Monday, March 22, 2010

Let the Light Enter

The death of the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on March 22, 1832 had an impact throughout Europe.  His dying words have been the inspiration for poets and thinkers.  Goethe and Scott enjoyed a friendly correspondence, exchanging gifts on occasion.  An expression of Scott's sentiment regarding Goethe is found in his Journal:

"February 15 (1827)....I have a letter from Baron Von Goethe,[472] which I must have read to me; for though I know German, I have forgot their written hand. I make it a rule seldom to read, and never to answer, foreign letters from literary folks. It leads to nothing but the battle-dore and shuttle-cock intercourse of compliments, as light as cork and feathers. But Goethe is different, and a wonderful fellow, the Ariosto at once, and almost the Voltaire of Germany. Who could have told me thirty years ago I should correspond, and be on something like an equal footing, with the author of Goetz? Ay, and who could have told me fifty things else that have befallen me?"

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