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H._TWO GERMAN SCHOLARS ON ONE OF GOETHE'S
Goethes "Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern," von W. WlLMANNS, Ein Ab-
dmck aus dem XLII Bande der Preussichen Jahrbilcher. Berlin: G. Reimer.
" Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern," Ein Capitel in "Aus Goethes Frtth-
zeit," von Wilhelm Scherer. Strassburg :' Karl J. Tritbner. 1879.
By the publication of the three volumes, entitled " Der junge
Goethe," in 1875, the study of Goethe's youth was greatly quickened.
What was before accessible to but few in the manuscripts and docu-
ments of Hirzel was laid open to all the admirers of Goethe. It
became even more clear then what a period of luxurious growth and
blossoming his youth was, and through how great and how many
changes some of his more perfect poems and even larger works
had passed. Precious letters, clearing up doubtful relations, are in
the collection and his first contributions to the journals of his time.
Through the aid of these volumes the " poetry and truth " of his
Autobiography have become more clearly distinguished. It may
be doubted if from the youth of any other great poet we have
such an abundance of productions. But if these books made an
epoch in Goethe-study, they are so rich in materials that much in
them needs further explanation and elucidation.
Among the dramas in the third volume is " Das Jahrmarktsfest
zu Plundersweilern," a masquerade, which appears in the ordinary
editions of Goethe's works in an enlarged and quite different form,
though the Hempel edition presents the original version. Goethe's
own mention of this piece in the " Wahrheit und Dichtung" gives
it a peculiar interest. He has been speaking of the effects of the
" Werther " in bringing him into publicity and causing him to
become a lion to the detriment of the quiet composition that he
had hoped to carry on. He proceeds : " Yet more than by all
the distractions of the day, the author was kept from the elabo-
ration and completion of greater works by the taste then preva-
lent in this society for dramatizing everything of importance
which occurred in actual life. What that technical expression (for
such it was in our inventive society) really meant shall here be
18 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
explained. Excited by intellectual meetings on days of hilarity,
we were accustomed in short extemporary performances to com-
municate in fragments all the materials we had collected toward
the formation of larger compositions. One single, simple incident,
a pleasantly naive or even silly word, a blunder, a paradox, a clever
remark, personal irregularities or habits, nay, a peculiar expression
and whatever else would occur in a gay and bustling life, took the
form of a dialogue, a catechism, a passing scene or a drama—
often in prose, but oftener in verse.
" By this practice, carried on with genial passion, the really
poetic mode of thought was established. We allowed objects,
events, persons to* stand for themselves in all their bearings, our
only endeavor being to comprehend them clearly and exhibit them
vividly. Every expression of approbation or disapprobation was
to pass in living forms before the eyes of the spectator. These
productions might be called animated epigrams, which, though
without edges or points, were richly furnished with marked and
striking features. The ' Jahrmarktsfest ' (Fair-festival) is an epigram
of this kind, or rather a collection of epigrams. All the characters
there introduced are meant for actual, living members of that society,
or for persons at least connected and in some degree known to it ;
but the meaning of the riddle remained concealed to the greater
part ; all laughed and few knew that their own marked peculiarities
served as the jest." 1
" Die Pasquinaden die er gemacht hat," writes Merck of Goethe
to Nicolai in 1774, " sind aus unserem Cirkel in Darmstadt und alle
Personen sind Gottlob so unberiihmt und unbedeutend dass sie
niemand erkennen wilrde." "
It has long been supposed that Leuchsenring was the Mordecai
of this play. But the other characters had not been deciphered
until Wilmanns in Vol. XLII of the " Preussiche Jahrbucher " made
the successful attempt to ascertain the originals for some of the
other parts. This year (1879) Scherer, in the volume "Aus Goethes
Fruhzeit," has published an essay containing his views on the piece.
He takes the work of Wilmanns for a foundation, and while in some
cases he approves and extends Wilmanns' views, in other matters
he quite disagrees with his predecessor. By the light of these two
essays what was before an amusing and clever farce becomes
1 Goethe's Autobiography, Oxenford's translation, Vol. I, pp. 517, 518.
2 Zimmermann's Merck, p. 33.
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 19
highly ingenious and furnishes instruction not merely in regard to
the action of Goethe's prolific mind, but also in regard to his real
opinion of some of the litterateurs by whom he was surrounded.
But the essays are further valuable as illustrating the work of
two of Germany's greatest scholars. Both gentlemen are profes-
sors of Germanic studies. Scherer is characterized by an almost
exhaustless knowledge of details, whether in grammar, dialects,
ancient languages or literary history. He is, moreover, brilliant and
suggestive, and certain performances of his, like that on " Lautver-
schiebung " in his " Geschichte der deutschen Sprache," are
bewildering to an ordinary mind. Wilmanns is soberer in move-
ment, though very bold in conception, and a scholar of consummate
sagacity. If not equal to Scherer in the knowledge of details, the
unity with which he makes all the known phenomena march
according to his conception, and converge to a single end, elicits
even from his adversaries admiration and applause. His work on
the " Gudrun," published in 1874, was a masterpiece of literary con-
structive ability. His book on the " Nibelungenlied," published
in 1876, is still furnishing food for the digestion of the Unitarians,
as late numbers of the " Germania " attest. These two scholars
belong to the same school. They are followers of Lachmann,
though not blindly devoted to his tenets, as were two or three of
his earlier adherents. Like Lachmann, they unite the love of letters
with the analysis of words. As Lachmann, who won his earliest
laurels in the study of Propertius, put his countrymen under lasting
obligations by his faithful edition of Lessing, these scholars do not
pursue exclusively the studies of ancient or mediaeval grammar and
rhythm, but contribute of their time and gifts to the elucidation
of the masters of modern German. Independently, then, of that
interest that attaches to every work of Goethe's youth, the opinions
of these eminent scholars with regard to the allusions in this farce
to the better known persons in the Darmstadt circle may have value
for American students of Goethe.
It became known soon after the publication of " Pater Brey," that
Goethe's intention in that piece was to satirize Leuchsenring in the
character bearing the title of the play ; in fact, the explanation of
the piece in " Wahrheit und Dichtung " would at least suggest
Leuchsenring as " the tender and soft specimen " aimed at. Now
it is by a comparison of the part of Mordecai in the " Jahrmarkts-
fest" with the words of Pater Brey that the identity of these two
characters becomes sure. I quote here the tragedy which forms,
20 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
as it were, the heart of the "Jahrmarktsfest," and, as will later
appear, contains a main part of the satire, if we may believe the
letter of Caroline Flachsland, written in April, 1773, which says
" that Goethe has recently sent hither a fair in verses to pay court
to Herr Merck and exhibit in it Leuchsenring's character."
(Der Vorhang hebt sick. Man sieht den Galgen in der Feme.)
Kaiser Ahasverus. Haman.
Gnadger Konig Herr und Ftirst,
Du mir es nicht verargen wirst,
Wenn ich an deinem Geburtstag
Dir beschwerlich bin mit Verdruss und Klag.
5 Es will mir aber das Herz abfressen,
Kann weder schlafen, noch trinken, noch essen.
Du weist, wie viel es uns Milhe gemacht,
Bis wir es haben so weit gebracht,
An Herrn Christum nicht zu glauben mehr,
10 Wie's thut das grosse Pobelheer ;
Wir haben endlich erfunden klug,
Die Bibel sey ein schlechtes Buch,
Und sey im Grund nicht mehr daran
Als an den Kindern Haimon.
15 Darob wir denn nun jubiliren
Und herzliches Mitleiden spiiren
Mit dem armen Schelmenhaufen,
Die noch zu unserm Herrgott laufen.
Aber wir wollen sie bald belehren
20 Und zum UnglaUben sie bekehren
Und lassen sie sich 'wa nicht weisen
So sollen sie alle Teufel zerreissen.
In so fern ist mirs einerley,
Doch brauchts all, diinkt mich, nicht's Geschrey.
25 Lasst sie am Sonnenlicht sich vergntlgen,
Fleissig bei ihren Weibern liegen,
Damit wir tapfere Kinder kriegen.
Behtlte Gott, Ihre Majestat,
Das leidt sein Lebtag kein Prophet.
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 21
30 Doch waren die noch zu bekehren.
Aber die leidigen Irrlehren,
Der Empfindsamen aus Judsea
Sind mir zum theuren Aerger da.
Was hilfts, dass wir Religion
35 Gestossen vom Tyrannenthron,
Wenn die Kerls ihren neuen Gotzen
Oben auf die Triimmer setzen.
Religion, Empfindsamkeit ;
's ein Dreck, ist lang wie breit.
40 Mussen das all exterminiren;
Nur die Vernunft, die soil uns ftthren.
Ihr himmlisch klares Angesicht,
Hat auch daflir keine Waden nicht.
Wollen's ein andermal besehen.
45 Beliebt mir jetzt zu Bett zu gehen.
Wiinsch Euro Majestat geruhige Nacht.
Die Koniginn Esther. Mardochai.
Ich bitt euch, lasst mich ungeplagt.
Hatt's gem zum letztenmal gesagt ;
Wem aber am Herzen thut liegen,
50 Die Menschen in einander zu fligen
Wie Krebs und Kalbfleisch in ein Ragu
Und eine wohlschmeckende Sauce dazu.
Kann unmoglich gleichgllltig seyn
Zu sehen, die Heiden wie die Schwein
55 Und unser Lammelein Hauflein zart
Durcheinander lauffen nach ihrer Art.
Mocht' all sie gern modifiziren,
Die Schwein zu Lammern recktifizieren
Und ein ganzes draus combiniren,
60 Dass die Gemeine zu Corinthus
Und Rom, Coloss und Ephesus
Und Herrenhut und Herrenhag
Davor bestiinde mit Schand und Schmach.
Da ist es nun an dir, o Frau,
22 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
65 Dich zu machen an die Konigssau,
Und seiner Borsten harten Straus
Zu kehren in Lammleins Wolle kraus.
Ich geh aber im Land auf und nieder,
Caper' immer neue Schwestern und Brttder,
70 Und glaubige sie alle zusammen
Mit Hammleins Lammleins Liebesflammen.
Geh dann davon in stiller Nacht,
Als hatt ich in das Bett gemacht.
Die Magdlein haben mir immer Dank ;
75 Ists nicht Geruch, so ists Gestank.
Mein Gemahl ist wohl schon eingeschlaffen ;
Lag lieber mit einem von euren Schaafen.
Indessen, kann's nicht anders seyn
Ist's nicht ein Schaaf, so ist's ein Schwein.
With verses 57 ff. in this tragedy Wilmanns compares the fol-
lowing lines from " Pater Brey : "
" Da muss alles calculirt sein ,
Da. darf kein einzig Geschopf hinein ;
Maus' und Ratten, Fl6h und Wanzen
Miissen alle beytragen zum Ganzen."
Both passages reveal the same " well-arranged plan for the
improvement of the world." The use, too, of the word "Schwein"
by both characters to denominate the ignobile valgus who had
not yet come into the alliance of enlightening sentimentalism is
noteworthy, and points directly to the same person. By Mordecai
there can be no doubt that Leuchsenring is represented. In
attempting to decipher the other characters the question arises,
what is the meaning of this little burlesque tragedy ? It seems to
be that, in spite of the rationalizing zeal of the men of intellect and
the vast projects for amelioration devised by the men of sentiment,
the world will go on in its old way. But who are the characters
thus united and what are their affinities ?
There are two groups, each composed of two persons, introduced
as biblical characters, the monarch Ahasuerus and his minister
Haman; the queen Esther and the rescuing Mordecai. The
biblical issue is certainly wanting, but some sort of biblical affinity
in the grouping and relations must be looked for.
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 23
To understand clearly the affinities, we must first answer the
question, who was Leuchsenring. Besides what can be found in
regard to him in the early part of the thirteenth book of " Wahr-
heit und Dichtung," it may be stated that he belonged to the
Darmstadt circle, had travelled with members of the princely
family, was a man of some medical knowledge and extensive
acquaintance with literary people, who had everywhere, particu-
larly by his influence with women, come to be of considerable
importance. A quotation from a letter of Fritz Jacobi to his
friend Garve, written in 1786, but describing Leuchsenring as
he was eighteen years before, may be introduced here as throwing
fuller light on his mind and projects. "At that time," viz., in 1768,
writes Jacobi, " he wished to establish a secret order of sensibility,
lived and moved in correspondences, and was always loaded with
letter-cases from which he read aloud. . . . To transform an
entire quarter of the globe appeared to him a trifle, if he could find
a hearing with some one or other, or even only possessed money
enough, or could get it as a loan. Can anything be more com-
prehensible than the hypothesis of secret Jesuitism in the head of
such a whimsical creature with the liveliest conviction that he was
not mistaken in his conjectures ? But can, on the other hand,
anything be more laughable than the cry of universal, pressing
danger at the word of such a being ? " It almost seems as if Jacobi
had in mind, when writing this letter, not his own personal recol-
lections of Leuchsenring, but the words which Goethe assigns the
Hauptmann in regard to him in " Pater Brey : "
Er denkt er tragt die welt auf m Rticken.
Fang' er tins nur einweil die Mttcken !
At all events, with the character which this letter describes, the
ideas of Mordecai in the tragedy perfectly correspond.
It is clear that some sort of an antagonism must and does exist
between Mordecai and Haman. If the former would establish a
new sect, vast and universal, the latter would destroy all sects and
introduce a reign of reason, and apparendy the very " Empfindung "
on which Mordecai would found a new order is the " new idol "
that Haman would dethrone. As Leuchsenring is represented in
" Wahrheit und Dichtung " in the passage already alluded to as
opposed and exposed in his pretentious vanity by Merck, and as
it is known from contemporary letters that hostility existed between
the two men from about that time, Wilmanns conjectures that the
24 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
situation in the tragedy depicts the relations of the parties at the
house of the La Roches during Goethe's visit there just after leav-
ing Wetzlar, which visit is described in the above-mentioned
passage of the Autobiography.
In other words, La Roche is Ahasuerus, Haman is Merck,
Esther is Frau von La Roche. In the passage it is expressly related
that after Merck arrived at Ehrenbreitstein, whither Goethe had
preceded him, new affinities arose; "for while the two ladies
approached each other, Merck had come into closer contact with
Herr von La Roche. . . . The daughters, of whom the eldest
soon particularly attracted me, fell to my share."
Here we have the group of the first part of the tragedy, Haman-
Merck and Ahasuerus-La Roche. But where is Leuchsenring ?
It can hardly be doubted where, as he uniformly followed the
ladies. He is so represented in " Pater Brey," and the hostess is in
the tragedy represented by Esther according to Wilmanns' view.
Why he selects her for Esther rather than Frau Merck rests
perhaps primarily on his conception of Ahasuerus. But Frau von
La Roche showed herself keenly " empfindsam " in her novels,
especially in her renowned story, " Fraulein von Sternheim," whose
history is that of Frau von La Roche herself. 1 Frau von La
Roche and Leuchsenring seem thus to belong together, and though
Esther neither falls in with Mordecai's plan nor Ahasuerus with
that of Haman, there is an affinity indicated by the grouping.
That Leuchsenring and Frau Merck were ardent friends might
be adduced as a reason for regarding Esther as Frau Merck, if
any valid reason existed for excluding Frau von La Roche from a
leading part. On the contrary it would seem singular, if the Ehren-
breitstein relations at the time of that visit underlie the tragedy,
that Herr von La Roche should be a character, and Frau von La
Roche omitted. The biblical affinities are thus maintained, and
although the shafts aimed at both Haman and Mordecai are coarse
in words, the satire is subtle and, as far as Mordecai is concerned,
very sharp. It ought to be noted that it was Merck's influence
that changed Goethe's feeling toward Leuchsenring. Up to this
visit at Ehrenbreitstein in 1772, he had been entertained by Leuch-
senring and cherished a certain respect for him. Here in the
masquerade Goethe makes free with Merck, according to Wilmanns,
and satirizes his rationalizing zeal, but it is not hard to see that the
1 Goethe's words on that book may be here quoted : "AHe die Herren irren
sich, wenn sie glauben, sie beurtheilen ein Buch — es ist eine Menschenseele."
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 25
piece might in a certain sense, in view of the sharper satire of
Leuchsenring, be said to " pay court to Merck." This expression
from Caroline Flachsland in regard to the play is unintelligible to
Wilmanns, while Scherer explains it by supposing that Ahasuerus
represents Merck, and that the work was sent to Darmstadt (the
tragedy signalizes Ahasuerus v birthday) as a birthday compliment
to Merck. It was sent in, or just before, April, 1773, and Merck's
birthday is said to have been early in this month.
Scherer's reasoning for reversing the parts in the first act of the
tragedy is as follows : In the first place he mentions Wilmanns'
quotation from Goethe in regard to Herr von La Roche's " unver-
sohnlichen Hass gegen das Pfaffenthum." He had published
some vigorous letters in regard to monachism. " Is not Haman's
part involving a hatred of priestcraft more in accordance with La
Roche's than Merck's notions?" Scherer would seem to ask.
In the second place he asks, " Where does Wilmanns find proof
for the proselyting rationalism of Merck ? " The entire issue of
the " Frankfurter Gelehrten Anzeigen," for 1772, when Merck
edited it, protests against such rationalism, and Herder pays Merck's
own contributions the compliment that " he was always in them
Socrates-Addison." As a proof of the freedom of the journal
under Merck's editorship from rationalizing tendencies, Scherer
cites a review of Damm's " Vom historischen Glauben." This
was a decidedly rationalizing book. The author puts the divine
authority of the Bible under the critical examination of the sound
reason, and says, " one can never appeal to the Bible in defiance
of the sound reason ; the sound reason is rather the judge in
regard to those human writings." Scherer quotes the following
interesting passage from the criticism of the book: "Welchen
Namen soil man diesem menschenfeindlichen Eifer gehen?
Sie ' sehen bey Brahmanen, - Schamanen, Gebern, und Sinesen
(iberall die Faden der Wahrheit durch die sonderbare Textur
ihrer Religion durchziehen und nur bei uns erkennen sie
sie nicht in dem Vorhang des Allerheiligsten. Sie sagen und
beweisen uns, dass dieser Baum des Erkenntnisses durch so man-
cherlei Jahrhunderte und Sekten und Dogmen und Concilien habe
mussen verschnitten, angebunden, ausgeputzt, gezogen, genahrt und
gepflegt werden, bis er in dieser Gestalt erschienen sei. Und ist
er nun auf einmal so alt oder hat er nicht vielmehr jetzo das Alter,
das er nach so vielen Verandernugen haben miisste und sollte?
1 Such as the author.
26 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
. . . Wer seine Briider liebt und den Lauf der Welt ein wenig
kennt, der wird fiihlen dass man mehr zum Wohl des Ganzen
beitragt wenn man sein eigen Feld im Frieden baut, ohne Projecte
furs allgemeine Wohl zu machen, und in allem Jahreszeit und
Witterung abwartet." Not a very religious protest one might say.
Simply " let well enough alone," something like " das ewige gelten
lassen, das leben und leben lassen," which, in Goethe's character,
was to Merck " an abomination." But between this passage and
Ahasuerus' utterances in the tragedy there is certainly a closer
affinity than between this and Hainan's intolerant rationalism.
And without doubt one must admit Scherer's implication that
the sentiments of Merck's editing are fairly represented by this
passage. But how can one account for a remark in a letter 1 of
Sophie La Roche to Merck that " he ought not to have suffered that
in the very first leaves of the journal nuns and priests should be
attacked ; it had offended some persons " ? Possibly the two
views are to be reconciled by assuming that at first Merck gave
his own ideas freer rein, and learned by experience that a more
careful regard for existing institutions, religious and other, would
conduce to the prosperity of the journal. The newspaper editor
wanted even then, first and foremost, circulation. Merck was a
business man, and it is not very averse to the traditional opinion
in regard to him to suppose that on more than one occasion, when
sending copy to his printers, he may have thrust his tongue into
It is fairly legitimate for one who holds firmly to the hypothesis
that more of Merck than of any other person underlies the Mephis-
topheles in " Faust," to adduce here, as confirmatory of the view
that Wilmanns advances in regard to Merck's rationalism, the rage
and jests of Mephistopheles over the rapacity of the church, as he
walks with Faust, after Margaret's mother has handed to the priest
the first jewelry supplied by the tempter.
It is not improbable that these humorous but profound words,
Die Kirche hat einen guten Magen,
Hat ganze Lander aufgefressen ;
Und doch noch nie sich ubergessen;
Die Kirch' allein, meine lieben Frauen,
Kann ungerechtes Gut verdauen,
were suggested by some bitter sarcasm from Merck himself.
1 This remark is quoted in Zimmermann's Merck, p. 133, from the first col-
lection of Merck's Letters, Darmstadt, 1835. I have verified the quotation.
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 27
The more closely the relations in the tragedy are assumed to
answer to the little comedy at Ehrenbreitstein, which, after Merck's
arrival, was soon played out, the more natural would seem to be
a direct antagonism between Mordecai and Haman. As it was
Merck who really opened Goethe's eyes to the character of this
sentimental adventurer, and as between Merck and Leuchsenring
the antagonism was most decided and became permanent, the
Ehrenbreitstein relations seem to answer to Wilmanns' argument.
The words of Haman,
Aber die leidigen Irrlehren,
Der Empfindsamen aus Judasa
Sind mir zum theuren Aerger da.
Was hilfts, dass wir Religion
Gestossen vom Tyrannenthron,
Wenn die Kerls ihren neuen Gbtzen
Oben auf die T rummer setzen.
Religion, Empfindsamkeit ;
's ein Dreck, ist lang wie breit.
Mussen das all exterminiren ;
refer, as has been said, to the new order of the " Empfindsamkeit"
that Leuchsenring proposed to establish. La Roche, to be sure,
laughed at the letters of the fraternity that the founder drew forth
from his exhausdess treasury, but Merck regarded them and their
porter as detestable. It is an ingenious suggestion by Wilmanns
that the concluding words of Mordecai that " the girls will thank
him for it," may be an allusion to a sudden departure by Leuch-
senring from the house of the La Roches, and that they thank him
for withdrawing and thus putting an end to a quarrel.
The reference of Esther to Frau Merck which naturally follows
Scherer's view of Ahasuerus, seems to violate the propriety of the
situation. Apart from the culture and elegance of Frau von La
Roche, of which contemporaneous letters are full, and which would
adapt her for the role that one would expect from Esther (in regard
to Frau Merck comparatively litde is known, and that little gives a
painful impression of the domestic relations of the Mercks), might
not the host and hostess fitly have the places which in the tragedy
Wilmanns assigns them ? It would seem that the inference should
be back from Esther's prototype to that of Ahasuerus, rather than
forward to her from him, as Frau von La Roche is too impor-
tant a figure in the circle not to receive a role in some way
28 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
On a point of such nicety, where two eminent scholars disagree,
it may not be safe to have an opinion. If the preference here
seems to be with Wilmanns in the exposition of the tragedy, there
are undoubtedly points in the analysis of other parts of the play
where Scherer's knowledge of details has helped him to a nicer
exactness. Few readers would need to wait for Scherer's minute
unfolding of obscure personal relations in order to agree to his
objection to the repeated assignment of several characters in the
masquerade to one person. It is barely possible that Goethe him-
self should be represented, not merely by the Doctor, but also by
the Tyroler, the Niirnberger and the Zigeunerbursch, though he
is undoubtedly behind the latter. It is not probable that Christian
Heinrich Schmid, whose acquaintance Goethe made in 1772, as is
deliciously described in the latter part of the twelfth book of the
Autobiography, is behind any other character than the Markt-
schreyer, whose deference for Doctor-Goethe aptly represents the
parasitic character of Schmid's relation to German literature. This
sagacious explanation by Wilmanns of the Marktschreyer is ap-
proved by Scherer, as is also the reference of the Zigeunerhaupt-
mann to Herder.
To ascertain the resultant of the various influences which Herder
exercised upon Goethe is one of the most difficult puzzles in con-
nection with this many-sided man. But in the piece before us the
testimony is pretty clear. The main passage from the masquerade
is the conversation between the Zigeurterhauptmann and the Zig-
Lumpen und Quark
Der ganze Mark.
Mocht ich mir holen.
Sind nicht den Teufel werth.
Feilschen und gaffen,
Gaffen und kauffen.
Kinder und Fratzen,
Affen und Katzen !
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 29
Mogt all das Zeug nicht,
Wenn ichs geschenkt kriegt.
Durft ich nur ttber sie !
Wetter ! wir wollten sie
Wollten sie zausen,
Wollten sie lausen.
Mit zwanzig Mann
Mein war der Kram.
War wohl der Mtthe werth.
There can be no doubt that the Zigeunerhauptmann is Herder,
and as little that the Zigeunerbursch represents Goethe. Here we
find Goethe recognizing the great talents of Herder and his supe-
riority to the common literary men of his time ; recognizing also
his ability and right to assault and rout the entire sickly brood.
We find Goethe also expressing his own willingness to be a humble
adjutant to so great a captain. One is at once reminded of the
letter of Goethe (quoted by Grimm in his account of Herder's
relation to " Gcetz von Berlichingen," and quoted in this connec-
tion by Wilmanns), in which Goethe compares himself to Georg
and Herder to Gcetz. "Derjungeim Kuras wollte zu friih mit
und Ihr reitet zu schnell." Yet Herder is here a gypsy-captain.
There is something bold and noble in him, but a wild flavor, a
touch of communism, an Ishmaelitish Rousseauism. But Goethe
is ready to follow him. In the " Pater Brey," too, Herder is a
captain of dragoons, a reformer, but brought into contrast with
Pater Brey-Leuchsenring, he represents a more orderly and
rational antagonism to a seductive sentimentalism, and warns
maidens against the dangers of a too familiar priesthood. Soldier
and reformer in both pieces, he receives Goethe's respectful homage.
But Scherer, who admits the typified relation between Goethe
and Herder here expressed by the Zigeunerhauptmann and the
30 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHILOLOGY.
Zigeunerbursch, believes that Goethe satirizes Herder in " Satyros,"
and Grimm conjectures that he is the original Mephistopheles.
This conjecture of Grimm's Scherer, even after his clever and
learned argument for the reference of "Satyros" to Herder for the
original, corrects to a supposition that Herder with others furnished
elements for the Mephistopheles, a very different and a very prob-
able supposition. Can the variance between Goethe and Herder,
lasting from the spring of 1773 to January, 1775, account for the
presentation in "Satyros," so utterly unlike that in the "Jahr-
marktsfest" and " Pater Brey " ? It is a question worthy of serious
consideration. Is it not possible that Goethe in "Satyros" satirizes
himself, and gives to the passion, so ingrained in his nature, to
bewilder and mystify his readers, its fullest scope ?
Behind the Milchmadchen in the "Jahrmarktsfest" Wilmanns
discerns and Scherer agrees with him in discerning Caroline
Flachsland, Herder's betrothed. Wilmanns refers the purchase of
the ring from the Marktschreyer-Schmid by the Zigeunerhaupt-
mann for Caroline to a recommendation by Herder of Otway's
" Orphan," published in a poor translation under Schmid's auspices.
Herder alluded in a letter to Caroline to the piece and its indeli-
cacy, but spoke glowingly of the character Monima. The modest
Caroline failed to refer to the piece in her later letters to Herder,
and the Darmstadt circle' made merry over the faux pas of the
gypsy -reformer. Scherer considers the purchase of the ring as an
allusion to the protracted engagement between Herder and Caro-
line. The reader can take his choice between these interpretations.
Caroline does not appear to have been a person of profound insight,
and the expression "man sieht sich an den sieben Sachen blind,"
is said by Scherer to characterize aptly her "uncritical admiration,"
which gushed forth on every occasion.
The ordinary assignment' of parts in " Pater Brey" also includes
Caroline Flachsland, who is said to be represented by Leonora.
As has already been stated, Balandrino is Herder and the Wiirz-
kramer is believed to stand for Merck. It would be strange if this
assignment of parts had no influence in suggesting to Wilmanns
Merck as behind Haman, which suggestion it favors, since the
Wiirzkramer is hostile to Pater Brey, as Haman is to Mordecai.
The Schattenspielmann is Wieland according to Scherer. Wil-
manns had already noticed that the Mercurius at the end of the
Schattenspielmann's harangue must be Wieland's journal, the
1 Goedeke, Vol. II, p. 718.
ONE OF GOETHE'S MASQUERADES. 31
" Mercur," but he found in the pleonastic " sie " of the showman's lan-
guage a probable but unintelligible reference to some definite per-
son. Scherer thinks Goethe only intended to represent the manner
in which a real showman of romantic nationality would mangle Ger-
man. Perhaps the affected romanticism of Wieland was satirized
by this comical repetition. Certainly Scherer's reference of the
showman's demand for darkness in order that his magic lantern
may undimmed send forth its rays, to the boasting assumption in
Wieland's preface to the " Mercur" that his periodical would furnish
by its reviews a great light in the darkness of German criticism, is
apt, and gives probability to the idea that the facile Wieland was
indeed the showman of the piece.
The analysis of the other characters reveals less well-known
personages, and the evidence for the application is not always con-
vincing. But if the farce with these explanations becomes to us
full of the brightness and vigor of a great mind at play, what must
have been the delight with which the initiated few, Merck and
Frau von La Roche for instance, noted the sharpness of the hits
(many of which are lost even for the great critics whom we have
followed) and discerned the skill with which they themselves and
other well-known personages were woven into a somewhat organic
whole. How instructive the piece becomes' under the analysis of
these German scholars in regard to Goethe's mental processes in
composition, for we are dealing here not merely with a phase, but
also with a tendency, and what a hope it inspires that, when by
and by the secrets of the Goethe-house are accessible, other and
nobler creations of Goethe, as yet unknown in their genesis, will
disclose the roots of their being ! We shall then admire the char-
acters no less, but the master still more, as it becomes more plain
that nothing in human nature of sweetness, or grandeur, or ugli-
ness escaped his searching eye ; that the most diverse elements
were happily united in his poetical fabrics ; that his characters are
so near and dear, because he ruled nature and transmuted the
sweets of her every flower into honey for the cold, dull winters of
a more prosaic time.