Schiller, Frederic

, a German writer, principally known in this country as a dramatist, was born Nov. 10, 1759, at Marbach, in the duchy jf Wurtemberg, where his father was lieutenant in the service of the duke. While a boy, he was distinguished by uncommon ardour of imagination, which he never sought to limit or controul. When young, he was placed in the military school at Stuttgard, but disliked the necessary subordination. He was intended for the profession of surgery, and which he studied for some time; but from the freedom of his opinions, he was obliged to withdraw himself through apprehension of the consequences, and it is said that, at this time, he produced his first play, “The Robbers.” This tragedy, though full of faults and pernicious extravagancies, was the admiration of all the youth of enthusiastic sentiments in Germany, and several students at Leipsic deserted their college, with the avowed purpose of forming a troop of banditti in the forests of Bohemia; but their first disorders brought on them a summary punishment, which restored them to their senses, and Schiller’s biographer gravely tells us, that this circumstance added to his reputation. The tragedy certainly was quite adapted to the taste of Germany, was soon translated into several foreign languages, and the author appointed to the office of dramatic composer to the theatre of Mauheim. For this he now wrote his ' Cabal and Love,“the” Conspiracy of Fiesco,“andDon Carlos,“and published a volume of poems, which procured him a wife of good family and fortune. This lady fell in love with | him from reading his works, and is said to have roused him from those habits of dissipation in which he had in* dulged, and to which he was in great danger of falling a victim. He was now patronized by the duke of Saxe- Weimar, who conferred on him the title of aulic counsellor, and nominated him to the professorship of history and philosophy at the university of Jena. He had previously written an account of the” Revolt of the Netherlands from the Spanish government,“and he now set about composing his 4< History of the thirty Years’ War in Germany,” a work which has been much admired in his own country. At length he removed to Weimar, where the pension, as honorary professor from the duke, was continued to him; and produced the “History of the most memorable Conspira cies,” and the “Ghost-Seer,” which displayed the peculiar turn of his mind, and were much read. In the latter part of his life he conducted a monthly work published at Tubingen, and an annual poetical almanac, and composed a tragedy entitled “The Maid of Orleans.” He was the author of other dramatic pieces, some of which are known, though imperfectly, in this country, through the medium of translation. He died at Weimar, May 9, 1805, and he was interred with great funeral solemnity. In his private character Schiller was friendly, candid, and sincere. In his youth he affected eccentricity in his manners and appearance, and a degree of singularity seems always to have adhered to him. In his works, brilliant strokes of genius are unquestionably to be found, but more instances of extravagant representation of passion, and violation of truth and nature. They enjoyed some degree of popularity here, during the rage for translating and adapting German plays for our theatres; and although this be abated, they have contributed to the degeneracy of dramatic taste, and have not produced the happiest effects on our poetry. 1


Gent. Mag.—Rees’s Cycloedia.