them; and the vividness with which he has contrived to depict the scene where they act and move.
The political and personal relations of the Genoese nobility; the luxurious splendour, the intrigues, the feuds, and jarring interests, which occupy them, are made visible before us: we understand and may appreciate the complexities of the conspiracy; we mingle, as among realities, in the pompous and imposing movements which lead to the catastrophe. The catastrophe itself is displayed with peculiar effect. The midnight silence of the sleeping city, interrupted only by the distant sounds of watchmen, by the low hoarse murmur of the sea, or the stealthy footsteps and disguised voice of Fiesco, is conveyed to our imagination by some brief but graphic touches; we seem to stand in the solitude and deep stillness of Genoa, awaiting the signal which is to burst so fearfully upon its slumber.
At length the gun is fired; and the wild uproar which ensues is no less strikingly exhibited. The deeds and sounds of violence, astonishment and terror; the volleying cannon, the heavy toll of the alarm-bells, the acclamation of assembled thousands, 'the voice of Genoa speaking with Fiesco,'—all is made present to us with a force and clearness, which of itself were enough to show no ordinary power of close and comprehensive conception, no ordinary skill in arranging and expressing its results.