Speech and Drama
IX. Style in Gesture
13 September 1924, Dornach
My dear Friends,
today we will take first a reading from Goethe that will illustrate for you many of the things of which we have been speaking in the previous lectures. You will have seen from the readings you listened to a few days ago—taken first from the earlier, and then for comparison from the later Iphigenie—what sort of an ideal for drama was living in Goethe at the beginning of his work as a playwright. He brought this form of drama to a kind of perfection in Götz von Berlichingen, also in some of the scenes in Faust, Part I. Goethe was working here essentially out of a feeling for prose—not yet out of an artistic forming of speech.
The first Iphigenie, which may be described as the German Tasso, proclaims itself at once, in contradistinction to the Roman, as a striking example of well-formed prose, although a prose that has, under the influence of the poetic content, been allowed to run into rhythm.
It was on his visit to Italy that Goethe began to interest himself in the artistic forming of speech. Contemplation of Italian art awakened in him a perception of how man's formative powers work, how they shape and mould a material artistically. With the whole strength of his soul, Goethe set himself to work his way through to what he now saw to be art in its purity. And this led him to feel that wherever possible he must re-mould his earlier work, he must form it anew, letting its form arise now from the language, from the formative qualities of speech.
Goethe accomplished this in an eminent manner with the material he had at hand in his earlier Tasso and Tasso. And in Tasso he succeeded even in letting the speech shape the whole drama throughout. This was an achievement of remarkable originality. There is perhaps no other work of its kind where the conscious endeavour has been made to develop a drama entirely within the formative activity of speech itself.
Now, it will of course be evident from what I was saying yesterday that speech formation alone is not enough; drama must have in addition mime and gesture. The intellect of the spectator—for that too should undergo artistic development as he watches the play—needs to see the gesturing as well as to hear the words. This was not sufficiently clear to Goethe at the time when he was working at his Roman Tasso and Tasso; he had not yet realised the importance of mime and gesture as an integral part of drama. Hence it is that we have in Tasso so striking an example of a drama where it is all a matter of speech, where everything follows from the forming of the speech.
But now put yourself in the position of having to produce Goethe's Tasso. As you begin to develop your picture of the stage, scene by scene, you will find that many different possibilities are open to you for your stage settings. It will certainly not be easy to introduce modifications into the form of the speech, for speech has here been brought to a certain artistic perfection; but your picture of the stage you will find you can plan in the most varied ways. There is, however, a passage in Tasso where, as producer, you will come up against an insuperable difficulty. It is in the scene where Tasso makes himself intolerable to the Princess, acting in such a way as to give a most unfortunate turn to the whole drama. Here the producer is helpless. There is, in fact, no way out. Call on all the artistic means at your disposal, and see whether as producer you can make a success of this passage. You will not be able to do it. That such moments occur in plays must be known and recognised, if the art of the stage is to be cultivated in the right manner. You will of course finally manage to devise some way of meeting the situation, but you will not be able to give artistic form to your pis alle.
This instance from Tasso can serve to show that in his work as dramatist Goethe did not altogether find the way from the forming of speech to the development of full drama that lives and weaves on the stage. That, one must admit, is an important fact; and the importance of it can be clearly seen in the further development of Goethe's work. For what do we find?
In his Tasso and Tasso, Goethe may be said to live in the speech, to live in it as a supreme and perfect artist. In the sphere of speech, these two plays are unsurpassed. Goethe himself knew well of course that drama could not stop here, that it must develop further. While still in Italy, he composed also many scenes for his Faust. These, however, did not take on a Roman character. The ‘Witches' Kitchen’, for example, was composed in Italy, and is thoroughly northern, thoroughly Gothic in the old sense. Goethe knew that for these scenes he must wrest himself free of the Italian influence that surrounded him, must forget all about it and be a complete northerner. This comes out also in the letters he was writing at the time. What had been possible with Tasso and with Tasso was not possible with the material he was dealing with in Faust.
And now we can follow the development a step further. Goethe began to write Die natürliche Tochter. In this play he shows that he wants to come right out on to the stage. He is not going to continue working in speech alone, he means to concern himself with the whole picture presented to the audience. He planned here a trilogy, but it was never completed; we have no more than the first part. As a matter of fact, only fragments, mere torsos, remain to us of all the plays that Goethe began after this time. Even Pandora—a work that was grandly conceived, as can be seen from the rough sketch the author made of the whole—was never completed. Faust alone was finished, but finished in such a way that only in the speech was the poet happy and successful; for the rest, he drew on tradition. The last grand scene is derived from the traditional imaginative conceptions of Roman Catholicism. Goethe did not find in himself the sources for that scene.
Inherent of course in all this lies Goethe's profound honesty; Faust alone he finishes, and that, as can plainly be seen, out of a certain inability! The other plays he leaves unfinished, because he knew he could not complete them without entirely re-forming them. A dishonest artist would have finished them. Naturally, it is easy enough to polish off plenty of plays if one has no inclination or ability to delve down to the very deeps and make contact with the Archai of all creating. Oh yes, one can then complete many things to one's own satisfaction!
A number of different people have set out to complete Schiller's Demetrius, for example, but not one among them all has left us an artistic creation; no single ending proposed can be said to develop the play artistically. And it is art that we must really begin again to care about and expect to find. We must get to know art in its foundations, we must develop again a genuine artistic sensitiveness. For a long time this has been lacking. Traditions have survived, they have been handed down; but sensitiveness to true art—that is what our civilisation needs. The art of the stage has unique opportunity for helping this sensitiveness to develop: it can turn to good account the living relationship that subsists between stage and spectator. Unless we seize on this opportunity, we shall not get any farther.
In order to show you—or I should rather say, remind you, for I assume you are all of you familiar with the play—in order to remind you how far the forming of the speech dominated Goethe's dramatic work in the period of its highest attainment, we will ask you now to listen to the first scene from his Torquato Tasso. Frau Dr. Steiner will recite it for us.
(Frau Dr. Steiner): Let me first recall to you the setting of the scene. It takes place in a garden ornamented with columns carrying the busts of epic poets. In the foreground are Virgil on the right and Ariosto on the left.
Du siehst mich lächelnd an, Eleonore,
Und siehst dich selber an und lächelst wieder.
Was hast du? Lass es eine Freundin wissen!
Du scheinst bedenklich, doch du scheinst vergnügt.
Ja, meine Fürstin, mit Vergnügen seh' ichPRINZESSIN
Uns beide hier so ländlich ausgeschmückt.
Wir scheinen recht beglückte Schäferinnen,
Und sind auch wie die Glücklichen beschäftigt.
Wir winden Kränze. Dieser, bunt von Blumen,
Schwillt immer mehr und mehr in meiner Hand;
Du hast mit höherm Sinn und grösserm Herzen
Den zarten, schlanken Lorbeer dir gewählt.
Die Zweige, die ich in Gedanken flocht,
Sie haben gleich ein würdig Haupt gefunden:
Ich setze sie Virgilen dankbar auf.
(Sie kränzt die Herme Virgils.)
So drück' ich meinen vollen frohen Kranz
Dem Meister Ludwig auf die hohe Stirne—
(Sie kränzt Ariostens Herme.)
Er, dessen Scherze nie verblühen, habe
Gleich von dem neuen Frühling seinen Teil.
Mein Bruder ist gefällig, dass er uns
In diesen Tagen schon aufs Land gebracht:
Wir können unser sein und stundenlang
Uns in die goldne Zeit derDichter träumen.
Ich liebe Belriguardo, denn ich habe
Hier manchen Tag der Jugend froh durchlebt,
Und dieses neue Grün und diese Sonne
Bringt das Gefühl mir jener Zeit zurück.
Ja, es umgibt uns eine neue Welt!
Der Schatten dieser immer grünen Bäume
Wird schon erfreulich. Schon erquickt uns wieder
Das Rauschen dieser Brunnen. Schwankend wiegen
Im Morgenwinde sich die jungen Zweige.
Die Blumen von den Beeten schauen uns
Mit ihren Kinderaugen freundlich an.
Der Gärtner deckt getrost das Winterhaus
Schon der Zitronen und Orangen ab.
Der blaue Himmel ruhet über uns,
Und an dem Horizonte löst der Schnee
Der fernen Berge sich in leisen Duft.
Es wäre mir der Frühling sehr willkommen,
Wenn er nicht meine Freundin mir entführte.
Erinnere mich in diesen holden Stunden,
O Fürstin, nicht, wie bald ich scheiden soll.
Was du verlassen magst, das findest du
In jener grossen Stadt gedoppelt wieder.
Es ruft die Pflicht, es ruft die Liebe mich
Zu dem Gemahl, der mich so lang entbehrt.
Ich bring' ihm seinen Sohn, der dieses Jahr
So schnell gewachsen, schnell sich ausgebildet,
Und teile seine väterliche Freude.
Gross ist Florenz und herrlich, doch der Wert
Von allen seinen aufgehäuften Schätzen
Reicht an Ferraras Edelsteine nicht.
Das Volk hat jene Stadt zur Stadt gemacht,
Ferrara ward durch seine Fürsten gross.
Mehr durch die guten Menschen, die sich hier
Durch Zufall trafen und zum Glück verbanden.
LEONORESehr leicht zerstreut der Zufall, was er sammelt.
Ein edler Mensch zieht edle Menschen an
Und weiss sie festzuhalten, wie ihr tut.
Um deinen Bruder und um dich verbinden
Gemüter sich, die euer würdig sind,
Und ihr seid eurer grossen Väter wert.
Hier zündete sich froh das schöne Licht
Der Wissenschaft, des freien Denkens an,
Als noch die Barbarei mit schwerer Dämmrung
Die Welt umher verbarg. Mir klang als Kind
Der Name Herkules von Este schon,
Schon Hippolyt von Este voll ins Ohr.
Ferrara ward mit Rom und mit Florenz
Von meinem Vater viel gepriesen! Oft
Hab' ich mich hingesehnt; nun bin ich da.
Hier ward Petrarch bewirtet, hier gepflegt,
Und Ariost fand seine Muster hier.
Italien nennt keinen grossen Namen,
Den dieses Haus nicht seinen Gast genannt.
Und es ist vorteilhaft, den Genius
Bewirten: gibst du ihm ein Gastgeschenk,
So lässt er dir ein schöneres zurück.
Die Stätte, die ein guter Mensch betrat,
Ist eingeweiht; nach hundert Jahren klingt
Sein Wort und seine Tat dem Enkel wieder.
Dem Enkel, wenn er lebhaft fühlt wie du.
Gar oft beneid' ich dich um dieses Glück.
Das du, wie wenig andre, still und rein
Geniessest. Drängt mich doch das volle Herz,
Sogleich zu sagen, was ich lebhaft fühle;
Du fühlst es besser, fühlst es tief und—schweigst.
Dich blendet nicht der Schein des Augenblicks.
Der Witz besticht dich nicht, die Schmeichelei
Schmiegt sich vergebens künstlich an dein Ohr:
Fest bleibt dein Sinn und richtig dein Geschmack,
Dein Urteil grad, stets ist dein Anteil gross
Am Grossen, das du wie dich selbst erkennst.
Du solltest dieser höchsten Schmeichelei
Nicht das Gewand vertrauter Freundschaft leihen.
Die Freundschaft ist gerecht, sie kann allein
Den ganzen Umfang deines Werts erkennen.
Und lass mich der Gelegenheit, dem Glück
Auch ihren Teil an deiner Bildung geben;
Du hast sie doch, und bist's am Ende doch,
Und dich mit deiner Schwester ehrt die Welt
Vor allen grossen Frauen eurer Zeit.
Mich kann das, Leonore, wenig rühren,
Wenn ich bedenke, wie man wenig ist,
Und was man ist, das blieb man andern schuldig.
Die Kenntnis alter Sprachen und des Besten,
Was uns die Vorwelt liess, dank' ich der Mutter;
Doch war an Wissenschaft, an rechtem Sinn
Ihr keine beider Töchter jemals gleich,
Und soll sich eine ja mit ihr vergleichen,
So hat Lucretia gewiss das Recht.
Auch, kann ich dir versichern, hab' ich nie
Als Rang und als Besitz betrachtet, was
Mir die Natur, was mir das Glück verlieh.
Ich freue mich, wenn kluge Männer sprechen,
Dass ich verstehen kann, wie sie es meinen.
Es sei ein Urteil über einen Mann
Der alten Zeit und seiner Taten Wert;
Es sei von einer Wissenschaft die Rede,
Die, durch Erfahrung weiter ausgebreitet,
Dem Menschen nutzt, indem sie ihn erhebt;
Wohin sich das Gespräch der Edlen lenkt,
Ich folge gern, denn mir wird leicht, zu folgen.
Ich höre gern dem Streit der Klugen zu,
Wenn um die Kräfte, die des Menschen Brust
So freundlich und so fürchterlich bewegen,
Mit Grazie die Rednerlippe spielt;
Gern, wenn die fürstliche Begier des Ruhms,
Des ausgebreiteten Besitzes, Stoff
Dem Denker wird, und wenn die feine Klugheit,
Von einem klugen Manne zart entwickelt,
Statt uns zu hintergehen, uns belehrt.
Und dann, nach dieser ernsten Unterhaltung,
Ruht unser Ohr und unser innrer Sinn
Gar freundlich auf des Dichters Reimen aus,
Der uns die letzten lieblichsten Gefühle
Mit holden Tönen in die Seele flösst.
Dein hoher Geist umfasst ein weites Reich,
Ich halte mich am liebsten auf der Insel
Der Poesie in Lorbeerhainen auf.
In diesem schönen Lande hat man mir
Versichern wollen, wächst vor andern Bäumen
Die Myrte gern. Und wenn der Musen gleich
Gar viele sind, so sucht man unter ihnen
Sich seltner eine Freundin und Gespielin,
Als man dem Dichter gern begegnen mag,
Der uns zu meiden, ja, zu fliehen scheint,
Etwas zu suchen scheint, das wir nicht kennen
Und er vielleicht am Ende selbst nicht kennt.
Da wär' es denn ganz artig, wenn er uns
Zur guten Stunde träfe, schnell entzückt
Uns für den Schatz erkennte, den er lang'
Vergebens in der weiten Welt gesucht.
Ich muss mir deinen Scherz gefallen lassen,
Er trifft mich zwar, doch trifft er mich nicht tief.
Ich ehre jeden Mann und sein Verdienst,
Und ich bin gegen Tasso nur gerecht.
Sein Auge weilt auf dieser Erde kaum;
Sein Ohr vernimmt den Einklang der Natur;
Was die Geschichte reicht, das Leben gibt,
Sein Busen nimmt es gleich und willig auf:
Das weit Zerstreute sammelt sein Gemüt,
Und sein Gefühl belebt das Unbelebte.
Oft adelt er, was uns gemein erschien,
Und das Geschätzte wird vor ihm zu nichts.
In diesem eignen Zauberkreise wandelt
Der wunderbare Mann und zieht uns an,
Mit ihm zu wandeln, teil an ihm zu nehmen:
Er scheint sich uns zu nahn, und bleibt uns fern;
Er scheint uns anzusehn, und Geister mögen
An unsrer Stelle seltsam ihm erscheinen.
Du hast den Dichter fein und zart geschildert,
Der in den Reichen süsser Träume schwebt.
Allein mir scheint auch ihn das Wirkliche
Gewaltsam anzuziehn und festzuhalten.
Die schönen Lieder, die an unsern Bäumen
Wir hin und wieder angeheftet finden,
Die, goldnen Aepfeln gleich, ein neu Hesperien
Uns duftend bilden, erkennst du sie nicht alle
Für holde Früchte einer wahren Liebe?
Ich freue mich der schönen Blätter auch.
Mit mannigfalt'gem Geist verherrlicht er
Ein einzig Bild in allen seinen Reimen.
Bald hebt er es in lichter Glorie
Zum Sternenhimmel auf, beugt sich verehrend
Wie Engel über Wolken vor dem Bilde;
Dann schleicht er ihm durch stille Fluren nach,
Und jede Blume windet er zum Kranz.
Entfernt sich die Verehrte, heiligt er
Den Pfad, den leis ihr schöner Fuss betrat.
Versteckt im Busche, gleich der Nachtigall,
Füllt er aus einem liebekranken Busen
Mit seiner Klagen Wohllaut Hain und Luft;
Sein reizend Leid, die sel'ge Schwermut lockt
Ein jedes Ohr, und jedes Herz muss nach—
Und wenn er seinen Gegenstand benennt,
So gibt er ihm den Namen Leonore.
Es ist dein Name, wie es meiner ist.
Ich nähm' es übel, wenn's ein andrer wäre.
Mich freut es, dass er sein Gefühl für dich
In diesem Doppelsinn verbergen kann.
Ich bin zufrieden, dass er meiner auch
Bei dieses Namens holdem Klang gedenkt.
Hier ist die Frage nicht von einer Liebe,
Die sich des Gegenstands bemeistern will,
Ausschliessend ihn besitzen, eifersüchtig
Den Anblick jedem andern wehren möchte.
Wenn er in seliger Betrachtung sich
Mit deinem Wert beschäftigt, mag er-auch
An meinem leichtem Wesen sich erfreun.
Uns liebt er nicht—verzeih, dass ich es sage!—
Aus allen Sphären trägt er, was er liebt,
Auf einen Namen nieder, den wir führen,
Und sein Gefühl teilt er uns mit; wir scheinen
Den Mann zu lieben, und wir lieben nur
Mit ihm das Höchste, was wir lieben können.
Du hast dich sehr in diese Wissenschaft
Vertieft, Eleonore, sagst mir Dinge,
Die mir beinahe nur das Ohr berühren
Und in die Seele kaum noch übergehn.
Du, Schülerin des Plato! nicht begreifen,
Was dir ein Neuling vorzuschwatzen wagt?
Es müsste sein, dass ich zu sehr mich irrte;
Doch irr' ich auch nicht ganz, ich weiss es wohl.
Die Liebe zeigt in dieser holden Schule
Sich nicht, wie sonst, als ein verwöhntes Kind:
Es ist der Jüngling, der mit Psychen sich
Vermählte, der im Rat der Götter Sitz
Und Stimme hat. Er tobt nicht frevelhaft
Von einer Brust zur andern hin und her;
Er heftet sich an Schönheit und Gestalt
Nicht gleich mit süssem Irrtum fest, und büsset
Nicht schnellen Rausch mit Ekel und Verdruss.
Da kommt mein Bruder! Lass uns nicht verraten,
Wohin sich wieder das Gespräch gelenkt:
Wir würden seinen Scherz zu tragen haben,
Wie unsre Kleidung seinen Spott erfuhr.
Act I. Scene 1.
(PRINCESS and LEONORA, habited as shepherdesses.)
Smiling thou dost survey me, Leonora,
And with a smile thou dost survey thyself.
What is it? Let a friend partake thy thought!
Thou seemest pensive, yet thou seemest pleased.
Yes, I am pleased, my princess, to behold
Us twain in rural fashion thus attir'd.
Two happy shepherd-maidens we appear,
And like the happy we are both employed.
Garlands we wreathe, this one, so gay with flowers,
Beneath my hand in varied beauty grows;<
Thou hast with higher taste and larger heart
The slender pliant laurel made thy choice.
The laurel wreath, which aimlessly I twin'd,
Hath found at once a not unworthy head;
I place it gratefully on Virgil's brow.
(She crowns the bust of Virgil.)
With my full joyous wreath the lofty brow
Of Master Ludovico, thus I crown—
(She crowns the bust of Ariosto.)
Let him whose sportive sallies never fade,
Receive his tribute from the early spring.
My brother is most kind, to bring us here
In this sweet season to our rural haunts;
Here, by the hour, in freedom unrestrain'd,
We may dream back the poet's golden age.
I love this Belriguardo; in my youth
Full many a joyous day I linger'd here,
And this bright sunshine, and this verdant green,
Bring back the feelings of that bygone time.
Yes, a new world surrounds us! Grateful now
The cooling shelter of these evergreens.
The tuneful murmur of this gurgling spring
Once more revives us. In the morning wind
The tender branches waver to and fro.
The flowers look upwards from their lowly beds,
And smile upon us with their childlike eyes.
The gardener, fearless grown, removes the roof
That screened his citron and his orange-trees;
The azure dome of heaven above us rests;
And, in the far horizon, from the hills
The snow in balmy vapour melts away.
Most welcome were to me the genial spring,
Did it not lead my friend away from me.
My princess, in these sweet and tranquil hours,
Remind me not how soon I must depart.
Yon mighty city will restore to thee,
In double measure, what thou leavest here.
The voice of duty, and the voice of love,
Both call me to my lord, forsaken long,
I bring to him his son, who rapidly
Hath grown in stature, and matured in mind,
Since last they met—I share his father's joy.
Florence is great and noble, but the worth
Of all her treasur'd riches doth not reach
The prouder jewels that Ferrara boasts.
That city to her people owes her power;
Ferrara grew to greatness through her princes.
More through the noble men whom chance led here,
And who in sweet communion here remain'd.
Chance doth again disperse what chance collects.
A noble nature can alone attract
The noble, and retain them as ye do.
Around thy brother, and around thyself,
Assemble spirits worthy of you both,
And ye are worthy of your noble sires.
Here the fair light of science and free thought
Was kindled first, while o'er the darkened world
Still hung barbarian gloom. E'en when a child,
The names resounded loudly in mine ear,
Of Hercules and Hippolyte of Este.
My father oft with Florence and with Rome
Extoll'd Ferrara! Oft in youthful dream
Hither I fondly turn'd, now am I here.
Here was Petrarca kindly entertain'd,
And Ariosto found his models here.
Italia boasts no great, no mighty name,
This princely mansion hath not call'd its guest.
In fostering genius we enrich ourselves;
Dost thou present her with a friendly gift,
One far more beautiful she leaves with thee.
The ground is hallow'd where the good man treads;
When centuries have roll'd his sons shall hear
The deathless echo of his words and deeds.
Yes, if those sons have feelings quick as thine;
This happiness full oft I envy thee.
Which purely and serenely thou, my friend,
As few beside thee, dost thyself enjoy.
When my full heart impels me to express
Promptly and freely what I keenly feel,
Thou feel'st the while more deeply, and—art silent.
Delusive splendour doth not dazzle thee,
Nor wit beguile; and flattery strives in vain
With fawning artifice to win thine ear;
Firm is thy temper, and correct thy taste,
Thy judgment just, and, truly great thyself,
With greatness thou dost ever sympathise.
PRINCESSThou shouldst not to this highest flattery
The garment of confiding friendship lend.
Friendship is just; she only estimates
The full extent and measure of thy worth.
Let me ascribe to opportunity,
To fortune too, her portion in thy culture,
Still in the end thou hast it, it is thine,
And all extol thy sister and thyself
Before the noblest women of the age.
That can but little move me, Leonora,
When I reflect how poor at best we are,
To others more indebted than ourselves.
My knowledge of the ancient languages,
And of the treasures by the past bequeath'd,
I owe my mother, who, in varied lore
And mental power, her daughters far excell'd.
Might either claim comparison with her,
'Tis undeniably Lucretia's right.
Besides, what nature and what chance bestow'd
As property or rank I ne'er esteem'd.
'Tis pleasure to me when the wise converse,
That I their scope and meaning comprehend;
Whether they judge a man of bygone times
And weigh his actions, or of science treat,
Which, when extended and applied to life,
At once exalts and benefits mankind.
Where'er the converse of such men may lead,
I follow gladly, for with ease I follow.
Well pleas'd the strife of argument I hear,
When, round the powers that sway the human breast,
Waking alternately delight and fear,
With grace the lip of eloquence doth play:
And listen gladly when the princely thirst
Of fame, of wide dominion, forms the theme,
When of an able man, the thought profound,
Develop'd skilfully with subtle tact,
Doth not perplex and dazzle, but instruct.
And then, this grave and serious converse o'er,
Our ear and inner mind with tranquil joy
Upon the poet's tuneful verse repose,
Who through the medium of harmonious sounds
Infuses sweet emotions in the soul.
Thy lofty spirit grasps a wide domain;
Content am I to linger in the isle
Of poesy, her laurel groves among.
In this fair land, I'm told, the myrtle blooms
In richer beauty than all other trees;
Here, too, the Muses wander, yet we seek
A friend and playmate’mong their tuneful choir
Less often than we seek to meet the bard,
Who seems to shun us, nay, appears to flee,
In quest of something that we know not of,
And which perchance is to himself unknown.
How charming were it, if in happy hour
Encountering us, he should with ecstasy
In our fair selves the treasure recognise,
Which in the world he long had sought in vain!
To your light raillery I must submit,
So light its touch it passeth harmless by.
I honour all men after their desert,
And am in truth toward Tasso only just.
His eye scarce lingers on this earthly scene,
To Nature's harmony his ear is tuned.
What history offers, and what life presents,
His bosom promptly and with joy receives,
The widely scatter'd is by him combined,
And his quick feeling animates the dead.
Oft he ennobles what we count for naught;
What others treasure is by him despis'd.
Thus moving in his own enchanted sphere,
The wondrous man doth still allure us on
To wander with him and partake his joy;
Though seeming to approach us, he remains
Remote as ever, and perchance his eye,
Resting on us, sees spirits in our place.
Thou hast with taste and truth portray'd the bard
Who hovers in the shadowy realm of dreams.
And yet reality, it seems to me,
Hath also power to lure him and enchain.
In the sweet sonnets, scattered here and there,
With which we sometimes find our trees adorn'd,
Creating like the golden fruit of old
A new Hesperia, perceiv'st thou
not The gentle tokens of a genuine love?
In these fair leaves I also take delight.
With all his rich diversity of thought
He glorifies one form in all his strains.
Now he exalts her to the starry heavens
In radiant glory, and before that form
Bows down, like angels in the realms above.
Then stealing after her through silent fields,
He garlands in his wreath each beauteous flower;
And should the form he worships disappear,
Hallows the path her gentle foot hath trod.
Thus like the nightingale, conceal'd in shade,
From his love-laden breast he fills the air
And neighbouring thickets with melodious plaints.
His blissful sadness and his tuneful grief
Charm every ear, enrapture every heart—
And Leonora is the favour'd name
Selected for the object of his strains.
Thy name it is, my princess, as’tis mine.
It would displease me were it otherwise.
Now I rejoice that under this disguise
He can conceal his sentiment for thee,
And am no less contented with the thought
That this sweet name should also picture me.
Here is no question of an ardent love,
Seeking possession, and with jealous care
Screening its object from another's gaze.
While he enraptur'd contemplates thy worth
He in my lighter nature may rejoice.
He loves not us—forgive me what I say—
His lov'd ideal from the spheres he brings,
And doth invest it with the name we bear;
His feeling we participate; we seem
To love the man, yet only love in him
The highest object that can claim our love.
In this deep science thou art deeply vers'd,
My Leonora, and thy words in truth
Play on my ear, yet scarcely reach my soul.
Thou Plato's pupil! and not comprehend
What a mere novice dares to prattle to thee?
It must be then that I have widely err'd;
Yet well I know I do not wholly err.
For love doth in this graceful school appear
No longer as the spoilt and wayward child;
He is the youth whom Psyche hath espous'd;
Who sits in council with the assembled gods.
He hath relinquish'd passion's fickle sway,
He clings no longer with delusion sweet
To outward form and beauty, to atone
For brief excitement by disgust and hate.
Here comes my brother! let us not betray
Whither our converse hath conducted us;
Else we shall have his raillery to bear,
As in our dress he found a theme for jest.
(From the translation by Anna Swanwick.)
(Dr. Steiner): One fact has been entirely forgotten in the drama of recent years. When I tell you what it is, you will not very easily believe me; but I have been present at scarcely a single performance in recent years where the fact that we hear with our ears has not been forgotten. It seems such a simple obvious fact; and yet, from the point of view of art, it has been quite overlooked. The drama of our time has been working on the peculiar assumption that we hear- with our eyes ! It is accordingly considered necessary that whenever an actor is listening to another actor, he shall look straight towards him. In real life, it is certainly customary to turn to the person who is speaking, and it is perhaps justified there as a mark of politeness. Politeness is undoubtedly a praiseworthy virtue, it may even in certain circumstances be reckoned as one of the virtues that go to make up the moral code; and I am far from wanting to imply that there is no need for an actor to be polite; on the contrary! The actor on the stage, however, owes politeness first of all to the audience. (I do not mean some individual there; I shall have important things to say about the audience in the later lectures.) The only politeness that is due from the actor is in his relation to the audience, but in that he must not fail. It must never once be allowed to happen, for instance, that the audience see before them an actor speaking from the back of the stage, and four or five or more others standing in the foreground, turning their backs on the auditorium. That the stage should ever present such a picture is due to the intrusion there in recent years of the dilettantism that wants merely to imitate life. Blunders of this kind will disappear altogether as soon as we begin to take account again of style.
And where a true feeling for style is present, what difference will it make? We shall find we are perfectly able to arrange our positions on the stage so that only on the rarest occasion does an actor need to turn his back to the audience—only, that is, where a particular situation in the play absolutely requires it. As a matter of fact, nothing should ever happen on the stage for which there is not a compelling motive inherent in the play itself.
Take the case of smoking. In what I said yesterday I did not at all mean to convey the impression that I am against the smoking of cigarettes on the stage. But can there be any genuine motive behind it, when a number of persons, obviously merely to fill up dead moments with a bit of mime, are continually lighting cigarettes and smoking them in between their words, or even—as I have often seen—trying to cover their ignorance of rightly formed speech by standing there talking, holding cigarettes in their mouths as they speak? Yes, that does happen. All manner of detestable tricks of this sort have been finding their way on to the stage.
If, however, a boy of seventeen or eighteen years old comes on the stage and lights a cigarette, then there may well be a perfectly definite motive behind the action: we are to understand that the young fellow is anxious to pose as grown-up. He wants us to see that he is quite a man. In that case, the lighting of the cigarette has behind it a conscious motive that originates in the play itself, and I would thoroughly commend it—as I certainly do when in the plays of today I see boys and girls of seventeen or eighteen (the age of the part, of course, not of the actor) lighting their cigarettes. There, it is right and good; the action must, however, always be prompted directly by the situation in the play.
Do you see what is implied here—what demand we are making on behalf of art? We are asking that everything done on the stage shall be directly consequent on the inner texture of the play as an artistic creation. If our work is to have form and style, we must be able to see how every single detail in the acting springs straight from the fundamental intentions of the play. I have mentioned the matter of cigarettes merely as an example.
Suppose it happens in a play that one person is giving a command, and one, two or three others are receiving it. There you have a clear situation to be staged. As to the manner and bearing of the one who is giving the command, I need only refer you to what I said the other day, when we went through the several gestures for the variously spoken word—the incisive, hard, gentle, etc. What we have now to consider is the behaviour, in dumb show, of those who are receiving a command. Naturally, what they would find easiest would be to stand with their backs to the audience, for then there would be no need for them to act at all. But there is no occasion for them to take up such a position; in fact, it mustn't be done, it would be quite inartistic.
There are two things the audience must be able to see in one who is receiving a command. First, it must be evident that he is listening while the command is being given. And this, even when instead of facing the speaker he faces them, the audience will have no difficulty in seeing. If an actor who is receiving a command should ever turn his back to the audience, then we would have necessarily to conclude that he had some very particular reason for doing so. Imagine the speaker standing behind him, on his right; then the listener can still quite properly face the audience. He will be listening with his right ear and the audience will be able to see that he is doing so, by the way he turns just a little in that direction. No situation can possibly occur in a play where a listener is not perfectly well able to face the audience. And then, if the actor has his mime under proper control, the audience can see also in his countenance the impression that the command is making upon him. For that has to be seen too; it is the second of the two things that must be clearly visible to the spectator. The listener will therefore present to the audience a three-quarter profile more or less, his head inclined a little in the direction of the voice and slightly forwards. And if he has gone through beforehand the other exercises that I described yesterday, then as he assumes this position and enters into the feeling of it, his facial muscles will instinctively be set working in such a manner that the audience will see expressed in his countenance the nature of the command he is receiving. And if, in addition, he shows a tendency to move his arms and hands—not outwards, but more in the way of drawing them towards him—the gesture will be complete, will be exactly as it should be.
And now, my dear friends, you will probably be wanting to say: But if I were to arrange the stage with three or four actors all listening in the way you describe, it would look stereotyped, it would look as if it were according to some set plan.
Raphael would not have said so ! He would no doubt have introduced slight modifications into the gesture of the second listener, or of the third and so on, but the essential spirit and character of the gesture he would have maintained in them all. Raphael was not of course a producer; but he would, as onlooker, as critic, have demanded that gesture. He would, as I said, have modified it a little here and there, but the very similarity of gesture in the listeners would have impressed Raphael as aesthetically right. And should it ever be a case of some individual actor wanting his own way, then no question but that the stage picture as a whole must always receive the first consideration.
What I have been describing has reference to the receiving of a command. We can, however, also consider how it will be with mere listening. One actor is speaking and others are listening. The gesturing here will naturally be not unlike what we have found to belong to the receiving of a command. The speaker's gesture will of course again be from among those I indicated in connection with the different categories that I named for the word : incisive, gentle, etc.; the precise gesture of the listener will have to be carefully determined in the following way.
Let us suppose the content of what he has to say requires the speaker to speak quite slowly, so that his speaking falls into the category we named: slow, deliberate. We know then what his gesture will be. But what kind of a gesture will the listener have to make? The listener will have to adopt the gesture of a speaker who utters quick, decided words. Why is this?
When someone speaks in a quick, incisive tone of voice, he tends involuntarily to make sharply defined gestures; you will remember how we designated them as ‘pointing’ gestures. The narrator, who is speaking slowly, will not make these pointing gestures; he will make the movements with the fingers that I showed at the end of yesterday's lecture. The listener, however, will—silently, to himself– accentuate, as he listens, the important words. He will thus be in • the condition for incisive speaking—speaking, as it were, inaudibly, within; and he will accordingly be right in making the pointing gestures. Then you will have a perfect harmony of gesture: the one making those finger movements that belong to the telling, the other making the’ pointing’ finger movements that rightly accompany the listening. These are suggestions that you can study and work out in detail for yourselves.
Take another case. Again we have an actor relating something; but this time the content has the effect of making him speak his words out abruptly, as though they were cut short. This kind of speaking will always mean that the speaker particularly wants to drive home what he is telling; otherwise he would not tell it in that manner When the dramatist lets us see that a great deal depends on getting some information across to the listener, then the narrator will have to speak in this way, cutting his words short, and he will at the same time make the corresponding ‘flinging away’ gesture with his fingers—this gesture that you will remember I showed you before. The listener, on the other hand, will be true to his part and show the right response if he listens with all his ears—comes, that is, inwardly into the mood of a speaker who gives his words their full tone and value. Suppose someone wants to make sure of my taking in what he is telling me. Then I must stand before him in the manner of a full-toned speaker; for since I have to feel in full measure what he is saying, I must make the gesture that we saw to be right for the word that is spoken in full measure. These are ways to establish a right relationship between speaker and listener.
It must only not be forgotten that what I have now been recommending should never be noticeable on the stage; it should have been so thoroughly worked with that it has passed over entirely into an instinctive sensitiveness for what is true in art. If ever a movement gives the appearance of being studied or artificial, that movement is immediately false. For in art, everything is false unless it is the artistic itself that the spectator has before him—the artistic itself as style.
Consider in this connection what a difference there will be in their whole manner of speaking between some character in a drama who wants to convince, and one who wants to persuade. This difference must be brought out on the stage.
Situations occur where we want to persuade another person, we want to talk him round. One can have this desire in a good or in a bad sense—or somewhere between the two. You have a classic and grand instance of persuasion in the famous saying of Wallenstein: ‘Max, bleibe bei mir! ’ (Max, stay with me!). 1Schiller's Wallenstein, Act III, Scene 18. There you have, not the will to convince, as will be evident from the context, but the will to persuade.
Now, you could not imagine Wallenstein standing in front of Max Piccolomini, wringing his hands and saying: ‘Max, bleibe bei mir!’ But you can, and indeed you must, imagine him clapping Max on the shoulder, or showing at least an inclination to do so. That is the gesture that belongs properly to the words. Where, on the other hand, it is a question of trying to carry conviction by reasoning, the speaker must make some gesture upon his own person. He will have to clasp his hands, for example, or touch himself somewhere with his hands. He feels a need to discover within himself the power of conviction—as it were, to track it down. If, however, the speaker wants to persuade, he should make the gesture of touching the other person—or at least let it begin, making a movement, that is, which, if carried further, would be a complete gesture of touching.
Note carefully also the fine distinctions we have to make for different kinds of persuasion. We may, for example, be using persuasion with the intention of giving comfort. Much will then depend on our powers of persuasion in the good sense of the word, for the one who needs comfort has not time to be convinced; what he wants, as a rule, is to be persuaded, not to be convinced by reason. We shall find, however, it makes a great difference whether we are in this way using persuasion to bring comfort, or are, for instance, wanting something from the other person.
If we want to bring comfort, then we make this gesture of touching; it will work naturally and harmoniously, whether we only begin it, or carry it to completion. It need really only be begun. We can take the other's hand, or lay the palm of our hand on his forearm. The audience will then instinctively receive the right impression.
This gesture will, however, not be right if you are wanting something for yourself, as in the famous example I quoted just now, not even if your wish be inspired by the very best intentions. ‘Max, bleibe bei mir !’ The actor who says these words will not lay his hand on Max's arm; he will have to place his hand on Max's shoulder or on his head, or anyway make a gesture of beginning to do so. Things like this will have to be grasped in all their exact detail, if we are ever to have again a genuine art of production that concerns itself with the whole practical work of the stage.
And now let us go a little farther; for there are many more details of gesture and posture that require to be studied. We need, for example, to develop an artistic perception for the following. When a person is standing in front of you, you may be seeing him in profile, in part profile, or in full face; and there is a meaning for each of these three ways of being seen. Anyone who is an attentive observer of life will know how people sometimes place themselves instinctively so that others are seeing them in one or other of these ways. In real life a kind of affectation lies behind it, but in art it is done for artistic reasons. I once knew a professor (he was a German) who never lectured without presenting himself in profile to his audience—and not only before ladies, to whom he frequently gave lectures, but before his own men students too; and he knew very well what it meant.
Standing in profile always calls up instinctively in the onlooker a sense of being in the presence of intellectual superiority. You cannot look at a person in profile without being impressed with his intellectual superiority—or inferiority, as the case may be; for in real life inferiority also occurs. The front-face view can never, for unprejudiced observation, tell us whether the person is clever or stupid. Looking him full in the face, we can remark whether he is a good or a bad man, whether he is kindly disposed or selfish; but if we want to observe whether he is clever or dull, we must see him in profile. And since one who makes use of profile is sure to be a person who believes himself to be clever, we shall know he is wanting in this way to show us his cleverness.
The actor should also make here an additional gesture; he should at the same time hold his head back a little. Then the audience will be bound to feel that he is impressing his hearers with his intellectual superiority. If therefore you want the acting to be artistic, you must arrange that an actor who is to speak a passage wherein he has to appear superior to the one he is addressing shall turn his complete profile to the audience, holding his head back a little as he speaks. We must, you know, once and for all rid the stage of dilettantism. We must create again the possibility for students to learn the preliminaries for the art of the stage, just as painters have to learn how to use colour. For unless one has learned and studied these things, one is not an actor, one is not acting artistically, but at best merely performing à la Reinhardt or Bassermann!
But now, suppose you stand before the audience in part profile. That will express, not intellectual superiority but intellectual participation in what the other is saying, especially if at the same time the head be inclined forward a little, so. A listener can in this way show to the audience that he is following the speaker with his understanding. It may, however, be that you want rather more the listener's feelings to be apparent to the audience. In this case, whilst the other is speaking, the listener must as far as possible allow the audience to see him full face.
The situation on the stage can really come alive when the speaking is accompanied by these postures in the listener. Where the speaking is intended to make an impression on his intellect, you will choose for the listener the profile position; where it is rather his heart that is to be touched, you will let him stand full face to the audience. When details of this nature begin to be clearly envisaged and understood, then the art of the stage will be able to emerge from dilettantism and once again acquire content. We shall be able to see from the way an actor stands or walks, whether it is more with the intellect or with the feelings of the heart that he is participating in the situation.
Passing on now to consider the will, we find that for the expression of will there has always to be movement, and here you will have to pay particular regard to what I said about form in movement. The expression of will or resolve calls forth in another an answering impulse of will. We know how this happens in life. Someone gives expression to his will in a certain direction. We listen to him. We can fall in with his will, or we can ourselves ‘will’ to hinder it. There you have the two extreme situations, and there are naturally many intermediate possibilities.
A will that gives in to the will of the other must always be accompanied with a movement from left to right, either of the whole person or of the arms. Try it out for yourselves on the stage. Let one actor say something that has will in it, and another be standing there and making this gesture— that goes from left to right. You will feel at once that there is agreement on the part of the listener; the gesture expresses that he too wills the same thing Let him, however, make a right-to-left movement, and he is obviously on the defensive and may even be considering how he can put hindrances in the other's way. Still greater emphasis can be given to this’ will to oppose’ if the movement is made expressly with the head—naturally, the rest of the body also sharing in it.
These are among the things that will have to be taught in a school for production that sets out to be comprehensive and take the whole art of the stage for its province. You will remember I told you yesterday — it may have seemed as though I were making rather paradoxical statements— I told you that in practising running one learns instinctively the walking that is required for the stage, and that leaping helps to modify the walking in the right way, making it now quicker, now slower, and that wrestling develops hand and arm movements, and so on. How is all this to be put into practice?
The first thing the school will have to do is to arrange for the students to practise Running, Leaping, Wrestling, something in the nature of Discus-throwing, something like Spear-throwing; for that will help them to come easily and readily into all the bodily movements that are needed on the stage. Then we shall at any rate be saved from a feeling one has sometimes nowadays about an actor as soon as ever he comes on: that fellow, we feel, has no proper control of his body. How often we have the impression that all those people who are dancing and hopping about up there on the stage have not their bodies under control! They would have quite a different relation to their bodies if, right at the beginning of their training, they had practised these exercises.
The next thing will be to draw forth from each exercise the particular ability it can develop for the stage. Let the students practise running for a quarter to half an hour, and then for half to three-quarters of an hour stage-walking; and the same with leaping and wrestling. For they must be able to unite the two : the exercise, and the skill in movement that the exercise helps them to acquire. And in order that, when they come to the last exercise, they may really succeed in drawing forth from their body the forming of the word, the four preceding exercises should be practised in the following way.
For the practice of walking, and of modified walking, for the practice also of arm and hand movement and of play of countenance, you should have a reciter who does the speaking, while the student makes, in silence, the corresponding gesture or facial expression. And as far as these first four steps in the training are concerned, the same method should be continued even later on for one who is wanting presently to appear on the stage. He should practise his gestures, to begin with, without yet saying a word, while the speaker of the company does the speaking. This will give him the opportunity to make himself entirely familiar with the gestures in dumb play. When the students come to the fifth exercise, they can begin to speak; they can accompany the gesture with the speaking—which up to now they have been practising only separately, without gesture, in recitative. These two, gesture and the forming of the word, have then to be consciously combined, consciously fitted into one another. Only so will our acting have the necessary artistic style.We shall, you see, need to follow the example of certain directors of an earlier time and have a reciter. Laube, 2Heinrich Laube (1806–1884). In an article written in 1898, Rudolf Steiner referred to Laube as this master of all producers.' He worked mainly in Vienna. for instance, considered a reciter one of the requisites for the stage ensemble. Strakosch had repeatedly this part to perform. Only, Strakosch's inclinations did not allow him to be content with reciting; he was more disposed to train the students with a strong hand. It was really most interesting to watch how old Strakosch broke them in—going about it, you must understand, with the best will in the world, and not without something of real art in his method, judged from the standpoint of his time. When Strakosch was ramming something home to a pupil, you might have seen that pupil, at one moment standing bolt upright, and at the very next moment feeling as though Strakosch were going to dislocate his limbs, were going to bend his hip till the ends of the bone stuck out. Then again at another time you might have seen the pupil lying on the floor, with Strakosch on top of him—and that perhaps just when a performance was due to begin; and so on, through many other varieties of treatment. But there was temperament in all this. And the art of the stage needs temperament. I am far from saying that where such methods are in vogue, nothing can be achieved. Where there is genuine artistic striving, good results can be attained even with methods of this nature.
The men of ancient India had a theory of the origin of man which, while it resembled our modern one, bespoke more feeling for the spiritual. For they too looked upon a certain species of ape as akin to man; but they were more consistent than we in their adherence to the mistaken theory. These apes, they said, can speak; they only don't want to—partly out of obstinacy and partly because they are a little bashful about it. If they are in any way human, if they are on the way to becoming man, then it follows that they must be able to speak. That was the conclusion, the perfectly correct conclusion of the ancient Indians. And I am always reminded of it when I meet with lack of temperament in the very people who need it. For I know well that these people have temperament; they are only unwilling to show it. I mean that quite seriously; the people of today are far more temperamental than they seem. We think it improper to show temperament; but it is by no means always so, and especially not in the case of little children. And yet how annoyed we often are when children begin to show temperament! But there too, you know, we shall have to learn to be more understanding!
When we have a school of dramatic art, planned in the way I have indicated, we shall not need to have any misgivings about arranging for the students to practise leaping and wrestling and discus-throwing. If only the teacher has temperament, and does not go about with a long face, but is a person gifted with some humour, then that of itself will help to evoke in the students the necessary temperament. They will soon stop being shy of exhibiting it. We have the means at our disposal for evoking temperament, we only don't use them. And for art, in so far as its practice is concerned, temperament is an essential factor. My dear friends, we must know this; we must know how intrinsically temperament belongs to art.
To write books on mysticism may not require temperament. If the books please, well and good; the readers do not the the author. But in those arts where the human being presents himself in person, there has to be temperament; there has to be also enhanced temperament—that is to say, humour. And therewith the moment is reached where it can all begin to be esoteric. And that is what we are minded to achieve in these lectures—that our study shall take us right into the esoteric aspect of the whole matter.