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SCHILLER IN LATE 1785



While Thomas Carlyle described Schiller as a not extremely humorous writer, evidence of Schiller's occasional outbursts of hilarity can be found in the following Loschwitz incident:

In mid-October, Schiller declined Koerner's invitation to come along on a trip into the countryside. He sat in his sanctuary, instead, all intent to write vigorously on his play. However, construction workers and laundry women distracted the poet to such a degree that he wrote the following poem entitled 'Bittschrift' (plea) which he afterwards put into an envelope and wrote on it, 'Untherthaenigstes Pro Memoria an die Consistorialrath Koernerische weibliche Wasch-Deputation in Loschwitz, eingereicht von einem niedergeschlagenen Trauerspieldichter' (most humble memorandum to the female laundry deputation of the household of Councillor Koerner at Loschwitz, by the discouraged writer of a tragedy). A near-literal translation into English reads as follows:

I hurry through the gallery
And--behold--I listen
to the young Princess Eboli,
in the sweet rapture of her wooing
Prince Carlos.
Now she sinks to his bosom.
With shudders of delight,
Divine lust in her eyes,
yet, in m i n e, despair.
The beautiful woman is about
to announce her triumph.
I can almost hear her--
hell and damnation!
What do I hear?--a wet stocking
is thrown back into the water,
and gone are poetic dreams and
rapture! God keep you, Princess!
The devil take writing poetry
on laundry day!



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