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Goethe, Attorney-at-Law In the epic "Reynard the Fox," Master Isengrim, the Wolf, has studied law at Erfurt, and seems to have gained nothing at that seat of learning but pedantry and rascality. As the poet puts it in a passage from his autobiography, "Truth and Fiction": "Lawyers, accustomed from their youth up to an abstruse style . . . could not easily rise to any thing of freedom"; and later in the same work: "The ceremoniousness of the legal profession, their striving for place, I had seen so often in friends and ac quaintances, and my father himself, with all his advantages and all his good-will, had foundered, so to speak, on this very rock." And to cite two flings at the fraternity from the powerful early tragedy "Gotz von Berlichingen" : We meet in that play a young advocate from Goethe's own city of Frankfort, a Doctor Juris of the University of Bologna, whose countrymen fail to treat him with adequate respect because they suffer from the strange delusion that good sense is quite as valuable an asset as a head full of Justinian; and we also make the acquaintance of a shrewd old gentleman who marries his daughter to his adversary in a lawsuit, on the theory that this is the only way of preventing the amount involved from leaving the hands of both and becoming the prop erty of the lawyers. But for all his sarcasm, Goethe was a lawyer to the end of his life, and a good one. Educated at Leipsic and Strassburg, winning his degree at the latter institution with credit, even though the faculty declined to publish his disser tation on the desirability of establish ing one state religion to which all citi zens must conform — a refusal which annoyed his father mightily but appears to have troubled the son himself very little, as he had picked his theme at random and written merely to please


that exacting old dogmatist — he prac tised a short time in Frankfort, plead'a few months before the Imperial chamber at Wetzlar, and on his removal to Weimar, served the government of that little Duchy for the greater part of his life, first as Privy Counsellor of Lega tion, and later as President of the Chamber of Finance. As a govern ment official he could scarcely have been more resourceful, judicious, or indus trious. His colleagues were at first sus picious of a man who had been known to write poetry and who had been guilty of the most talked-of sentimental novel of the day; but the event proved that in legal knowledge, business ability, and discretion, he was quite the equal of the hardest-headed of them all. His distaste for thelaw as an uninter rupted life-work is easily accounted for. In addition to the general fact that so exact a study could scarcely be expected to satisfy the soul-cravings of so richly imaginative a nature, there is the still more general fact that as versatile and independent a temperament as Goethe's could never have confined itself within the limits of any one profession. And further, in spite of the respectful tone in which he always speaks of his father, that gentleman's method of procedure was exactly calculated to produce in his son a distaste for whatever the father advocated. The elder Goethe's pedan try, his dogmatism, his martinet ways, would have troubled a more docile child than his son of his; and though the child knew Hoppe's "Examen institutionum imperialium" by heart almost in infancy, and had worked so carefully through Struve's "Jurisprudentia Romano-Germanica forensis" and others that when he came to attend lectures at Leipsic and later at Strassburg, the professors had little to tell him that he did not already know, his heart was