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Dec. 1760—April 1761. of glass, will lie in sherds, and the ablest and noblest man in England see himself forbidden to do England any service farther: “Not needed more, Sir! Go you, -and look at us for the remainder of your life!"
King Friedrich in the Apel House at Leipzig (8th
December 1760—17th March 1761). Friedrich's Winter in the Apel House at Leipzig is of cheerfuller character than we might imagine. Endless sore business he doubtless has, of recruiting, financiering, watching and providing, which grows more difficult year by year; but he has subordinates that work to his signal, and an organised machinery for business such as no other man. And solacements there are withal: his Books he has about him; welcomer than ever in such seasons : Friends too,– he is not solitary ; nor neglectful of resources. Faithful D'Argens came at once (stayed till the middle of March)?: D’Argens, Quintus Icilius, English Mitchell; these three almost daily bore him company. Till the middle of January, also, he had his two Nephews with him (Sons of his poor deceased Brother, the late tragic Prince of Prussia), —the elder of whom, Friedrich Wilhelm, became King afterwards; the second, Henri by name, died suddenly of small-pox within about seven years hence, to the King's deep and sore grief, who liked him the better of the two. Their ages respectively are now about 16 and 14.8 Their appetite for dancing, and their gay young ways,
? Euvres de Frédéric, xix. 212, 213. Sends a Courier to conduct D'Argens 'for December 8th ;' "21st D'Argens is back at Berlin.
& Henri, born 30th December 1747, died 26th May 1767 ;-Friedrich Wilhelm, afterwards Friedrich Wilhelm II. (sometimes called Der Dicke, The Big), born 25th December 1744 ; King, 17th August 1786 ; died 16th. November 1797.
Dec. 1760—April 1761. are pleasant now and afterwards to the old Uncle in his grim element.
Music, too, he had; daily evening Concert, though from himself there is no fluting now.
One of his Berlin Concert people who had been sent for, was Fasch, a virtuoso on I know not what instrument,—but a man given to take note of things about him.
Fasch was painfully surprised to see his King so altered in the interim past:
sunk into himself, grown old; to whom these five years of war-tumult and anxiety, • of sorrow and hard toil, had given a dash of gloomy
seriousness and melancholy, which was in strong con'trast with his former vividly bright expression, and was not natural to his years.'10
From D'Argens there is one authentic Anecdote, worth giving. One evening D'Argens came to him; entering his Apartment, found him in a situation very unexpected ; which has been memorable ever since. 'One evening' (there is no date to it, except vaguely, as above, December 1760—March 1761), “D'Argens,
entering the King's Apartment, found him sitting on the ground with a big platter of fried meat, from which he was feeding his dogs. He had a little rod, • with which he kept order among them, and shoved the best bits to his favourites. The Marquis, in asto“nishment, recoiled a step, struck his hands together, 6 and exclaimed: “The Five Great Powers of Europe, who have sworn alliance, and conspired to undo the · Marquis de Brandebourg, how might they puzzle their "heads to guess what he is now doing! Scheming some 'dangerous plan for the next Campaign, think they; collecting funds to have money for it; studying about
· Letters, &c. in Schöning.
18th Dec. 1760. 'magazines for man and horse; or he is deep in negotiations to divide his enemies, and get new allies for • himself ? Not a bit of all that. He is sitting peaceably in his room, and feeding his dogs!"?11 Interview with Herr Professor Gellert (Thursday,
18th December 1760). Still more celebrated is the Interview with Gellert; though I cannot say it is now more entertaining to the ingenuous mind. One of Friedrich's
many Interviews, this Winter, with the Learned of Leipzig University; for he is a born friend of the Muses so-called, and never neglects an opportunity. Wonderful to see how, in such an environment, in the depths of mere toil and tribulation, with a whole breaking world lying on his shoulders, as it were,—he always shows such appetite for a snatch of talk with anybody presumably of sense, and knowledge on something!
This Winter, say the Books, ‘he had, in vacant in'tervals, a great deal of communing with the famed of · Leipzig University;' this or other famed Professor,Winkler, Ernesti, Gottsched again, and others, coming to give account, each for himself, of what he professed to be teaching in the world: 'on the Natural Sciences, more especially the Moral; on Libraries, on Rare • Books. Gottsched was able to satisfy the King on one point; namely, That the celebrated passage of 'St. John's Gospel—“ There are Three that bear record"
was not in the famous Manuscript of the Vienna Library; Gottsched having himself examined that im* portant Codex, and found in the text nothing of said
Passage, but merely, written on the margin, a legible 'intercalation of it, in Melanchthon's hand. Luther,
11 Preuss, ii. 282.
18th Dec. 1760. 'in his Version, never had it at all.'12 A Gottsched inclined to the Socinian view? Not the least consequence to Friedrich or us! Our business is exclusively with Gellert here.
* Readers have heard of Gellert; there are, or there were, English Writings about him, Lires, or I forget what: and in “ his native Protestant Saxony, among all classes, especially the higher, he had, in those years and onwards to his death, such a popularity and real splendour of authority as no man before or since. Had risen, against his will in some sort, to be a real • Pope, a practical Oracle in those parts. In his modest bachelor - lodging' (age of him five-and-forty gone) ‘he has sheaves of · Letters daily,—about affairs of the conscience, of the house"hold, of the heart: from some evangelical young lady, for • example, "Shall I marry him, think you, O my Father ?” and perhaps from her Papa, “Shall she, think
“Sheaves of Letters : and of oral consulters such crowds, that the poor Oracle was obliged to appoint special hours for that branch of his business. His class-room (he lectures on Morals, some Theory of Moral Sentiment, or suchlike) is crowded with “ blue uniforms” (ingenuous Prussian Officers eager to hear a
Gellert), in these Winters. Rugged Hülsen, this very season, • who commands in Freyberg Country, alleviates the poor village
of Hainichen from certain official inflictions, and bids the poor people say, “ It is because Gellert was born among you!” Plainly “the Trismegistus of mankind at that date:—who is now, as ' usual, become a surprising Trismegistus to the new generations !
* He had written certain thin Books, all of a thin languid nature; but rational, clear; especially a Book of Fables in Verse, which are watery, but not wholly water, and have still a languid flavour in them for readers. His Book on Letterwriting was of use to the rising generation, in its time. Clearly an amiable, ingenious, correct, altogether good man; of pious
mind,-and, what was more, of strictly orthodox, according to • the then Saxon standard in the best circles. This was he figure of his Life for the last fifteen years of it; and he was now about
12 Helden-Geschichte, vi. 596.
18th Dec. 1760. - the middle of that culminating period. A modest, despondent
kind of man, given to indigestions, dietetics, hypochondria : “of neat figure and dress; nose hooked, but not too much ; eyes • mournfully blue and beautiful, fine open brow;"—a fine coun- tenance, and fine soul of its sort, poor Gellert: “punctual like the church-clock at divine service, in all weathers.” 13
• A man of some real intellect and melody; some, by no means much; who was of amiable meek demeanour; studious * to offend nobody, and to do whatever good he could by the
established methods ;—and who, what was the great secret of ' his success, was of orthodoxy perfect and eminent. Whom,
accordingly, the whole world, polite Saxon orthodox world, “ hailed as its Evangelist and Trismegistus. Essentially a com* monplace man; but who employed himself in beautifying and • illuminating the commonplace of his day and generation : infinitely to the satisfaction of said generation. “How charm
ing that you should make thinkable to us, make vocal, musical, . and comfortably certain, what we were all inclined to think; you ** creature plainly divine !" And the homages to Gellert were • unlimited and continual, not pleasant all of them to an idlish ó man in weak health.
Mitchell and Quintus Icilius, who are often urging on the • King that a new German Literature is springing up, of far
more importance than the King thinks, have spoken much to him • of Gellert the Trismegistus ;-and, at length, in the course of a
ten days from Friedrich's arrival here, actual Interview ensues. * The Dialogue, though it is but dull and watery to a modern palate, shall be given entire, for the sake of one of the Interlocutors. The Report of it, gleaned gradually from Gellert him• self, and printed, not long afterwards, from his manuscripts or those of others, is to be taken as perfectly faithful. Gellert, * writing to his inquiring Friend Rabener (a then celebrated - Berlin Wit), describes, from Leipzig, “ 29th January 1760,” • or about six weeks after the event: “How, one day about the * middle of December, Quintus Icilius suddenly came to my poor Lodging here, to carry me to the King.” Am too ill to go.
13 Jördens, Lexikon Deutscher Dichter und Prosaisten (Leipzig, 1807), ii. 54-68 (8 Gellert).