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acc., accusative.

adj., adjective. adv., adverb. cf., compare. coll., colloquial. dat., dative. fem., feminine. f., following. gen., genitive.

i.e., that is, to illustrate. Introd., Introduction. ., line.

ll., lines.
lit., literally.

masc., masculine.

M. H. G., Middle High German. neut., neuter.

nom., nominative.

part., participle.

perf., perfect.

pl. or plur., plural.

sc., scilicet, namely; being understood

S. D., Stage Directions.

subj., subjunctive.




For all proper names see Index of Names and Places.

The references to Schiller's and Goethe's works are to the Kürschner editions of the Deutsche National-Litteratur.

S. D. bei Wiedereröffnung der Schaubühne. The Weimar Court Theatre, built in 1780, was rebuilt and slightly enlarged under the direction of the Stuttgart painter and architect Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret in 1798. This Prologue was recited on the occasion of the reopening of the theatre, Oct. 12, 1798, by Heinrich Vohs, one of the actors of the Weimar troupe, who appeared in the costume of Max Piccolomini.

line 1. Der scherzenden, der ernsten Maske; Greek actors wore masks upon the stage, and so the Greeks generally represented the muses of Comedy and Tragedy with masks in their hands, the Muse of Comedy with a comic mask, the Muse of Tragedy with a tragic Hence scherzende Maske refers to Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, and ernste Maske to Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy.


1. 2. willig Ohr; in familiar discourse and in poetry an adj. is often uninflected before a neut. noun in the nom, and acc. sing. Cf. Prolog, ll. 39, 46, 64 etc.

1. 3. geliehn ... hingegeben, habt is omitted. The transposed auxiliary is often omitted in dependent clauses for elegance and terseness. - weiche, here sensitive, susceptible.

1. 7. harmonisch), here not an adv., but an uninflected adj. When two or more adjectives occur together in verse and are not joined by und, inflection is sometimes confined to the last.

1. 8. edeln Säulenordnung; cf. Goethe's description of the renovated theatre in Werke, XXXI, p. 43.

1. 15. Ein edler Meister refers to August Wilhelm Iffland (1759– 1814), a celebrated German actor, a popular playwright, and an admirer and friend of Schiller. He appeared on the stage in Weimar in 1796 and 1798, where he produced a deep impression.

1. 19. Die Würdigsten, viz. the best actors. This has special reference to Friedrich Ludwig Schröder (1744-1816), perhaps the greatest actor Germany ever produced, and especially famous for the representation of Shakespeare's tragedies. He took great interest in Schiller's Wallenstein, and even before the drama was finished, expressed the desire to appear in the rôle of Wallenstein

in Weimar. (Cf. Schiller's letter to Goethe of Feb. 20, 1798.) For some reason his ardor cooled, and in a letter of Oct. 6, 1798, Goethe suggested to Schiller that a few lines be introduced in the Prologue expressing the wish of the Weimar public to see the great actor. With this object in view Goethe enclosed a few lines to Schiller, which the latter accepted. In the same letter Goethe also proposed that less be said about Iffland and more about the actors, a suggestion which also seems to have met with Schiller's approval, so that the whole passage (11. 10-21) was influenced and partly written by Goethe.

1. 24. Kreis, this word has been interpreted as referring either to the auditorium or to the spectators. The former seems preferable. Die neue Bühne is not in apposition with dieser Kreis, but is a second subject of stehe, as is seen from the plural Zeugen in the next line.

1. 28. Kreis, here refers to the spectators.

1. 31. flüchtigsten Erscheinung refers to the art of acting, which is the most transitory of all the arts.

11. 32 ff. Cf. here Lessing's comparison between the work of the poet and that of the actor in the Ankündigung in the Hamburgische Dramaturgie.

1. 34. wenn has here the force of während.

1. 36. Hier, viz. in des Mimen Kunst (1. 32). 1. 37. Cf. Das Lied von der Glocke, 1. 414. 1. 39. daurend, cf. note to 1. 2.

1. 41. A frequently quoted line. Schiller's poetry abounds in sententious utterances, many of which have become proverbial. The Wallenstein drama is especially rich in epigrammatic statements. 1. 42. geizen mit, lit. be niggardly with, hence make the most of. 1. 43. erfüllen



11. 48-49. A familiar quotation.

1. 50. der Kunst, dat. of interest; Thaliens, Europens (1. 73) are now obsolete forms for the modern Thalias, Europas. Thalia is really the Muse of Comedy, but is here used for the drama in general.

1. 52. die alte Bahn, refers to the moralizing sentimental dramas dealing with the every-day life of the middle classes (Bürgerdramen). They were at the height of their popularity toward the end of the 18th century. The most successful playwrights of this class were Iffland (see note to 1. 15) and Kotzebue (1761-1819). Schiller and Goethe in their classic period were opposed to these vapid productions and tried to elevate public taste by poetic creations treating of the highest interests of humanity. Wallenstein was written in this spirit. Cf. Schiller's letter to Goethe of Aug. 31, 1798.

1. 54. höhern Schauplatz, viz. that of history.

1. 55. erhabenen Moments, a reference to the critical condition of Europe and especially of Germany in consequence of the great social and political upheaval caused by the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon.

11. 59-60. A familiar quotation.

1. 62. Schiller has here the remarkable career of Napoleon in mind, who, at the time the Prologue was composed, was engaged in his Egyptian expedition.

1. 66. France under Napoleon was aiming at conquest (Herrschaft), while the European Powers were struggling to maintain their independence (Freiheit). Napoleon's aspirations suggest the somewhat similar ambitions of Wallenstein during the Thirty Years' War.

1. 67. Schattenbühne, theatre of fiction, is contrasted with des Lebens Bühne (1. 69).

11. 70 ff. Zerfallen etc. The political status of Europe (die alte feste Form) established by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) was overthrown by the wars of the French Revolution. By the treaty of Campo-Formio (Oct. 17, 1797) Germany ceded to France the Belgian provinces and the left bank of the Rhine. This marked the beginning of the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, which was formally abolished in 1806, after the battle of Jena.

1. 72. willkommner Friede, the Peace of Westphalia was welcome to all Europe because it terminated the most destructive war in modern times.

1. 78. hoffnungsreiche Ferne; it is a sign of the weak political insight of Schiller that even in 1798, after the Peace of CampoFormio, he could still look hopefully to the future of Germany. 1. 80. Sechzehn Jahre etc. The war broke out in 1618, hence the immediate action of the drama begins in 1634.

1. 82. trüben, confused;

1. 84. Tummelplatz, arena.

gäret, seethes.

11. 85 f. Magdeburg ist Schutt; see Schiller's graphic account of the siege and capture of Magdeburg in his History of the Thirty Years' War, Werke, XI, pp. 150 ff.

1. 87. Der Bürger etc. See Schiller, Werke, XI, p. 333. 1. 91. Zeitgrund Hintergrund der Zeit, upon the dark back

ground of those times.


1. 93. ein verwegener Charakter, viz. Wallenstein. It is noteworthy that Wallenstein is mentioned nowhere in the Prologue by name. Goethe noticed the omission, and for the first recitation of the Prologue he inserted in several places the name of the hero. Cf. Goethe's letter to Schiller of Oct. 6, 1798.

1. 96. Die Stütze etc. An excellent characterization of the ambiguous relation of Wallenstein to the emperor. He was the emperor's chief support (Stütze), because he proved to be the only man able to cope successfully with the enemy, and yet he filled the emperor with terror_(Schrecken), because according to the terms of his contract with Ferdinand, he was given such unlimited powers, that he could, if he wished, use his army against the emperor himself. In Schiller's history he is also called „der Schrecken und doch zugleich die letzte Hoffnung des Kaisers." Cf. Werke, XI, p. 297.

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