Goethe’s letter to Schiller, Oct. 26, 1794

Quill-scrollNote:  This letter is one among many that comprise an ongoing correspondence between Goethe and Schiller.  The letter discusses other writings and projects that both together and separately pursuing. 

Text of Goethe’s letter to Schiller, Oct. 26, 1794

With great pleasure, I have read the manuscript you

sent me : I took it in at one draught. As a delicious

drink, suitable to our nature, slips down the throat grate-

fully, and at once, while only on the tongue, gives

evidence of its wholesome operation by the fine tone it

imparts to the nervous system, thus w^ere these letters

agreeable and salutary to me. And how could it be other-

wise, when I found that which I for a long time have

thought true, what I either praised or wished to praise,

set forth in so clear and noble a manner. Meyer, too, is

delighted with it ; and his keen impartial perception was

a strong confirmation to me. This agreeable mood was

near being ruffled by the accompanying note from Herder,

who would impute onesidedness to us who enjoy this

mode of exposition. But as one must not be too exacting

in regard to this world’s phenomena, and as there is ever

a consolation when one errs in the company of tried men,

while laboring for the profit and not the injury of oneself

and one’s contemporaries, let us cheerfully and undiverted

thus continue to live and labor, and figure to ourselves our

being and aims as a whole, that we may give as nearly as

possible completeness to our patchwork. The letters I

will retain for a few days, in order to enjoy with Meyer

the pleasure of reading them again.


Here are the Elegies. I wish you not to let them out of

your hands, but read them to those who have to judge of

their admissibility. After which I beg to have them back

to revise and perhaps retouch. If you find anything to

remark upon, pray point it out.


The Epistle is nearly copied, and will follow soon, with

several trifles ; then I must make a stop, for the third

book of the Novel requires my attention. I have not yet

the proof-sheets of the first ; as soon as they arrive, you

shall have them.


As to the Almanac,* I will propose to you to insert in,

or add to it, a little book of Epigrams. Singly they have

no value ; but we could, out of some hundreds (many of

which are not presentable), select a number which have a

bearing one on the other, and form a whole. You shall

see the sportive brood all together, in their nest, the next

time we meet.


Farewell, and remember me in your circle.


Weimar, 26th October, 1794.




Write me what you wish from me next for the Hörem,

and when you want it. The second epistle will be writ-

ten in the first favorable mood.