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CHAPTER IV.

POLITICS AND RELIGION.

Goethe's acquaintance with Beethoven.-Death of Wieland. Struggle

of Germany against Napoleon.-Goethe's indifference in politics, but

earnestness in art.- Accused of looking on life only as an artist.

-Accused of irreligion.-Changes in his religious opinions.-Oppo-

sition to dogmatic teachings.—Theosophy and ethics.-Goethe's re-

ligion.-His system of morals.-Character of his old age.- His oriental

studies.-The Westöstliche Divan.- Ovation at Frankfurt

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CHAPTER V.

THE ACTIVITY OF AGE.

Publication of the “Kunst und Alterthum".-His growing tendency to-

wards mysticism. - Visit of Werther's Charlotte.-Death of his wife,

Goethe in his eighty-first year.–Revolution of July, and contest between

Cuvier and St. Hilaire.-Importance of the doctrine of unity of com-
position in the animal kingdom recognized by Goethe and George
Sand.- Death of Goethe's only son.– Tribute to Goethe from fifteen
Englishmen.-Thackeray's residence at Weimar, and interview with
Goethe.- Goethe's activity in his old age.-Signs of decay.-Deat

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BOOK THE FIFTH. .

CRYSTALS.

1779–1793.

“Wenn sich der Most auch ganz absurd geberdet,
Es gibt zuletzt doch noch 'nen Wein.”

“Von jener Macht, die alle Wesen bindet,

Befreit der Mensch sich, der sich überwindet.”

“Postquam me experientia docuit, omnia, quæ in communi vita frequenter occurrunt, vana et futilia esse; quum viderem omnia, a quibus et quæ timebam, nihil neque boni neque mali in se habere, nisi quatenus ab iis animus movebatur: constitui tandem inquirere, an aliquid daretur quod verum bonum et sui communicabile esset, et a quo solo rejectis ceteris omnibus animus afficeretur; imo an aliquid daretur, quo invento et acquisito continua ac summa in æternum fuerer lætitia."

SPINOZA.

LEWES, VOL. II.

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BOOK THE FIFTH.

CHAPTER I.

NEW-BIRTH.

The changes slowly operating the evolution of character, as from the lawlessness of Youth it passes into the clear stability of Manhood, 'resemble the evolution of harmony in the tuning of an orchestra, as from stormy discords wandering in pursuit of concord, all the instruments gradually subside into the true key : round a small centre the hurrying sounds revolve, one by one falling into that centre and increasing its circle, at first slowly, and afterwards with ever-accelerated velocity, till the victorious concord emerges from the tumult. Or they may be likened to the gathering splendour of the dawn, as at first slowly, and afterwards with silent velocity, it drives the sullen darkness to the rear, and with a tidal sweep of light takes tranquil possession of the sky. By images such as these we may express the dawn of a new epoch in Goethe's life. He is now entering a period when the wanderings of an excitable nature are gradually falling more and more within the circle of law; when aims, before vague, now become clear; when in the recesses of his mind much that was fluent becomes crystallized by earnestness which gives a definite purpose to life. All men of genius go through this change of crystallization. Their youths are disturbed by the turbulence of errors and of passions. But if they outlive these errors they turn them into advantages. Just as the sides of great mountain ridges are rent by fissures

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