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On sufferer


216. "Compelled to be a philosopher as early as my 28th year;--it
is not an easy matter,--more difficult for the artist than any
other man."

(October 6, 1802; the Heiligenstadt Will.)

217. "Compelled to contemplate a lasting malady, born with an
ardent and lively temperament, susceptible to the diversions of
society, I was obliged at an early date to isolate myself and
live a life of solitude."

(From the same.)

218. "It was impossible for me to say to others: speak louder;
shout! for I am deaf. Ah! was it possible for me to proclaim a
deficiency in that one sense which in my case ought to have been
more perfect than in all others, which I had once possessed in
greatest perfection, to a degree of perfection, indeed, which few
of my profession have ever enjoyed?"

(From the same.)

219. "For me there can be no recreation in human society, refined
conversation, mutual exchange of thoughts and feelings; only so
far as necessity compels may I give myself to society,--I must
live like an exile."

(From the same.)

220. "How great was the humiliation when one who stood beside me
heard the distant sound of a shepherd's pipe, and I heard
nothing; or heard the shepherd singing, and I heard nothing. Such
experiences brought me to the verge of despair;--but little more
and I should have put an end to my life. Art, art alone deterred
me."

(From the same.)

221. "I may say that I live a wretched existence. For almost two
years I have avoided all social gatherings because it is
impossible for me to tell the people I am deaf. If my vocation
were anything else it might be more endurable, but under the
circumstances the condition is terrible; besides what would my
enemies say,--they are not few in number! To give you an idea of
this singular deafness let me tell you that in the theatre I must
lean over close to the orchestra in order to understand the
actor; if I am a little remote from them I do not hear the high
tones of instruments and voices; it is remarkable that there are
persons who have not observed it, but because I am generally
absent-minded my conduct is ascribed to that."

(Vienna, June 29, 1800, to Wegeler. "To you only do I confide this
as a secret." Concerning his deafness see Appendix.)

222. "My defective hearing appeared everywhere before me like a
ghost; I fled from the presence of men, was obliged to appear to
be a misanthrope although I am so little such."

(November 16, 1801, or 1800, to Wegeler, in writing to him about
his happy love. "Unfortunately, she is not of my station in
life.")

223. "Truly, a hard lot has befallen me! Yet I accept the decree
of Fate, and continually pray to God to grant that as long as I
must endure this death in life, I may be preserved from want."

(March 14, 1827, to Moscheles, after Beethoven had undergone the
fourth operation for dropsy and was confronting the fifth. He
died on March 26, 1827.)

224. "Live alone in your art! Restricted though you be by your
defective sense, this is still the only existence for you."

(Diary, 1816.)

225. "Dissatisfied with many things, more susceptible than any
other person and tormented by my deafness, I often find only
suffering in the association with others."

(In 1815, to Brauchle, tutor in the house of Countess Erdody.)

226. "I have emptied a cup of bitter suffering and already won
martyrdom in art through the kindness of art's disciples and my
art associates."

(In the summer of 1814, to Advocate Kauka. "Socrates and Jesus
were my exemplars," he remarks in a conversation-book of 1819.)

227. "Perfect the ear trumpets as far as possible, and then
travel; this you owe to yourself, to mankind and to the Almighty!
Only thus can you develop all that is still locked within you;--
and a little court,--a little chapel,--writing the music and
having it performed to the glory of the Almighty, the Eternal,
the Infinite---"

(Diary, 1815. Beethoven was hoping to receive an appointment as
chapelmaster from his former pupil, Archduke Rudolph, Archbishop
of Olmutz.)

228. "God help me. Thou seest me deserted by all mankind. I do
not want to do wrong,--hear my prayer to be with my Karl in the
future for which there seems to be no possibility now. O, harsh
Fate, cruel destiny. No, my unhappy condition will never end.
'This I feel and recognize clearly: Life is not the greatest of
blessings; but the greatest of evils is guilt.' (From Schiller's
"Braut von Messina"). There is no salvation for you except to
hasten away from here; only by this means can you lift yourself
again to the heights of your art whereas you are here sinking to
the commonplace,--and a symphony--and then away,--away,--
meanwhile fund the salaries which can be done for years. Work
during the summer preparatory to travel; only thus can you do the
great work for your poor nephew; later travel through Italy,
Sicily, with a few other artists."

(Diary, spring of 1817. The salaries were the annuities paid him
for several years by Archduke Rudolph, Prince Rinsky and Prince
Lobkowitz. Seume's "Spaziergang nach Syrakus" was a favorite
book of Beethoven's and inspired him in a desire to make a
similar tour, but nothing came of it.)

229. "You must not be a man like other men: not for yourself, only
for others; for you there is no more happiness except in
yourself, in your art.--O God, give me strength to overcome
myself, nothing must hold me to this life."

(Beginning of the Diary, 1812-18.)

230. "Leave operas and all else alone, write only for your orphan,
and then a cowl to close this unhappy life."

(Diary, 1816.)

231. "I have often cursed my existence; Plutarch taught me
resignation. I shall, if possible, defy Fate, though there will
be hours in my life when I shall be the most miserable of God's
creatures. Resignation! What a wretched resort; yet it is the
only one left me!"

(Vienna, June 29, 1800, to Wegeler.)

232. "Patience, they tell me, I must now choose for a guide. I
have done so. It shall be my resolve, lastingly, I hope, to
endure until it pleases the implacable Parca: to break the
thread. There may be improvement,--perhaps not,--I am prepared."

(From the Heiligenstadt Will.)

233. "Let all that is called life be offered to the sublime and
become a sanctuary of art. Let me live, even through artificial
means, so they can be found."

(Diary, 1814, when Beethoven was being celebrated extraordinarily
by the royalties and dignitaries gathered at the Congress of
Vienna.)

234. "Ah! it seemed impossible for me to leave the world until I
had produced all that I felt called upon to produce; and so I
prolonged this wretched existence."

(From the Heiligenstadt Will.)

235. "With joy shall I hasten forward to meet death; if he comes
before I shall have had an opportunity to develop all my artistic
capabilities, he will come too early in spite of my harsh fate,
and I shall probably wish him to come at a later date. But even
then I shall be content, for will he not release me from endless
suffering? Come when you please, I shall meet you bravely."

(From the Heiligenstadt Will.)

236. "Apollo and the muses will not yet permit me to be delivered
over to the grim skeleton, for I owe them so much, and I must, on
any departure for the Elysian Fields, leave behind me all that
the spirit has inspired and commanded to be finished."

(September 17, 1824, to Schott, music publisher in Mayence.)

237. "Had I not read somewhere that it is not pending man to part
voluntarily from his life so long as there is a good deed which
he can perform, I should long since have been no more, and by my
own hand. O, how beautiful life is, but in my case it is
poisoned."

(May 2, 1810, to his friend Wegeler, to whom he is lamenting over
"the demon that has set up his habitat in my ears.")

238. "I must abandon wholly the fond hope, which I brought hither,
to be cured at least in a degree. As the fallen autumn leaves have
withered, so arc now my hopes blighted. I depart in almost the
same condition in which I came; even the lofty courage which often
animated me in the beautiful days of summer has disappeared."

(From the Will. Beethoven had tried the cure at Heiligenstadt.)

239. "All week long I had to suffer and endure like a saint. Away
with this rabble! What a reproach to our civilization that we
need what we despise and must always know it near!"

(In 1825, complaining of the misery caused by his domestics.)

240. "The best thing to do not to think of your malady is to keep
occupied."

(Diary, 1812-18.)

241. "It is no comfort for men of the better sort to say to them
that others also suffer; but, alas! comparisons must always be
made, though they only teach that we all suffer, that is err,
only in different ways."

(In 1816, to Countess Erdody, on the death of her son.)

242. "The portraits of Handel, Bach, Gluck, Mozart and Haydn in
my room,--they may help me to make claim on toleration."

(Diary, 1815-16.)

243. "God, who knows my innermost soul, and knows how sacredly I
have fulfilled all the duties but upon me as man by humanity, God
and nature will surely some day relieve me from these
afflictions."

(July 18, 1821, to Archduke Rudolph, from Unterubling.)

244. "Friendship and similar sentiments bring only wounds to me.
Well, so be it; for you, poor Beethoven, there is no outward
happiness; you must create it within you,--only in the world of
ideality shall you find friends."

(About 1808, to Baron von Gleichenstein, by whom he thought
himself slighted.)

245. "You are living on a quiet sea, or already in the safe
harbor; you do not feel the distress of a friend out in the
raging storm,--or you must not feel it."

(In 1811, to his friend Gleichenstein, when Beethoven was in love
with the Baron's sister-in-law, Therese Malfatti.)

246. "I must have a confidant at my side lest life become a
burden."

(July 4, 1812, to Count Brunswick, whom he is urging to make a
tour with him, probably to Teplitz.)

247. "Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest
of men. At my age I need a certain uniformity and equableness of
life; can such exist in our relationship?"

(June 7, 1800 (?), to the "Immortal Beloved.")

248. "O Providence! vouchsafe me one day of pure joy! Long has the
echo of perfect felicity been absent from my heart. When O, when,
O Thou Divine One, shall I feel it again in nature's temple and
man's? Never? Ah! that would be too hard!"

(Conclusion of the Heiligenstadt Will.)

Published:
Jan 6, 2016
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