Translation:Writings of Novalis/Faith and Love or the King and the Queen

Novalis Schriften, Volume 2  (1907)  by Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, edited by Jakob Minor, translated from German by Wikisource
Love and Faith or the King and the Queen
Original work published in 1798


Faith and Love
the King and the Queen


1. If you wish to secretly discuss something with a few others in a large, mixed company, and you do not sit next to one another, then you must speak in a special language. This special language, through either its intonation or its imagery, can become a foreign language. This latter will be a language of tropes and riddles.

2. Many have suggested that for delicate, easily misunderstood topics you should use a learned language, e.g., writing of such things in Latin. It is worth testing whether you could not so speak in ordinary language that the only one who can understand is the one who should understand. Every true secret must exclude itself from the profane. Anyone who understands it is, through ones own accord, legitimately a person in the know.

3. The mysterious expression entices more thought. All truth is ancient. The enticement of novelty lies only in its expressive variations. The greater the contrast in outward appearance, the greater the joy of recognition.

4. What you love, you will find everywhere, and see likenesses everywhere. The greater the love, the wider and more varied this world of likeness. My love is the abbreviation of the universe, the universe is the extension of my love. They all offer the friends of knowledge flowers and souvenirs for one's beloved.

5. But where does the earnest, mystico-political philosophical proposition come from? The spiritually sensitive person expresses his higher life in all of his functions; and so he also philosophizes much more vividly than normal, more poetically. This deep sounding belongs to the symphony of his sinews and organs. But does not the universal gain through individual relationships, the individual through universal relationships?

     6. Let the dragonflies fly; they are innocent strangers,
         Following the double star joyously, with gifts, hither.

1. A flourishing land is more of a royal artwork than a park. A tasteful park is an English invention. A country that satisfies heart and mind should be a German invention; and the inventor would also be the king of all inventors.

2. The best of the former French monarchs had proposed to make his subjects so well off that everyone would have chicken and rice on their table every Sunday. Would not the preferable government be one under which each farmer would rather eat a crust of moldy bread than meat under some other, thanking God sincerely for the fortune of being born in this land?

3. If I became prince tomorrow, I would first ask the king for a eudiometer. No instrument is more necessary to a prince. If I were him, I would also seek to draw life-giving air more from flourishing plantations than from saltpeter.

4. Gold and silver are the blood of the nation state. Accumulations of blood in both the heart and head reveal weaknesses in both. The stronger the heart, the more vigorously and freely it pushes the blood to the outer parts. Every limb is warm and vibrant, and the blood flows swiftly and strongly back to the heart.

5. A collapsing throne is like a falling mountain that shatters the plain and leaves behind a dead sea where otherwise there was a fertile land and spacious dwellings.

6. Just make the mountains the same, the sea will know to thank you. The sea is the element of freedom and equality. Nevertheless it warns against treading upon the bed of fool's gold. The volcano is alway there and with it the seeds of a new continent.

7. The noxious fumes of the moral world behave differently than their analogues in nature. The latter like to rise to the heights, the former remain stuck to the ground. For those who live in the heights, there is no better remedy than flowers and sunshine. Both have have only rarely happened to meet together upon the heights. Upon one of the tallest moral heights, can one only now enjoy the purest air and see a lily in the sun.

8. It was no wonder that the mountain tops thundered down onto the valleys so often and devastated the meadows. Most of the time, sinister clouds drew around them and hid from them their origins in the land; then, it seemed to them that the plain was just a dark abyss, or an outraged sea, over which the clouds appeared to pass, though nothing was actually enraged against them and they were gradually worn down and washed away by the apparently faithful clouds.

9. A true royal couple is to the entire people what a constitution is to the mere understanding. One can only be interested in a constitution for itself as one is interested in a letter. If the sign is not a beautiful image or song, then being faithful to images is the most inappropriate of all affections.—What is a principle, if it is not the expression of the will of a beloved, admirable person? Like every idea, doesn't the mystical sovereign require a symbol, and which symbol is more worthy and fitting than a lovable, magnificent person? Brevity of the expression is certainly worth something, and isn't a person a more brief, more beautiful expression of spirit than an assembly? Do not obstruct a person who has a lot of spirit with boundaries and distinctions; they will incite him even more. Only the spiritless feel burden and obstruction. By the way, a king born is better than one made. The best person will not be able to endure such an elevation without changing. Those who are born to it do not falter nor are they overwhelmed by such a position. And in the end, isn't birth the fundamental choice? Those who have not been obliged to have felt this vividly for themselves would doubt the freedom of this choice, its full selfsame unamity.

He who comes puffed up in his historical knowledge really does not know what I'm speaking about or the perspective I'm speaking from; to him I speak Arabic, and he would do best to go on his way and not mix with listeners whose idiom and customs are quite alien to him.

10. From my view, it may be that the letter is a thing of the past. There is no great praise for this time which it is so removed from nature, so senseless for family life, so opposed to to the most beautiful, poetic form of society. How astonished would our cosmopolitans be if the time of perpetual peace appeared and they beheld the highest, most cultivated humanity in the form of the monarch? The paper glue that now pastes the people together will dissolve, and the spirit will banish the ghosts that appeared in the letters and emanated from the scattered authors and presses, and fuse all people together like a pair of lovers.

11. The king is the true life principle of the state; just like the sun in the planetary system. First of all, the supreme life in the state generates the atmosphere of light around the life principle. It crystallizes in every citizen to a greater or lesser degree. The citizen's speech in the presence of the king become as shining and thus poetic as possible, or become expressions of the greatest inspiration. In the greatest inspiration, the mind immediately becomes the most engaged, the effects of the mind become reflections, but reflection by its nature is instructive, so the beautiful or perfect reflexion is associated with the greatest inspiration, so also the citizen's speech in the presence of the king will be the highest, most powerfully restrained, speech of keenest sentiment controlled by the most respectful prudence, one whose conduct to kept within the rules.

No court can exist without etiquette. But there is a natural etiquette, which is beautiful, and a phony, faddish, ugly one. The establishment of the former, therefore, is not an unimportant concern for the thinking king, as it will have a significant influence on the taste and love for the monarchy's form.

12. Every citizen is a civil servant. His income is only as such. One does wrong to call the king the first official of the state. The king is not a citizen therefore also not a civil servant. That is exactly what distinguishes the monarchy, that it is based on belief in a higher-born human being, on the voluntary acceptance of an ideal human being. I cannot choose a superior from amongst my peers; to anyone who is biased by the same circumstance as I, I can cede nothing. Therefore, the monarchy is a true system because it is bound to an absolute middle point; to an essence that belongs to humanity but not to the state. The king is a higher man to whom an earthly fate is given. This poetry imposes itself on a person necessarily. It alone satisfies a higher longing in his nature. All people should be qualified for the throne. The means of educating toward this distant goal is a king. He gradually assimilates the mass of his subjects. Everyone is sprouted from an ancient royal lineage. But how few still bear the stamp of this descent?

13. It is a large shortcoming of our states that one sees too little of the state. The state should be visible everywhere, every person to be characterized as a citizen. Wouldn't one love to see badges and uniforms instituted? Anyone who something like this is insignificant, does not know an essential peculiarity of our nature.

14. A regent can certainly not care for the preservation of his state in the present times more expediently than if he tries to individualize it as much as possible.

15. The old hypothesis that comets were the revolutionary flame of cosmos certainly applies to a different kind of comet that periodically revolutionizes and rejuvenates the spiritual cosmos. The spiritual astronomer has long noticed the influence of such a comet on a considerable part of the spiritual planet, which we call humanity. Mighty floods, climate change, fluctuations in the center of gravity, a general tendency to dissolve away, strange meteors are the symptoms of this violent incitation, the result of which will constitute the content of a new world age. Though it may be necessary that in certain periods everything is brought into flux in order to bring forth new, essential mixtures, and to give rise to a new, more pure crystallization, it is likewise necessary to alleviate this crisis and prevent the total dissolution, so that a core remains, a nucleus that brings together a new mass, and which then constitute beautiful new forms. So, the solid draws itself more tightly together, reducing the excess warmth so that one spares no means to prevent the breaking of bones and dissolution of the typical fibers.

Wouldn't it be nonsense to make a crisis permanent, and to believe that the feverish state is the true, healthy state, upon whose preservation all must be focused? By the way, who may doubt its necessity, its beneficial effect.

16. There will be a time coming and soon, when one will be generally convinced that there can exist no king without a republic and no republic without a king, that it is found that both are indivisible, like body and soul, and that a king without a republic and a republic without a king become only words without meaning. Thus a king always develops simultaneously with a true republic, and a republic with a true king. The real king will be the republic, the real republic be the king.

17. Those, who in our day denounce princes per se and nowhere exemplify grace except in the new, French manner, who also only recognize the republic under its representative form and claim self-evidently that there is a only a republic where there would be primary and electoral assemblies, directories and councils, municipal offices and freedom trees, who are miserable philistines, empty of spirit and poor in heart, scribblers, looking to hide their righteousness and inner ignorance under the colorful flags of triumphant fashion, under the imposing mask of cosmopolitanism, and they deserve opponents like the obscurants who will bring to life with absolute perfection the battle of frogs and mice.

18. Doesn't the king become a king as a result of your heartfelt sense of value?

19. What was day one for other princes will be an ordinary day in the life for the king. Most reigns are only day one. Day one is the life of these ephemeral ones. Then they die and then their relics are variously abused. And so, most so-called reigns are interregnums; the princes are only the red holy wax that sanctions commands.

20. What are medals? Will-o'-the-wisps or falling stars. A ribbon should be a Milky Way, typically it is only a rainbow, an edge of the thunderstorm. A letter, a picture from the queen; those would be medals, awards of the highest kind; awards that sparked magnificent deeds. Deserving housewives should also receive similar badges of honor.

21. It is true that the queen does not have a political sphere of action, but she has a large domestic sphere of action. Her excellence befits her for the education of her sex, the supervision of children in their first years, in the household manners, the provisions to the poor and the sick, particularly of those of her sex, the tasteful decoration of the house, the arrangement of family celebrations, and the establishment of the courtly activity according to law. She should have her own chancellery and her husband would be her first minister with whom she considers everything. The education of her sex would include the abolition of express forms of corruption. When entering a city, shouldn't the queen shudder when the most profound degradation of her sex is a public profession? The harshest punishment is not too severe for those who barter with souls. A murder is far less blameworthy. The vaunted guarantee of values it intends is a peculiar incitement to depravity. As little as the government is allowed to involve itself in private affairs, it should still look into every complaint, every public scandal, every charge or accusation relating to a dishonorable affair with the strictest scrutiny. Who stands for the rights of the offended sex more than the queen? She must blush to stay in a city that has such asylums and educational institutions of depravity.

Incidentally, her example would have an endless effect. Happy marriages would become more frequent and domestic life more fashionable. At the same time, she would become a true model for women's fashion. Certainly, clothing is very accurate device for measuring morality. Unfortunately, it always stands at a very low point in Berlin, often below zero. What could not be accomplished by the queen's model of social decorum on the women and girls in Berlin? In itself, it would be a distinction of honor and by necessity would make public attitudes moral again; and in the end public opinion is the most powerful restorative- and the means of moral education.

22. The conduct of the state depends on public opinion. Refining this opinion is the sole basis for true state reform. As such, the king and the queen can and must be the principle of public opinion. There is no longer a monarchy where the king and the state's discernment are no longer identical. Thus, the king of France was already dethroned long before the revolution, as were most of Europe's princes. It would be a very dangerous symptom of the new Prussian state if we were too insensible to the beneficent influence of the king and the queen, if indeed there is a sense of this marvellous couple. That will reveal itself shortly. If these spirits of our nation do nothing, then the complete dissolution of the modern world is certain, and the heavenly manifestation is nothing but the flash of fleeting life force, the celestial music of a dying man, the manifest retribution of a better world foretelling the coming of more noble generations.

23. The court is actually the great model for the household. It organizes the larger household of the state, this organizes the smaller, and so on. How powerfully court reform might not function! The king should not be frugal like a farmer or a well-off private person; but there is also a royal frugality, and this the king appears to know. The court should be the ideal model of private life on a large scale. The housewife is the composer of housework. So the queen is the composer of the court. The husband is decorative appearance, the wife arranges and organizes. Thoughtless housekeeping is most of the times the fault of the wife. Everyone knows that the queen is thoroughly against superficiality. Therefore I do not understand how she can endure court life as it is. Her taste, which is closely at one with her heart, must be unable to bear its insipid monotony.

Barring room decorations now and then, one comes across almost no trace of taste in the drama and concert of a European court, and even with those exceptions, how often are they tastelessly enjoyed, how often will they not be tastelessly enjoyed? But how supremely varied could it be? Guided by the queen's taste, a brilliant master of ceremonies could make the court into an earthly paradise, could guide it through the simple theme of enjoying life through inexhaustible variations, and allow it to behold objects of common devotion in an always new, always stimulating milieu. For what feeling is is more heavenly than knowing that the ones you love are the truest enjoyment of life.

24. Any educated woman and any caring mother should have the image of the queen in her or her daughter's living room. What a beautiful, powerful reminder of the archetype that everyone would have set themselves to achieve. The character trait of the new Prussian woman, her national trait, would be similarity with the queen. A lovely being in a thousandfold forms. A meaningful ceremony of homage to the queen could easily be instituted with each wedding; and thus one ought to ennoble ordinary life through the king and queen, as the ancients otherwise did with their gods. There genuine religiosity arose through this constant integration of the world of the gods one's way of life. So here, by continuously interweaving the royal couple in domestic and public life, true patriotism could arise.

25. The group sculpture by Schadow should be sought out for viewing by good society in Berlin. A niche for moral grace established and exhibited in assembly halls. This niche could be an educational establishment for the world of young women and the cultivated classes, and in that way the royal service would then be what worship service, in a similar way, should be, a true honor and reward for the most excellent of her sex.

26. Once, one had to flee from the court with one's wife and children, as from a place of contagion. Now, one will be able to distance oneself from general moral corruption at a court, as on a blessed isle. Once, a careful young man had to go to the outlying provinces, or at least go to families far removed from city and court, to find an excellent wife; in the future, as it should be according to the original idea, one will go to the court as the meeting place of the best and most beautiful to receive a wife from the hand of the king.

27. This king is the first king of Prussia. He puts on the crown every day, and his acknowledgement stands in no need of negotiations.

28. The king and the queen protect the monarchy with more than 200,000 men.

29. Nothing is more uplifting than speaking of our wishes when they are already being fulfilled.

30. No state is has been managed more like a factory than Prussia since the death of Friedrich William I. As necessary as such a mechanistic administration may be for the physical health, strengthening, and agility of the state, the state when it is handled just in this way, will essentially perish. The principle of the old famous system is to bind everyone to the state through self interest. The clever politicians had this ideal of state before themselves, where the interest of the state, as self centered as the interest of the state's subjects, were so artificially linked that the two mutually support one another.

A great deal of effort has been put into this political squaring of the circle: but the crude self-interest appears to be immeasurable and non-systematic. It did not allow itself to be limited, which is the requirement of every state institution. Through this formal acceptance of common egoism as principle a tremendous shame has occurred and the seed of revolution in our day lies nowhere but here.

With the growth of culture, desires became more diverse and the cost of satisfying them had to increase even more. Beneath all these luxuries and all these refinements of life and culture, the moral ethos was left behind.

Sensuality had too quickly won an enormous place. Even in these conditions, as people of this time developed their nature and lost themselves in the most diverse activities and most comfortable self-esteem, the other side must have seemed to them unimpressive, narrow and distant. Here they believed that they had arrived at the right path of their destiny, that here they had to use all their strength. As a result of their greatest understanding, it became the crude passion for self-interest and at the same time their watchword, which makes this passion so dangerous and insurmountable. How wonderful it would be if the current king were truly convinced that this path is only that of a gambler's fleeting luck, which is determined by constantly changing factors, such as the imbecility of his fellow gamblers or their lack of skill and finesse. One learns to cheat by being cheated, and how soon do the tables turn and the master becomes a pupil of his pupil. Only a righteous man and a righteous state can create lasting happiness. Of what help is all wealth to me if it hinders me from getting fresh horses hastening one's journey through the world? Unselfish love in the heart and its watchword in the head, that is the sole eternal basis of all true inseparable relations, and what else is the relationship with the state than a marriage?

31. Like a father, a king must not show preference. He should not just have military companions and aides. Why not the civilian ones also? When he enlists his capable generals as aides, why doesn't he also enlist capable chairmen and ministers? Only from there, will he pull all the threads of government together. There alone, one learns to pay attention to the big picture of the state and its details. There is no better place for educating oneself for leadership positions than the cabinet, where the wisdom of the state is concentrated, where every matter is thoroughly processed, and where one can follow the course of business to its smallest artery. Here alone will that stunted spirit vanish, that pedantism of businessmen that allows them them to put a unique value on their efforts and an infallible worth upon their opinions, that makes judgements on all things based on their own sphere of interest and their point of view, and tempts higher authorities to take one-sided, irregular half-measures. These small-town ways are visible everywhere and inhibit most true republicanism, the general participation of the entire state, the intimate contact and harmony of all members of the state. The king should have yet more military and civilian aides. Build for them the greatest state academy of practical politics, just like that greatest of state military schools. A place in both would already be reward and encouragement enough. For the king, this rotating company of the most honorable young men of his country would be most pleasant and beneficial. But for the young men, however, these years of apprenticeship would be the most glorious celebration of their lives, the occasion for a lifelong enthusiasm. Personal love would bind them forever to their sovereign, and the king would have the best opportunity to get to know his servants well, to choose, to respect and to love them personally. The noble simplicity of royal private life, the image of this happy, intimately connected couple, would have the most benevolent influence on the moral education of this core of Prussian youth, and so the king would most easily be granted the innate desire of his heart, to become the true reformer and restorer of his nation and his time.

32. Nothing more should be closer to the heart of the king than to be and to stay as well-rounded, as informed, well-oriented, and unbiased, in short, so complete a human being as possible. No person has more means in his hands to make this highest style of humanity his own than a king. He can always keep himself young through interaction and continuous learning. An old king makes a state as miserable as he is himself. Couldn't it be easy for the king to make himself familiar with the scientific advances of humanity. He already has academies of learning. If he were no to demand from these complete, accurate and precise reports on the previous and present situation of literature in general—timely reports on the most noteworthy incidents in particular, which the people should be interested in—summaries from the most pre-eminent books and the commentaries on them, references for those products of fine art works that earn their own consideration and enjoyment; and finally, suggestions for the promotion of the scientific literacy of the people, to fill scientific gaps and cultivate new literary seeds. And, if at all possible, get their interconnections organized, so he would set the state in working order, his state amongst other states, his nation within humanity and his own to oversee on a grand scale, and here, in fact, to cultivate himself a royal human being. Relieved of the trouble of extensive reading, let him enjoy abstracts from the fruits of European learning. After a short time of diligent contemplation upon this learned and inspiring material, he would call forth new, mighty powers from his spirit and seem himself as more pure element at the summit of the era. How divinatory his gaze would become, how sharp his judgment, how sublime his disposition!

33. A true prince is the artist of artists. That is, the director of artists. Everyone should be an artist. Everything can become fine art. The prince's material is the artist; his will is his chisel: he inspires, employs and directs the artist, because only he sees the whole picture from the correct perspective, because only he is the one to execute the great idea through which through which the unity of power and idea is expressed completely in the present. The regent produces an infinitely diverse spectacle, where stage and ground floor, actor and audience are one, and he himself is poet, director and hero of the play at the same time. How delightful when, as with the king, the directrice is at the same time the hero's lover and the heroine of the piece, when one catches a glimpse of the muse in her, it fills the poet with holy passion, and his lyre attunes to gentle heavenly melodies.

34. In our time, true miracles of transubstantiation have occurred. Does not the court transform itself into a family, the throne into a shrine, a royal marriage into an eternal covenant of the heart?

35. When the dove become the companion and beloved of the eagle, the golden age is near or already here, even if it is not yet publicly acknowledged or generally widespread.

36. Whoever now wants to see eternal peace and wants to gain love will travel to Berlin and see the queen. Then they can convince themselves that eternal peace loves heartfelt righteousness over all else and because of this, they will let them be eternally bound forever.

37. What have I wished for in front of everyone? This I will say to you: a spirit-filled representation of the the queen's childhood and youth. Certainly in the truest sense, the female years of apprenticeship. Perhaps not unlike Natalie's years of apprenticeship. Natalie seems to me like a fortuitous portrait of the queen. Ideals must be alike.

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This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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