January 1829-September 1831

The Collected Letters, Volume 5


TC AND OTHERS: PROPOSAL FOR A TRIBUTE TO GÖTHE; April 1831; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18310400-TCAO-FMA-01; CL 5:259.


[early April]

As it is always the highest duty and happiness to shew reverence for whom reverence is due, and our chief—perhaps our only—benefactor is he who, by act and word, instructs us in wisdom, We, the undersigned, feeling to the poet GÖTHE as the spiritually taught to their spiritual teacher, are desirous to express that sentiment openly and in common. For which end we have determined to contribute, in equal shares, towards some small English Gift, to be presented him on his approaching birth-day, with a letter in our joint names; that so, while the venerable man still dwells among us, some memorial of the love and gratitude we owe him, and think the whole world owes him, may not be wanting.

It is at present proposed that the gift be a Seal, bearing some suitable inscription, and, as a stamp, an epigraph and emblem, selected from his own poems. It is further calculated that the cost should not exceed thirty guineas; and that the contribution of each should not be less than one guinea, nor more than two. But all such details must be settled by the general consent.

For the present, our chief anxiety is, that the Gift, of whatever outward value, may have an inward value; that no miserable motive of vanity, or other insincerity, too usual on such occasions, may have place here;—but that this, our united act, may be, what it professes, a testimonial of our common sentiments; and that no one who does not from the heart entertain such may join himself therein.