His personal effectiveness at the theater in Dresden was also somewhat inhibited. Much of it came at the expense of the general mood and the taste of the time. Other things were in conditions that could not be changed with the best will. He himself was not always able to intervene with equal force. The charge was loud, he fulfilled the expectations not. Then he met with actors and critics on decided contradiction. Some joined him amicably, others were irritable, opinionated, and vain; they believed a lei and that the matter is at least as well understood. Once he spoke a definite word, the cry was raised that he would persecute and oppress tyrannically, and through all instances, up to the highest, he was sued. Thus his views, his reading aloud, his study of the roles of those to whom he was to act at first, perhaps received the least recognition. The idea of getting rid of all these entanglements and giving up an ungrateful business came to maturity.
Nevertheless, under these losses and tribulations, he gathered strength for a greater work. In July 1840 he completed the 1896 started “Vittoria Accorombona”. It was his last seal. He did not call it novella, but novel; it was a well-executed time image that gave the historical novel after Walter Scott a new direction. The full creative imagination reappeared and led into the world of consuming passion and black crime. This picture of Italy at the end of the sixteenth century was a dreadful night piece reminiscent of some of his youthful poetry. Even in this last of his age there was something bitter, violent, demonic. He described a high, strong character who, in the midst of a corrupt and nefarious time, lifts himself up in the consciousness of power, and is dragged down into the general fall. Also, this substance had first attracted his attention in his youth, almost fifty years ago. An Old English drama in Dodsley’s collection had led him to Göttingen in 1792.
The impression was a split one. By recognizing the fresh power of the poet, the individual became morally offensive, the whole in the taste of the so-called French.romanticism found. The strictest critics saw him on the way to passing to the enemies, to the writers of emancipation and social radicalism. Of all that the prosecution had so confidently pronounced against him, he knew he was free, he had not wanted or intended any of it.
Also the year 1840 was designated by a death. Immermann, a friend almost thirty years his junior, died at a moment when he first received general recognition. In his last letter he had told Tieck that he was busy renovating Tristan and Isolde. He was not allowed to complete this work.
At last the death-devotion, which Dorothea Tieck had strengthened to firm conviction, was finally fulfilled. The studies, the domestic occupations, their charity had continued uninterruptedly. Neither internal movement nor wavering health could induce her to deviate from the strictly regulated course of her time-sharing. At the beginning of February 1841 she fell ill with the measles. When this seemed overcome, a nervous fever suddenly appeared. She died on February 21, fourteen days after the illness. These were the same weeks when two years ago Adelheid Reinbold, four years ago, had died.
From the first moment Tieck had feared the worst. A mortal fear and unrest tormented him. With this life, much of it was torn away from him, his own staggered. How his nature had never been attacked in its foundations, it seized him a spasmodic, squeezing pain that wrestled in vain for a print. Cold, rigid, tearless, without finding a word or any sound he hid in the most remote room. He did not want to see anybody, hear no encouragement; the hours, day and Night passed him indifferent and unnoticed. For his surroundings, this dull stare had something terrifying. On the day of the funeral, the queen sent a rich flower wreath. When he was told about it, he found the first tears.
Deeply moved were his numerous friends, and the few who had known the heavy battles of the departed. Whoever knew what she had been to the father could doubt whether he would get over this blow and be able to carry the life farther away. As her features were an image of his own, she possessed a portion of her rich mind; his love for poetry, languages and literature, the agility of talent, the deep feeling, the earnest seriousness and the dark melancholy that so often veiled his life. She had stood by his side, dividing his works and studies and his poetic fame. Although he could neither accept nor approve of the seclusion of his ecclesiastical faith, this opposition had seldom emerged, for she was far from intolerance, despite all the strength of conviction.
His sickness increased, the old age was there, the best forces were dying away; his work resisted him, life became a burden to him. Was it possible to wear it that way for a long time?
But the end was not there yet. One last act should begin. A few days after the daughter’s death a letter arrived from Berlin. He brought a royal invitation to live the summer in Potsdam. Tieck’s decision was made; he followed this call. He was rendered to Berlin, his native city.
Frederick William IV had started the government. It was an event that had been eagerly awaited, and to which a new spiritual movement was bound. The present state of the scientific and artistic world could not remain without influence. The personal sympathy which the king directed primarily to these sides of life was known. He saw significant changes, and heard that he was planning to assemble the most famous men in German science and art in Berlin.
Not a single moment was more favorable to remembering Tieck, and finally to enforce the often-discussed recall to his native city. It was known that the king had already expressed his full appreciation of his poetry in the past, that he regarded him as the last great representative of a brilliant literary period, and in whom man took no less interest than in the poet. Already in the summer of 1840 Tieck’s friends in Berlin had the wish that these circumstances would lead to a change in his position. He had just finished “Vittoria Accorombona”. It seemed like measure that he is sending the latest novel to the king as a token of homage just at this time. Knowing his favorable disposition, he overcame the natural shyness that had kept him from every step of the way, the sooner. It was the first time that he presented one of his poems to a ruling prince. But this prince was the king of his country and an admirer of his poetry.
At the same time the king had himself thought of calling Tieck, if not permanently, to invite him to his court as a guest. Already in August, the Prussian ambassador in Dresden, Jordan, made openings in this sense. The only question was whether Tieck, in his illness, would be able to exchange the quieter life in Dresden for a longer stay at the court in Sanssouci; whether the manifold circumstances in which he stood for Saxony would permit this at all. The king decided in the noblest way. He did not want to impose any constraint on him, at least at the expense of his health; he only wished to make his outer situation more favorable. The next intention was to give him an annual allowance to the Saxon pension; if it permits his health, he should come to visit Sanssouci, where a suitably furnished apartment will be ready in the castle. One will adorn his rooms with the pictures of older poets and masters, and take care of him in every way. It was the most benevolent royal sentiment, the most humane consideration that met him everywhere, and yet he wished to make life more enjoyable for him. Tieck himself already felt closer to the new conditions. When on the 15th of October the celebration of homage and the birthday of the king were celebrated, he composed the festival prologue for the brilliant performance in the opera house.
In the winter things finally came to a close. In his attachment to traditional and familiar conditions, he may have been difficult to resolve; but one was the rash, the death of his daughter Dorothea. Deeply shaken by the suffering of recent times, he gradually rebuilt himself to the idea of the new prospect, which had opened unexpectedly in his old age. He wished to leave his present place of residence at least for a time; he had to make friends with life anew. The invitation he received a few days after his daughter’s death was decisive. The king wished the depiction of a Greek tragedy on the theater of the New Palace in Potsdam; Tieck, as a stalwart authority, was invited to assist her by counsel and deed, and to help with other learned men of the subject.
At first, however, he needed strengthening. He hoped to find her again in Baden-Baden. In May he left. In Heilbronn he spent some time with Kerner, then in Baden; He returned in the summer. When he came through Heidelberg, near where he had had that almost fatal accident on the last trip, the students brought him a life high and a torchlight procession. Finally he arrived in Sanssouci.
The king received him graciously. Above all, he wanted a free, informal intellectual intercourse, and free movement alone could grant it. Tieck should not be obliged to anything, and only consider himself a friendly guest. Without the usual formalities, as often as his . Allow health and as often as he pleases to appear on the royal table, as in the evening in the narrower circles.
He felt strong enough again to enter a new life, which royal favor offered him. A relation developed, which can be put aside by the noblest of this kind. Here the poet indeed went with the king. In the free conversations, centered only on the highest interests, there was an easy-going give-and-take. Next, Tieck’s lectures, which were regularly continued for a while, made the biggest impression. He read the “Antigone”, then tragedies of Euripides and Shakspeare, or on request his own poetry.
There was also a certain activity. An attempt should be made to bring the “Antigone” closer to the understanding of the present through a presentation. Not the piece in its tragic effect alone, it should be made on the antique stage. It was a great study of antiquity. After Tieck read the tragedy several times after the translation of Donner, the chosen actors began to rehearse and rehearse. Felix Mendelssohn had composed the choirs, the production of the stage had been tried according to Böckh. On October 28, the performance took place in the New Palace in Potsdam in a circle of invited spectators. She succeeded well beyond expectations; the effect was such a great, so self-sufficient one, that later on it was possible to repeat the tragedy before the great public. Here, too, proved the power of the ancient poet.
Tieck’s next task was now fulfilled. With the Be In the beginning of winter he returned to Dresden. At the same time, however, it proved impossible to maintain this double relationship with Dresden and Berlin, to divide themselves between the two, and to fulfill duties and considerations against two courts. Tieck’s nature was based on nothing less than a courtier. Even his health, his age, his mental and physical way of life made it impossible. He first felt how much he was obsessed by Dresden. It was the habit of almost a quarter of a century; He had spent the richest and quietest years of his life here. The friendly and artistic connections, even the memories, were powers that could have held him. On the other hand, there was the prospect of a life that was unfamiliar, but full of meaning, and indeed carefree, perhaps a further significant effect. At last it was his native city, where he was offered this, where he found his brother, Raumer and many a friend again. After forty years of absence, as a result of the most honorable reputations, to return home, having been a stranger for so long, there was an inner balance and justice, an artistic end to his life. This, too, was important and worth considering.
In April, 1842, there was a second invitation to visit Sanssouci, which was a formal appointment. An important salary was promised, and only a general wish was expressed that Tieck should take care of the theater, and, in conjunction with the director of the royal theater, discuss ways and means for helping the sunken stage. For certain pieces, notably Shakspeare’s, he should be completely free. Keep hands, they should be presented entirely according to his orders. He decided to follow the honorable call and went to Sanssouci for the summer. Here new acknowledgments became his. Earlier, the king had awarded him the Rothen Adlerorden third class and the title of Privy Hofrath. Around this time, the new Order for Merit in Science and the Arts had been founded, whose closed membership should include only the most outstanding notabilities. On the 31st of May, the birth of Tieck, the king personally presented him with the decoration of this order in a congregation in the New Palace. A year earlier Guizot had sent him the Cross of the Legion of Honor.
In September he returned for the last time to Dresden to say goodbye and dissolve his household. The large volume of his library made the relocation much easier. Finally you were ready. But he had to buy the entrance into the new life with illness. On the trip he was hit by a stroke. He still reached Potsdam, but his condition seemed deadly. The language failed him and the right side was paralyzed. A protracted sickbed followed. It was only made in the next few months, but there was a weakness in the hand that made writing difficult at times. However, before the end of 1842 he was able to move into the winter apartment in Berlin.
As a result, he was set up on the orders of the king, a separate apartment in Potsdam. She was in a house in front of the Brandenburg Gate, which lay directly at the rear of the park of Sanssouci and not far from the castle. Above the door was the figure of a muse according to a model by F. Tieck. Here he recovered completely. It was a good time for him; Poetry, nature, and this time also the worldly honor, approached him united. The gleam of a brilliant evening-red passed over his life. Consultations on artistic questions, lectures of favorite poets alternated with conversation and sociability. He also took part in the pleasures of the king in the vicinity of Potsdam and on the Havel. He learned the most manifold proofs of royal favor. Except for the chair he was sitting on and the coat he wore, the precautionary consideration for his age and health extended. If he was unwell, it happened that the king himself visited him in his apartment. Since a carriage was also at his disposal, he now got to know the fair Havel shore after a long estrangement.
Here were the pictures of the earliest youth again. His mother’s relatives lived in the Havel areas, and it had been more than fifty years since he had wandered about these woods and hills as a wandering student. He remembered the faded feelings and emotions that filled him then, and the people who had shared with him. To these belonged a friend, as he called him at that time, the son of the schoolmaster in Lehnin, whom he frequented as a boy. Later he married a daughter of Tieck’s maternal uncle, but he had never heard of him; he did not know if he was still alive. Now he learned that the juvenile was still alive and was also a schoolmaster in Lehnin. He decided to visit him.
It caused quite a stir when the royal carriage appeared, and those sitting in it after the cantor Hinneberg asked. With the superintendent Tieck descended, and by this the old schoolmaster was quoted. Full of expectation, which meant such an extraordinary summons, he came. What a reunion it was! It was an old, dull-haired man who stopped wondering that the Superintendent had summoned him. He was not surprised to find a friend of his youth unexpectedly, though he had never heard of him again; he knew nothing of his poetry, of his glory, of his return to Potsdam. When he heard of Tieck’s position with the King, and that he was leading him, it only aroused his astonishment that Tieck, at such an advanced age, was able to read the pressure; he himself had long given up and limited himself only to rough. In the narrowest of spaces his life had passed away, for everything beyond, he had lost sense or power, or had never possessed.
Tieck had similar feelings when at the same time the memory of his eldest childhood friend Piesker reappeared. That first reunion in Dresden had been followed by a long break. Then he once heard that the friend had died. Now a member of Piesker’s family brought him news that he was still alive, but had said goodbye. Several letters from him immediately confirmed it. For the second time it was a shattering joy that filled him, as he called it, with this resurrection. Since he was just about to collect for his memoirs, so he asked the friend to write him everything that he knew of their youthful coexistence. But he had to smile when he not only sent him some notes, but also made the well-intentioned proposal, since she now [p. 111] both had time enough to collectively end the tragedies that had begun more than fifty years ago. It was, indeed, a return to childhood, which forgot all the intervening life and the gulf that separated the poet’s talent from the narrow sense of the petty bourgeois. True, Tieck might praise his fate in spite of all the suffering that had lifted him over the dusty military roads to the free heights of life.