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of tke totally opposed character of the men . This antithesis Falk has unconsciously expressed in a sentence , which we , for that reason , copy . Treating of the problem of life / he remarks , ( i . 89 , ) that ' the universal question is not only concernin g a creation by art and science , but much rather concerning a creation by moral effects and actions , in strict conformity with that which
the voice of Heaven within us declares an indispensable duty , ' If we have not altogether failed in our attempts , our readers must by this time know that Goethe laboured intensely , during his long and happy life , in art and science . Falk , the child of adversity , had of necessity , as well as from natural impulse ,
laboured in the other direction of philanthropic exertion . We recollect both his literary life and the manifestations of character in his personal demeanour . Brought up in extreme poverty , he beheld society through the sad medium which generates satire ; and as a satirist first , and afterwards as a moral poet in his Prometheus , he was known as a man of letters ; but he was more
highly valued as an active philanthropist and able man of business . He acquired great credit by his skill and activity during the deplorable time of the occupation of Weimar by the French , in 1806 ; and by the establishment of asylums for orphan children . The sentimental and moral character of his mind—so different from Goethe ' s—is diffused over this little
essay , which is chiefly valuable because it exhibits Goethe under a point of view in which we had never before the means of beholding him . Infinite as are the occasions on which Goethe has expressed feelings and thoughts on the great problems of relig ion and philosophy , it is only in the conversations here recorded that they assume the character of personal convictions . To all , therefore , to whom the notions of such a man as Goethe , on
matters of transcendent importance , have any value , this book , did it convey nothing else , might be confidently recommended . We lament our inability to extract the whole of the conversation on the day of Wieland's funeral ; and , in the selection of parts , have made choice rather of the intelligible than the argumentative , since many will be satisfied with the results , who would shrink from the labour of accompanying the reasoning process .
Our departed friend was naturally the principal subject of our conversation . Without deviating greatly from its current , I asked him on one occasion , when he spoke of the continuance of existence after death , as a thing of course , * And what do you think is at this moment the occupation of Wielancl ' s soul ?" .... Nothing petty , nothing unworthy lit
nothing out of keeping with that moral greatness which he all his ' sustained . " .... * It is something to have passed a life of eighty years in unblemished dignity and honour ; it is something to have attaint tl j that pitch of refined wit , of tender , elegant thought , which predominate " so delightfully in Wieland ' s soul ; it is something to have possessed tl » a j industry , that iron persistency and perseverance , in which he surpass
178 Characteristics of Goethe .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), March 2, 1834, page 178, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2631/page/18/