Hallo Leute! (Es tut mir Leid) It’s been a while.
Anyway, today is the anniversary of the battle of Leuthen so I had to post something:
A very enjoyable film, and no obvious dodgy propaganda, given the time it was made…
I particularly enjoyed the little cameo obviously intended to portray Johann Friedrich Adolf von der Marwitz (Friedrich August Ludwig’s uncle) at Hubertusburg.
“Wählte Ungnade, wo Gehorsam nicht Ehre brachte”. Indeed.
Another acquisition this month; Leuthen (Gedicht) by Christian Friedrich Scherenberg.
I have yet to read it all, but the first verse seems to fit well with the famous painting of Fritz after the battle of Kolin.
In Nimburg am Brunnen, die Schatten über sich,
Auf einem alten Röhrstamm sitzt König Friedrich,
Von seiner Zeit schlechtweg der König titulirt,
Wiewohl noch mancher König zu seiner Zeit regiert,
Und malt mit seinem Krückstock, der aller Welt bekannt,
Versunken in sich selber, Figuren in den Sand.
Or indeed the one below, which I’ve never seen before, both painted before the book was written (1852).
To finish, a Zungenbrecher:
Der Leutnant von Leuthen befahl seinen Leuten nicht eher zu läuten, bis der Leutnant von Leuthen seinen Leuten das Läuten befahl.
Does anybody still say this after all these years?
Firstly, today is the 281st anniversary of Frederick the Great’s accession to the throne of Prussia. We could definitely do with leaders of his calibre at the moment.
Somewhat of a bitter sweet entry today, as it’s been quite a few months since I’ve been “allowed” into a pub, but the below passage in “Tagebuchblätter eines Feldgeistlichen” made me chuckle. Good old days…
Ich sitze in der Stube eines Wirtshauses, die ängstlich niedrig ist, deren Wände mit allerlei Phantasievögeln bunter gamalt sind, als ich je etwas Ähnliches gesehen habe. Der Künstler mag in Italien, der Wiege der Kunst, seinen Geschmack nicht gebildet, mag aber auch kein großes Honorar für sein Werk empfangen haben.
Ein Tisch, zwei Stühle und eine am Ofen ausgebreitete Streu sind meine Möbel. In malerischer Unordnung liegen meine Sachen umher. Mich trennt ein winzig kleiner Flur von meinen Wirtsleuten, welche in einer noch kleineren und ängstlicheren Stube wohnen.
Mein Wirt ist 23 Jahre alt und hat in dieser harten Zeit den Mut gehabt, sich vor drei Monaten dies Wirtshaus zu kaufen. Er führt die Wirtschaft mit seiner jüngeren Schwester, einem hübschen, großbusigen Mädchen.pg. 116/117
Sounds delightful, I miss the pub…
Is this particular Wirtshaus still there I wonder?
A nice quote from close to the end of Carlyle’s History of Frederick, I now have one volume left to read.
Prussia has been a meritorious Nation; and, however cut and ruined, is and was in a healthy state, capable of recovering soon. Prussia has defended itself against overwhelming odds,–brave Prussia; but the real soul of its merit was that of having merited such a King to command it.
Without this King, all its valors, disciplines, resources of war, would have availed Prussia little. No wonder Prussia has still a loyalty to its great Friedrich, to its Hohenzollern Sovereigns generally.
Without these Hohenzollerns, Prussia had been, what we long ago saw it, the unluckiest of German Provinces; and could never have had the pretension to exist as a Nation at all.
Without this particular Hohenzollern, it had been trampled out again, after apparently succeeding. To have achieved a Friedrich the Second for King over it, was Prussia’s grand merit.
Sad that within 60 years of writing this (1865 or so) Prussia as a nation would be no more and the Hohenzollerns in exile.
I wonder about the Windsors…
A great little anecdote from Thomas Carlyle’s History of Frederick the Great, how Colonel von Wolfersdorf “beautifully defends himself in Torgau”, and beautifully leaves the same. This would make a great scene in a film, perhaps it already is?
Colonel von Wolfersdorf withdraws, also beautifully (August 15th).
Accordingly, Wednesday, August 15th, at eight in the morning, Wolfersdorf by the Elbe Gate moves out; across Elbe Bridge, and the Redoubt which is on the farther shore yonder. Near this Redoubt, Stolberg and many of his General Officers are waiting to see him go. He goes in state; flags flying, music playing. Battalion Hessen-Cassel, followed by all our Packages, Hospital convalescents, King’s Artillery, and whatever is the King’s or ours, marches first. Next comes, as rear-guard to all this, Battalion Grollmann;–along with which is Wolfersdorf himself, knowing Grollmann for a ticklish article (Saxons mainly); followed on the heel by Battalion Hofmann, and lastly by Battalion Salmuth, trusty Prussians both of these.
Battalion Hessen-Cassel and the Baggages are through the Redoubt, Prince of Stolberg handsomely saluting as saluted. But now, on Battalion Grollmann’s coming up, Stolberg’s Adjutant cries-out with a loud voice of proclamation, many Officers repeating and enforcing: “Whoever is a brave Saxon, whoever is true to his Kaiser, or was of the Reichs Army, let him step out: Durchlaucht will give him protection!” At sound of which Grollmann quivers as if struck by electricity; and instantly begins dissolving;–dissolves, in effect, nearly all, and is in the act of vanishing like a dream! Wolfersdorf is a prompt man; and needs to be so. Wolfersdorf, in Olympian rage, instantly stops short; draws pistol: “I will shoot dead every man that quits rank!” vociferates he; and does, with his pistol, make instant example of one; inviting every true Prussian to do the like: “Jägers, Hussars, a ducat for every traitor you shoot down!” continues Wolfersdorf (and punctually paid it afterwards): unable to prevent an almost total dissolution of Grollmann. For some minutes, there is a scene indescribable: storm of vociferation, menace, musket-shot, pistol-shot; Grollmann disappearing on every side,–”behind the Redoubt, under the Bridge, into Elbe Boats, under the cloaks of the Croats;”–in spite of Wolfersdorf’s Olympian rages and efforts.
At sight of the shooting, Prince Stolberg, a hot man, had said indignantly, “Herr, that will be dangerous for you (das wird nicht gut gehn)!” Wolfersdorf not regarding him a whit; regarding only Grollmann, and his own hot business of coercing it at a ducat per head. Grollmann gone, and Battalion Hofmann in due sequence come up, Wolfersdorf,–who has sent an Adjutant, with order, “Hessen- Cassel, halt,”–gives Battalion Hofmann these three words of command: “Whole Battalion, halt!–Front!–Make ready!” (with due simultaneous click of every firelock, on utterance of that last);– and turning to Prince Stolberg, with a brow, with a tone of voice: “Durchlaucht, Article 9 of the Capitulation is express on this point; ‘All desertion strictly prohibited; no deserter to be received either on the Imperial or on the Prussian side’!” (Durchlaucht silently gives, we suppose, some faint sniff.) “Since your Durchlaucht does not keep the Capitulation, neither will I regard it farther. I will now take you and your Suite prisoners, return into the Town, and again begin defending myself. Be so good as ride directly into that Redoubt, or I will present, and give fire!”
A dangerous moment for the Durchlaucht of Stolberg; Battalion Salmuth actually taking possession of the wall again; Hofmann here with its poised firelock on the cock, “ready” for that fourth word, as above indicated. A General Lusinsky of Stolberg’s train, master of those Croats, and an Austrian of figure, remarks very seriously: “Every point of the Capitulation must be kept!” Upon which Durchlaucht has to renounce and repent; eagerly assists in recovering Grollmann, restores it (little the worse, little the fewer); will give Wolfersdorf “command of the Austrian Escort you are to have”, and every satisfaction and assurance;–wishful only to get rid of Wolfersdorf. Who thereupon marches to Wittenberg, with colors flying again, and a name mentionable ever since.
This Wolfersdorf was himself a Pirna Saxon; serving Polish Majesty, as Major, in that Pirna time; perhaps no admirer of “Feldmarschall Brühl” and Company?–at any rate, he took Prussian service, as then offered him; and this is his style of keeping it. A decidedly clever soldier, and comes out, henceforth, more and more as such,–unhappily not for long. Was taken at Maxen, he too, as will be seen. Rose, in after times, to be Lieutenant-General, and a man famous in the Prussian military circles; but given always, they say, to take the straight line (or shortest distance between self and object), in regard to military matters, to recruiting and the like, and thus getting himself into trouble with the Civil Officials.
Very pleased with my copies of “Die Lebensgeschichte des großen Königs Friedrich von Preußen“, or “Fridrich” if you go by the label on the spine… One of the source books that Carlyle used to write his history, and an author that he, unusually, had a good word for. Both volumes for under 50 quid.
It´s been rebound I think, but professionally and not recently, not at all bad for 1834.
I particularly like the instructions to the bookbinder at the front of the title page, which I presume should have been trimmed off;
“Nachricht für den Buchbinder: die Vorrede wird mit dem zweiten Theilen ausgege(ben?)”
although the Vorrede is, logically, attached to the first book?
Finally reading more of Carlyle’s History of Frederick the Great I was pleasantly surprised to find that Peter the Great of Russia begged to stay at Schloß Monbijou during his state visit in 1717 as he wanted some peace and quiet (Book IV, Chapter VII). The Queen was apparently none too pleased and attempted to remove anything breakable (or is that poetic licence from Carlyle…). As with Königsberg I feel a strange affinity to the place, such a shame that the lovely palace by the river is now a nondescript park.
The description of parts of the visit Carlyle takes from Wilhelmine of Prussia´s (Fritz´s older sister´s) memoirs so of course I had to buy a copy, in German selbstverständlich, not French, God forbid.